2023 NARBA Conference

The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association (NARBA) gathered in-person for their annual meeting held January 22-24, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. After two years of virtual conferences, the group will moved the conference to the Sunshine State for the first time!

The conference will kicked off with a half-day Fundamentals of Caneberry Production Workshop on Sunday, January 22nd with main sessions took place on January 23rd – 24th. The conference will featured over 50 speakers and exhibitors from around the world, including top experts and experienced growers. Full schedule listed below.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

Exhibitors, Speakers & Attendees Arrive

11:00am – 5:00pm | Registration & Exhibitor Set-Up – Conference Foyer

Conference Room “B”

1:00pm – 5:00pm | Fundamentals of Caneberry Production – A workshop for novice growers, potential growers, and anyone who needs a refresher on the basics of raspberry and blackberry production. Topics will include variety selection, economics of production, basic crop management, and basic pest management. (NOTE: Additional course fee of $75, not included in conference registration)

  • 1:00pm – 1:45pm | Amanda McWhirt, University of Arkansas – Basics of Caneberry Production and Getting Started: Site Selection and Site Preparation

  • 1:45pm – 2:30pm | Zilfina Ames, University of Georgia and Amanda McWhirt, University of Arkansas – Priority Topics of Pruning & Trellising

  • Refreshment Break | 2:30pm-2:45pm

  • 2:45pm – 3:30pm | Aaron Cato, University of Arkansas and Sara Villani, North Carolina State University – Disease and Insect Management in Caneberries

  • 3:30pm – 4:15pm | Laura McDermott, Cornell University – Getting Started with Raspberries: Production & Issues

  • 4:15pm – 5:00pm | Grower Panel – Advice for New Growers from Established NARBA Members

5:00pm – 6:30pm | Opening Reception – Johnny Hoblick, Agri-Starts – Welcome to Florida!


Monday, January 23rd, 2023

8:30am – 9:00am | Exhibitor Session – Conference Foyer

Conference Room “A”

9:00am – 9:55am | Opening Remarks – David Magaña, Rabobank Research – Caneberry Market Update: Trends Impacting the Industry

Transition to breakout sessions.

Conference Room “A”

10:05am – 10:20am | Production Management | Ryan Dickson, University of Arkansas – Costing and Profitability: Case Study in Determining the ROI for Long-Cane Production

10:20am – 10:35am | Production Management | Mohd Rezaul Islam, University of California, Davis – Extending Raspberry Condition and Sensory Quality with CO2 Atmospheres

10:35am – 10:50am | Production Management | Angelos Deltsidis, University of Georgia, and Zilfina Rubio Ames, University of Georgia – Controlled Atmosphere and Ozone Treatment of 3 Georgia-Grown Blackberry Cultivars

10:50am – 11:05am | Production Management | Scott Orr, USDA-ARS – New Crop Coefficients for Scheduling Irrigation in Trailing Blackberry

11:05am – 11:15am | Production Management Q&A

Conference Room “B”

10:05am – 10:45am | Berry Special Topics | Janis McIntosh, Naturipe Farms; CarrieAnn Arias, Naturipe Farms; Jorden Eade-Romo, Primus Auditing Operations – Sustainability Standards: People, Planet, Profit, Pressure

10:45am – 11:05am | Berry Special Topics | Gina Fernandez, North Carolina State University; Tom O’Brien, O’Brien Family Farms – Multi-State Side-by-Side Cultivar Trial

Conference Room “A”

11:20am – 11:45am | Sean Brotherson, North Dakota State University – Twelve Tools for Your Wellness Toolbox in Agriculture

12:00pm – 1:00pm | Lunch Break

1:00pm – 1:25pm | Exhibitor Session – Conference Foyer

Transition to breakout sessions.

Conference Room “A”

1:25pm – 1:40pm | Breeding | Agnieszka Orzel, Niwa Breeding – Latest Progress in Polish Raspberry and Blackberry Breeding

1:40pm – 1:55pm | Breeding | Felicidad Fernández-Fernández, NIAB EMR – The East Malling Rubus Breeding Consortium: An Update

1:55pm – 2:10pm | Breeding | Ellen Thompson, Hortifrut – Global Breeding Strategies for Sustainability

2:10pm – 2:25pm | Breeding | Gavin Sills, Driscoll’s – Blackberry Breeding at Driscoll’s

2:25pm – 2:35pm | Breeding Q&A

Conference Room “B”

1:25pm – 1:45pm | Berry Special Topics | Renee Threlfall, University of Arkansas – Harvest Date Impact on Fresh-Market Blackberry Quality

1:45pm – 2:05pm | Production Management | Jayesh Samtani, Virginia Tech – Impact of Foliar Calcium, Salicylic Acid, and Shade on Fruit Quality and Flavor of Blackberries

2:05pm – 2:25pm | Berry Special Topics | Gina Fernandez, North Carolina State University – Pairwise Project Updates: What’s Been Done, What is Still to be Done?

