Greenhouse tomato growers and people with an interest in this business should mark their calendars for the 20th annual Greenhouse Tomato Short Course to be held in Raymond, Miss., March 9-10.

The intensive, one-of-a-kind short course is dedicated to helping producers of greenhouse tomatoes. Mississippi is home to about 100 growers who produce a $6 million greenhouse tomato crop annually.

Rick Snyder, Mississippi State University professor and vegetable specialist in Crystal Springs, is organizing the short course.

“Growers cannot find this much information about greenhouse tomatoes in any other short course or workshop in the country,” Snyder said. “Because of this, growers come to Mississippi each year from more than 25 states to learn about greenhouse tomato production.”

The 2010 Greenhouse Tomato Short Course will be at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center. The MSU Extension Service and the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond are sponsoring the course with additional support from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.

Sessions will take place from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days. Topics for discussion include the basics of getting started, developing a business plan, heating and cooling, and controlling insects and diseases. Exhibitors from across the United States and Canada will discuss their products related to the greenhouse tomato business.

Advance registration is $125 and must be received by Feb. 25. This fee includes most meals, coffee breaks, refreshments and handouts. Registration at the door is $150.

For more information and to register online, go to the short course Web site at http://www.greenhousetomatosc.com, contact local county Extension offices or e-mail ricks@ra.msstate.edu. The complete agenda, registration materials, a map and a list of suggested hotels are available online.