In a bid to fortify Ontario’s potato industry against challenges and foster knowledge-sharing, the 2024 Ontario Potato Conference and Trade Show is set to kick off on Thursday, February 29, at the Delta Hotel & Conference Center in Guelph.
Dr. Eugenia Banks, a renowned potato specialist at the Ontario Potato Board and the conference organizer, recently unveiled a dynamic program aimed at addressing pressing issues faced by potato growers.
Dr. Banks emphasizes the importance of this event, stating, “The Ontario Potato Conference is not just a meeting; it’s a hub for innovation, learning, and networking. We’re excited to welcome new companies to our Trade Show, as they bring novel technologies that can possibly revolutionize how we grow and manage potatoes.”
The conference will commence with a spotlight on late blight, a persistent threat to potato crops in Ontario and indeed worldwide. Keynote speaker Gary Secor, an authority on the subject, will shed light on global efforts to combat this formidable disease. Dr. Secor’s presentation will delve into recommended management practices, providing valuable insights for Ontario farmers. Mark VanOostrum will then share firsthand experiences from the 2023 season, offering a crucial overview of the challenges faced by growers in the region.
Following the morning sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the Trade Show during lunch, where 30 exhibitors await to engage with participants, showcasing cutting-edge products and services. This year, the show is expanding with numerous new companies eager to connect with potato growers. These newcomers will showcase their latest technology products, reflecting the evolving landscape of potato farming and offering fresh perspectives and solutions. Companies interested to take part are welcome to get in touch with Dr. Banks.
In the afternoon, the conference will pivot to crucial topics such as soil health, variable-rate seed-planting, and the management of the soft rot complex, which includes tuber soft rot, blackleg, and Dickeya.
Peter Johnson, renowned for his passion and expertise, will explore the pivotal role of soil organic matter in farm sustainability. The audience can expect a lively discussion on this critical aspect of potato production.
To cap off the day, Dennis Van Dyk will present findings from a bio-stimulants trial conducted in Beeton last year, providing valuable insights for growers.
Attendees can take advantage of free parking, and Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits will be provided. The Ontario Potato Board, steadfast in its commitment to supporting the event for 26 years, encourages growers and potato enthusiasts alike to participate.
“Previous conferences have exceeded attendance expectations, and the board remains optimistic that this trend will continue in 2024,” says Dr. Banks.
Online registration will be available on the Ontario Potato Board shortly. In the meantime, interested parties are welcome to get in touch with Dr. Banks for registration details.