Detailed Conference Schedule

North American Raspberry & Blackberry Conference 
Savannah, Georgia – January 2019
“Growing Our Future”

Wednesday, January 9

At the Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Historic District

11:30-1:00 Workshop/Tour Check-in

1:00-5:00 Workshop: Fundamentals of Caneberry Production  A short course for novice/potential growers and anyone who needs a refresher on the basics of caneberry production. Topics will include variety selection and basic crop, fertility, and pest management. The workshop will emphasize blackberry production for the Southeast, but may include discussion of raspberry production and other regions, depending on who preregisters. Participants will receive handouts and a USB-drive of resources. Led by Amanda McWhirt, U of Arkansas, and Gina Fernandez, NCSU, with blackberry breeder John Clark, U of Arkansas; entomologist Hannah Burrack, NCSU, weed scientist Wayne Mitchem, NCSU, and plant pathologist Jonathan Oliver, U of Georgia. Registration limited; preregistration required. $35/person for NARBA members, $50/non-members

1:00-4:00 Tour of the Port of Savannah The Port of Savannah is one of the largest and busiest container-handling facilities in the United States and a major import/export port for berries and other produce. As well as touring the port and learning about its activities, participants will have the opportunity to try their skill on a crane operation simulator. Limited registration; preregistration required. $25/person. Fees for this tour support the North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation.

Thursday, January 10

At the Savannah Trade and Convention Center, Chatham Ballroom

7:30 am Registration opens

7:30-9:00 Coffee, exhibits, and posters (Want to submit a poster? Click here)

9:00-12:00 General session  “Growing Our Future”

  • Perspectives on the Caneberry Industry: Past, Present, and Future – John Clark, University of Arkansas; Roland Fumasi, Rabobank Research; JC Clinard, Wish Farms; Chris Eckert, Eckert Orchards
  • Growing Our Future: A Panel of Younger Caneberry Growers moderated by NARBA president Pierson Geyer

12:00-1:45 Lunch, NARBA annual meeting and awards

1:45-5:00 Breakout sessions (Two rooms; attend the sessions of your choice)

Breakouts Room 1

  • New Horizons in SWD Control – Hannah Burrack, NC State University
  • Looking for Viruses in All the Right Places: How to Improve Certification Programs – Bob Martin, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR
  • Raspberry Breeding and Caneberry Production in the UK – Felicidad Fernandez, NIAB EMR, East Malling, UK
  • Genomics and Gene-Editing for Berry Crops: Reality vs. Hype – Courtney Weber, Cornell University
  • Breeders’ Outlook – Growers’ Feedback: Panel and discussion 

Breakouts Room 2

  • West Meets East: New Thornless Blackberries to Try – Chad Finn, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR
  • Primocane-Fruiting Blackberries: Successes, Challenges, and Outlook – John Clark, University of Arkansas
  • Alternative Cane-training system for primocanes of primocane-fruiting blackberries — Fumiomi Takeda, USDA-ARS, Kearneysville, WV
  • Missouri Experiences with Thornless Blackberries and the RCA Trellis – Patrick Byers, University of Missouri
  • Rotating Trellis: Is It Worth the Effort? Our Experiences – Amanda McWhirt, University of Arkansas, and growers

12:00-5:00 SRFVC Educational Sessions: Business Operations. Open to NARBA registrants. Find a detailed SRFVC schedule at

6:00 – Dinner on your own.  

Friday, January 11

At the Savannah Trade and Convention Center, Rooms 200-202

8:30-9:45 General Session

  • Grower Spotlight – Steve McMillan, Southern Grace Farm, Enigma, GA
  • Food Safety Concerns Caneberry Growers Can’t Ignore – Elizabeth Bihn, Produce Safety Alliance, Cornell University

10:00-12:00 Morning Breakouts Room 1

  • Essential Steps for SWD Management – Hannah Burrack, NC State University
  • Update on Insecticide Resistance, and the Impact of Adjuvants and Phagostimulants on Insecticide Efficacy against SWD – Ash Sial, University of Georgia
  • Biology and Management of Cane Blight and Orange Cane Blotch on Blackberry – Jonathan Oliver and Will Hemphill, University of Georgia
  • Seasonal Changes in Blackberry Leaf Nutrients in Single- and Double-Cropped Primocane Fruiting Systems – Gina Fernandez, NC State University

10:00-11:30 Morning Breakouts Room 2

  • Whose berries? Traceability and Labeling for Growers Large and Small – Elizabeth Bihn, Produce Safety Alliance, Cornell University
  • Degree-day Harvest Prediction – Veronica Fall, University of Illinois Midwestern Regional Climate Center and Gina Fernandez, NC State University
  • Technology and Apps for Caneberry Growers: What’s out there and what do growers need? A discussion with app designers and tech providers

11:30-1:30 Lunch, visit trade show

1:30-5:00 Afternoon Breakouts Room 1  

  • What Virus Is That? And How Do I Manage It? – Bob Martin, USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR
  • Blackberry Cultivar Performance, Pest Susceptibility and Postharvest Disorders in SC – Juan Carlos Melgar, Clemson University
  • Physiological Mechanisms and Causes of Red Drupelet Reversion in Blackberries – Max Edgley, University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Research on Red Drupelet Reversion at the University of Arkansas – Margaret Worthington, University of Arkansas
  • New Guidance for Inspection of Blackberries: Red Drupelet Disorder – Olivia Banks, USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Inspections
  • Blackberry Fruit Quality and Appearance – Discussion
  • Current Topics in Blackberries – John Clark, University of Arkansas

1:30-5:00 Afternoon Breakouts Room 2  

  • Is Tunnel Production Right for You? What tunnels can do for you – Basic economics – Tunnel and plastics options – Observations from different regions and growers – Eric Hanson, Michigan State University, and others
  • Substrate and Long Cane Production for Caneberries – Eric Hanson, Michigan State University, and Valerie Bernier-English, Ferme Onésime Pouliot, Inc., Quebec 
  • Growing with Black Raspberries – Courtney Weber, Cornell University; Chad Finn, USDA-ARS; and growers

9:00 am-6:15 pm SRFVC Trade Show. Hundreds of exhibitors!

8:00-5:00 SRFVC Educational Sessions: Blueberry, Food Safety, Organic, Peach, Roadside Markets, Strawberry Vegetable. Open to NARBA registrants.
Find the detailed schedule at

5:00-6:15 WELCOME RECEPTION in the Trade Show

Dinner on your own.

Saturday, January 12

At the Savannah Trade and Convention Center

9:00-2:30 SRFVC Trade Show – Hundreds of exhibitors! 

8:00-5:00 SRFVC Educational Sessions: Blueberry, Business Operations, Food Safety, Muscadine, Peach, Vegetable, Vidalia Onion, Watermelon 

Open to NARBA conference registrants. Find the detailed SRFVC schedule at

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