2:35pm – 2:55pm | Exhibitor Session & Refreshment Break – Conference Foyer

Conference Room “A”

2:55pm – 3:10pm | Breeding | Carmen Johns, University of Arkansas – University of Arkansas Blackberry Breeding Program Update

3:10pm – 3:25pm | Breeding | Courtney Weber, Cornell University – Cornell Rubus Breeding Update

3:25pm – 3:35pm | Breeding Q&A

3:35pm – 3:50pm | Breeding | Michael Hardigan, USDA-ARS – Oregon Blackberry and Raspberry Breeding: Research Updates and New Varieties

3:50pm – 4:05pm | Breeding | Wendy Hoashi-Erhardt, Washington State University – Raspberry Breeding for Processing in Washington State

4:05pm – 4:20pm | Breeding | Michael Dossett, British Columbia Blueberry Cultivar Development – British Columbia Breeding Update

4:20pm – 4:30pm | Breeding Q&A

4:30pm – 5:00pm | Breeding | Michael Dossett, British Columbia Blueberry Cultivar Development – Review of Recent Caneberry Variety Releases for North America

Conference Room “B”

2:55pm – 3:10pm | University of Florida Berry Research | Muhammad Adnan Shahid, University of Florida – Blackberry: A Newly Emerging Alternative Fruit Crop in Florida

3:10pm – 3:25pm | University of Florida Berry Research | Zhanao Deng, University of Florida – Performance of Commercial Blackberry Varieties in Central Florida

3:25pm – 3:40pm | University of Florida Berry Research | Shinsuke Agehara, University of Florida – Chemical Induction of Budbreak in Blackberry Under Insufficient Winter Chilling

3:40pm – 3:50pm | University of Florida Berry Research Q&A

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

8:30am – 9:00am | Exhibitor Session – Conference Foyer

Conference Room “A”

9:00am – 9:40am | Keynote Address | Fumiomi Takeda, USDA-ARS, retired – My Journey of Walking Rows of Berries and Vines for Sixty Years

9:45am – 10:05am | Grower Spotlight | M & M Berry Farm, featuring Mike Pack Jr.

10:05am – 10:30am | NARBA Annual Meeting

10:30am – 10:50am | Exhibitor Session & Refreshment Break – Conference Foyer

Transition to breakout sessions

Conference Room “A”

10:50am – 11:05am | Pests and Disease | Marylee Ross, University of Maryland; and Janine Spies, University of FloridaHow the IR-4 Project Helps Caneberry Growers with Their Pest Control Needs

11:05am – 11:20am | Pests and Disease | Inga Zasada, USDA-ARS – New and Old Ideas on How to Manage Plant-Parasitic Nematodes in Raspberry

11:20am – 11:35am | Pests and Disease | Hannah Levenson, North Carolina State University – Improvements in SWD Monitoring and Management: Moving Towards IPPM

11:35am – 11:50am | Pests and Disease | Jana Lee, USDA-ARS – Spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) Control with Wasps, Sterile Males, and Sweets

11:50am – 12:00pm | Pests and Disease Q&A

12:00pm – 12:15pm | New Technology | Serhan Mermer, Oregon State University – Optimized Management Strategies to Control Spotted-wing Drosophila in Small Fruits

Conference Room “B”

10:50am – 11:05am | Plant Management | Joshua Mays, TriEst Ag Group – From Soil to Substrate: Key Infrastructure and Fertigation Ideas

11:05am – 11:20am | Plant Management | Lisa Rayburn, North Carolina State University – Evaluating Pine Bark as an Alternative to Coco Coir for Substrate Production of Long-Cane Raspberry in the Southeast

11:20am – 11:35am | Plant Management | Ryan Dickson, University of Arkansas – Programmable Fruit: Tools and Possibilities for Scheduling Harvests with Long-Cane Production

11:35am – 11:50am | Plant Management | Jeff Glass, Independent Contractor – Sap Analysis: Using Real-Time Nutrient Levels to Make Informed Decisions

11:50am – 12:00pm | Plant Management Q&A

12:00pm – 12:15pm | New Technology | Scott Orr, USDA-ARS – Using Drones to Help Manage Irrigation in Blackberries and Raspberries


1:00pm – 7:00pm | Florida Farm Tour – Field and nursery visits of the emerging blackberry industry in Florida. The tour will also visit the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research Center to learn about advances in blackberry research. (NOTE: Limited space available, additional fee of $100, not included in conference registration. Transportation and reception included.)


Additional registration information:

You can choose to add a New Grower NARBA membership or renew your NARBA membership when registering for the conference. Just 3 simple steps!

  1. Choose your ticket (s), Short Course, Conference NARBA Member, and/or Conference Student.
  2. Click the “Checkout Now” Green button at the bottom of the list of tickets. This will open a screen that will show “Additional Options”.
  3. Select your membership option. Then select your acreage assessment range at the bottom of the list.

Your total due will automatically be calculated at the bottom and you can complete your registration. You will save $25 when combining your new membership or membership renewal with your conference registration fees!

You can also choose to add a donation to the North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation your conference registration. The North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation relies on donations. Your donation helps support research into caneberry genetics, pest and disease control, post-harvest technology, nutritional benefits, and many other areas. 

After clicking the “Checkout Now” Green button at the bottom of the list of tickets you will see a screen that will show “Additional Options”. Select your donation level. All contributions are gratefully accepted are fully tax-deductible. 

2023 Poster Session

The North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association is pleased to offer conference participants a way to share their latest research findings. Posters may be submitted by undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and extension educators associated with academic institutions and government agencies (USDA, etc.), and by industry researchers. Posters from growers about their farms or on-farm research are encouraged. For more information, please visit our 2023 NARBA Conference Poster Session page.

Hotel Alba – Our Host Hotel

The event will be held at the Hotel Alba Tampa. This Hilton Tapestry Collection hotel has great amenities, including free wi-fi, outdoor pool, wellness center, and two in-house dining options as well as many walkable Tampa attractions and dining. You can learn more about our host hotel here.


Conference Sponsorship:

The NARBA Conference is excited to offer opportunities for specialized sponsorship of our event with custom activations and targeted sponsorships. There will also be opportunities to exhibit at the Conference Tradeshow. Review our Sponsorship Presentation or contact info@raspberryblackberry.com for more information on how we can create value for your company and support your marketing and outreach goals with face-to-face networking opportunities. 


Thank you to our 2023 Sponsors!












Questions? Contact NARBA at info@raspberryblackberry.com