Mississippi’s 15th annual Greenhouse Tomato Short Course, March 1-4 in Jackson, Miss., will be two days longer than it has been in the past to accommodate the extensive educational needs of producers in the state, across the country.

Mississippi is home to 130 growers who combine to produce a $6.5 million greenhouse tomato crop annually. In 2004, the short course attracted and in other nations.

Rick Snyder, professor and vegetable specialist in Crystal Springs, Miss., is organizing the short course. With financial support from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, a third day of speakers is being added. Tours of area tomato greenhouses will take place the fourth day.

“Growers cannot find this much information about greenhouse tomatoes in any other short course or workshop in the country,” Snyder said.

The 2005 Greenhouse Tomato Short Course will be held in the Sparkman Auditorium at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum at 1150 Lakeland Drive, Jackson, Miss. It is sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Central Research and Extension Center in Raymond, Miss.

Sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. each day. The first day will provide an overview of greenhouse tomato production, new grower information, common grower problems and marketing information. The second and third days will cover heating and cooling greenhouses, disease and insect prevention, more marketing tips, new greenhouse technologies and other topics. On the final day, participants will take bus tours to area greenhouses.

Advance registration is $85 and must be received by Feb. 15. The fee includes meals, coffee breaks, refreshments, Extension bulletins and handouts. Registration at the door is $100. Those who pre-register will receive a Greenhouse Tomato Short Course all-cotton cap and a coffee mug.

For more information, contact local Mississippi county Extension offices, e-mail ricks@ra.msstate.edu or visit http://www.greenhousetomatosc.com. The complete agenda, registration materials, a map and suggested hotels are available online.