2017 Florida Protected Ag and Hydroponics Conference

Register today at

2017 Florida Protected Ag and Hydroponic Conference will be hosted by the University of Florida/IFAS Live Oak and Balm Ag Research Centers. Participants will have a unique opportunity to start the conference by visiting one of two established commercial farms using protective ag and hydroponic methods on the first day of the conference. Tour selection is noted in the registration section.

Day One of the conference will continue at the University of Florida/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center located south of the Tampa Bay area in Balm, Florida and will include field tours of the center. A reception at the center will close out the day giving participants a chance to network in a casual, relaxed setting.

Day Two will features educational sessions, Farm to School presentation and a growers panel featuring five area growers. The Agenda for the event is noted below and is subject to change, updates will be issued via email to those who register.  

Protected Ag and Hydroponics Conference Details

When registering for the conference be sure to note which tour you will want to attend. For Hillsborough County, you will want to choose the Red Barn Tour. For Manatee County, chose C&D Farms Tour.

Early Bird Registration of only $50 until 11/5/2017. $75 after 11/5/2017.

Hotel Accomodations will be provided by
Hilton Garden Inns located in Riverview, Florida
Contact hotel directly at (813) 626-6610
Reference Group Room Code PAW to get the discounted rate.
This rate is only available to the first 50 reservations and until 11/7/2017.

Interested in becoming a Sponsor for this event?  Here are all the details - Sponsorship Information

Day 1, Part One
Tuesday, December 5

Participants will begin the workshop touring one of two locations currently using protected ag and hydroponic methods. Tours will be begin at 10 a.m. at both Red Barn and C & D Farms.

Hillsborough County
Red Barn Farm
12732 Thonotosassa Road
Plant City, Florida
From I-75 take I-4 East to Exit #14, McIntosh Road. Turn left onto McIntosh Road and Red Barn will be on the left

Manatee County
C & D Fruit and Vegetable Co.
16505 E State Road 64
Bradenton, Florida
From I-75 take Exit #220 (SR 64) to the right heading towards Bradenton. Turn left on SR 64 and travel to 16505 E. SR 64. If you see Uihlein Road, you’ve gone too far.

Day 1, Part Two
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch at GCREC

1:00 - 1:40
Tour strawberries in tunnel and field; blackberries in tunnel
Shinsuke Agehara

1:45 - 2:20
IPM demonstration on peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers
Hugh Smith

2:30 - 2:50
Tour net house blackberries
Shinsuke Agehara

2:50 - 4:00
Wagon Tour of field
Featuring stops at the GCREC hops yard, pomegranates, compact growth tomatoes and artichokes

4:00 – 5:00
Discussion regarding formation of an association for Florida protected ag and hydroponic growers and allied industry

5:00 Reception
GCREC Annex Patio

Day 2 Wednesday, December 6

8:00-9:00 Registration
9:00 Overview of Florida’s dynamic protected ag and hydroponics industry - Bob Hochmuth, UF/IFAS Live Oak

9:30 Economics and budgeting for hydroponic production - Kevin Athearn, UF/IFAS Live Oak

9:50 Break/Visit Vendors

10:30 UF trial results and grower experiences with leafy greens grown in various structures and systems—Bob Hochmuth and Wanda Laughlin, UF/IFAS Live Oak

11:00 Predators for suppression of key pests - Hugh Smith, UF/IFAS Balm

11:30 Improved water and nutrient management - Shinsuke Agehara, UF/IFAS Balm

12:00 Lunch, Visit Vendors

1:00 Farm to School Opportunities -
Beth Spratt, Child Nutrition Specialist, FDACS

1:30 Grower Panel Featuring:
Randall Dasher, Dasher Farms
Darrin Swank, Swank Specialty Produce
Freddie Bacon, Bacon’s Select Produce
Emil Belibasis, Bell Farms
Jon Virata, Farm at Rockledge Gardens