Oct 26, 2020
North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association plans virtual 2021 conference

The 2021 North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association (NARBA) Conference  will be held virtuallydue to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and the safety of travel and group events.

“We are excited about the possibilities that a virtual event opens up to us to have far-flung presenters – and participants –and engage in creative exchange of ideas and information.”

Here’s the plan (open to revision as we continue the planning process):

Main Conference Feb. 22-25, 2021

Feb. 22: Virtual Opening Reception. How do you do a virtual reception? We’ll find out! BYOB, get comfortable on the couch, and prepare to meet and greet.

Febr. 23-25:

  • Scheduled programing 2:00-5:00 and 6:30-9:30 (Eastern Time) all three days. We expect that all sessions will offer live Q&A.
  • There will be one main track of educational presentations and panel discussions and a secondary track for additional programming.
  • Posters and poster sessions when you can talk to the authors (tentatively also a graduate student poster contest)
  • Exhibitor virtual booths, live demos, recorded presentations, and group and one-on-one meetings
  • Side meetings via Zoom for specific groups or topics. New members…Young Growers…Q&A with entomologists…Michigan growers…Berry Breeders… whatever we want! Some will be set up in advance, or others that YOU can set up on the fly.
  • Lots of opportunity for informal networking and even some contests, raffles, and prizes.

The program committee is hard at work confirming speakers and session topics. (Suggestions? Send us an email!) You’ll be able to see the program in advance, choose sessions you particularly want to see, and set yourself reminders for those sessions. If you miss a session, you will be able to watch it later as a recording.

You will be able to participate by desktop, laptop, or tablet computer or mobile phone or a combination of these. Some functions may only be available on your mobile device.

Registration Fee: Only $50 for NARBA 2021 members, $80 for non-members. Sponsorships help us keep conference fees low! Non-members who join with their registration may take advantage of the lower member rate.

Earlybird special: Every NARBA member registration by January 25 will receive a free, all-cotton, NARBA T-shirt.

Registration will open in November or December. Sponsor and Exhibitor Registration are being accepted now —  see information here.

Pre-Conference Short Course: “Fundamentals of Raspberry and Blackberry Production”

Oriented towards beginning/novice farmers, this very substantial 7-part webinar series replaces and expands our ever-popular preconference workshop. It will cover raspberries and blackberries and is being organized by some of the leading caneberry educators from around the country, including Dr. Marvin Pritts (Cornell University) and Dr. Amanda McWhirt (University of Arkansas). The main topics for the session are:

  1. Overview- Caneberry production (BASICS) and Variety recommendations by region (breakout sessions)
  2. Pre-plant, soil management and fertility
  3. Pruning and trellising
  4. Irrigation and water management
  5. Disease and insect management
  6. New technologies – tunnels, substrate production, and more
  7. Marketing, budgeting, and food safety

Each session will be a combination of a presentation by a research/extension expert, a grower perspective, and live Q and A. Regional breakouts may be included in some sessions. Participants will be provided with resources that they can review before each class, and if they miss a class, they will be able to view the recorded webinar.

When: Twice a week between February 1 and February 22, days of the week TBD. 7:00-9:00 pm Eastern (4:00-6:00 pm Pacific). The time will include a scheduled break.

Fee: $95 NARBA member, $125 non-member

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