The conference begins with registration at 8:30 a.m., and Dr. John Pyzner, an LSU AgCenter associate professor specializing in fruits and pecans, will kick off the day's presentations at 9:10 a.m. when he speaks about blackberry production.

Part of Pyzner's presentation will include information on the thorn-less blackberry varieties including the "Ouachita" variety recently released by the University of Arkansas. There should be limited availability of the plant during spring 2004, according to Pyzner, who also will cover production of blackberries and care of blackberry plants.

Dr. Blair Buckley, a researcher at the LSU AgCenter's Calhoun Research Station, will follow Pyzner with a talk about southern peas. And Anthony "Yak" Yakaboski, a Union Parish producer, will talk about his experiences in growing and marketing fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Charles Graham, another researcher at the LSU AgCenter's Calhoun Research Station, also will provide information on recommended fruit varieties and catalog sources.

Other presentations during the morning sessions will include a talk on "Adding Value to Your Fruit" by Charles Hutchins of the Grant Fruit Processing Plant in Pollock, followed by a discussion of fruit and vegetable insect control by Dr. Boris Castro, an assistant professor of entomology with the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge.

After lunch, Dr. James Boudreaux, an LSU AgCenter professor specializing in commercial vegetables and strawberries, will talk about fruit and vegetable weed control, and Dr. Kenneth Whitam, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, will talk about fruit and vegetable disease control.

The conference ends with Charles Whittington, an LSU AgCenter associate agent in Richland Parish, demonstrating how to prune peach trees.

There is no fee for attending the conference, but advance registration is requested. For information or to register, call Dr. John Pyzner at (318) 644-5865 or e-mail jpyzner@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Denise Coolman is a writer for the LSU AgCenter.

e-mail: dcoolman@agcenter.lsu.edu