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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 16-18 on the UW-Madison campus.

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

“Because of the high startup costs and increased risks associated with perennial farming systems, it’s vital to learn and plan before you plant. We help people better understand the business of growing and marketing apples, so they can set realistic goals and improve their chances of success,” says coordinator John Hendrickson, an outreach specialist with the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

The school offers a unique program that combines the expertise of seasoned Wisconsin growers and UW-Madison/UW-Extension faculty. Primary instructors will be Bob Barthel of Barthel Fruit Farm in Mequon; Laura Tisch of Munchkey Apples in Mount Horeb; and Rami Aburomia of Atoms to Apples in Mount Horeb. Joining them will be UW-Madison/UW-Extension fruit specialists Patricia McManus, Amaya Atucha and Christelle Guedot.

The school will emphasize sustainable and organic production methods, including integrated pest management strategies. One highlight of the program is understanding the complete costs of establishing an orchard, including planting, equipment and facilities. 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. The school is open to the public. Registration for the program costs $350.

For more information, contact John Hendrickson at (608) 265-3704 or jhendric@wisc.edu or visit the CIAS web site: http://www.cias.wisc.edu/midwest-school-for-beginning-apple-growers/.

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