May 29, 2009
2009 Short Course Grower Program Covers It AllSource: OFA - an Association of Horticulture Professionals

With three educational tracks, two workshops and a study tour, the grower program at this year’s OFA Short Course will be better than ever, covering all aspects of business, including production, management, marketing and product innovations.

Throughout the four days of education, focused sessions will discuss everything from nagging production issues to the latest industry trends and technical innovations. The 60- to 75-minute sessions include large-scale lectures, interactive groups, hands-on instruction, and directed discussions. Attendees to designated sessions can also earn pesticide recertification credits. Here’s a sampling of grower-specific course offerings this year:

  • Rooting Cuttings Efficiently
  • “Problem” Vegetative Crops and How to Grow Them
  • The Price is Right: The Cost of Your Fertility Decisions
  • Insect and Mite Management
  • The Latest and Greatest Perennials: Production Tips for Success
  • How to Set Up a Biological Control Program
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Modifying Light

Unlike past years, the timing of this year’s half-day workshops on Saturday, July 11, has been staggered so growers will be able to attend both. The Water Management Workshop will draw on the expertise of academics, professional growers and manufacturers to cover all aspects of water quality, treatment, conservation, irrigation design, nutrition and recycling. The Hands-On Workshop: More Profit Margin from “Lean” takes the lean-flow concepts of the past to new levels, using case studies to illustrate how other companies use lean flow and how they’ve benefited.

Continuing on its history of industry participation and business development, the Grower Town Meeting is back for another year. This year’s topic, “Differentiate or Die,” will foster discussion, ideas and advice to help you deal with issues such as extreme energy prices, skilled labor shortages, rapidly rising input costs, maturing product lines, massive overproduction and increasing unemployment. This panel of industry leaders will lead a guided exploration of how we can differentiate our industry and businesses to ensure continued success.

In addition to three greenhouse grower-specific tracks, this year’s OFA Short Course will also offer a full four-day program on marketing and management topics open to current and future business managers, include benchmarking analysis, business etiquette, the Manager Idea Exchange, and building and growing your team.

Other Grower Attractions

If you’re not looking to spend all your time in the classroom, the Short Course also offers the following events, open to all registered attendees:

  • All-industry trade show: More than 550 companies in 1,500 exhibit spaces will be showcasing everything you need for your business, including the latest innovations in plant material, equipment, products and services.
  • Keynote address: Returning after a several-year absence, the keynote address is a must-attend event. Fred Kirschenmann of the Leopold Center for Sustainability will speak on “Future Challenges and Opportunities in our Food and Agriculture Enterprises.”
  • New trends: The new product and new variety displays will highlight some of the best new introductions in plant material and hard goods, while Project: Green Industry will provide suggestions on eco-friendly products.
  • Merchandising ShowCase: The retail experience continues with a hands-on Merchandising ShowCase that includes more interactive displays with ideas attendees can take home and use right away.

The OFA Short Course will attract approximately 10,000 exhibitors and attendees from around the world to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio – make it your business to attend, too. For more information, visit

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