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School for beginning apple growers offered in March

The Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers, a three-day workshop for people wanting to start an orchard business, will be offered March 13-15 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The course will prepare participants to grow and sell apples using a variety of management strategies and tools.

4152569551_cfa7350c99_z“We aim to help people better understand the business of farming, from production to marketing and economics, so that they can set realistic goals and improve their chances of success,” says school coordinator John Hendrickson.

Offered in alternate years, the school is a unique program that combines the expertise of seasoned growers and UW faculty. Primary instructors will be Bob Barthel of Barthel Fruit Farm in Mequon, Laura Tisch of Munchkey Apples in Mount Horeb, and Harry Hoch of Hoch Orchard and Gardens in LaCrescent, Minnesota. Joining them will be UW-Madison and UW-Extension fruit specialists Patricia McManus, Amaya Atucha and Christelle Guedot.

The school emphasizes sustainable and organic production methods, including integrated pest management strategies, and helps students understand the full cost of establishing an orchard. Participants will have opportunities to network with others intent on making a business out of growing and selling apples.

The Midwest School for Beginning Apple Growers is sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, and is open to the public. Registration for the program costs $300.

For more information, contact John Hendrickson at (608) 265-3704 or jhendric@wisc.edu, or visit the CIAS web site: www.cias.wisc.edu.