Greenhouse tomato growers and people with an interest in this business should mark their calendars for the 17th annual greenhouse tomato short course to be held in Raymond, Miss., March 6-9.

Organizers have increased the classroom time by one day and added the opportunity to tour a greenhouse facility on the final day. The intensive, one-of-a-kind short course is exclusively dedicated to helping producers of greenhouse tomatoes. Mississippi is home to about 130 growers who combine to produce a $6.5 million greenhouse tomato crop annually.

The 2007 Greenhouse Tomato Short Course will be at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center in Raymond.

The MSU Extension Service, the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency are sponsoring the course.

Sessions will take place from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the first three days. Topics for discussion include the basics of getting started, developing a business plan, designing a greenhouse, organic farming, heating and cooling, and controlling insects and diseases, both with chemicals and biological control.

Exhibitors from across the United States and Canada will be available to display and discuss their products related to the greenhouse tomato business.

Registration at the door is $125. This fee includes most meals, coffee breaks, refreshments and a reference notebook that includes all the Extension bulletins and handouts.

For more information, go to the short course Web site at http://www.greenhousetomatosc.com, contact local county Extension offices or e-mail ricks@ra.msstate.edu.