BioSolutions Conference & Expo Kicks Off in Visalia

Paul Brierley, Director, Arizona Department of Agriculture

Paul Brierley, Director, Arizona Department of Agriculture

The BioSolutions Conference & Expo in Visalia, CA, kicked off with a bang. Nearly 50 attendees joined the pre-conference experience tour on Monday, March 4 sponsored by Lytone, including a visit to Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and Terranova Ranch. The tour group returned to Visalia to meet other attendees at a Welcome Party at Barrelhouse Brewing Company, sponsored by Apical Crop Science.

Nearly 300 attendees gathered the next morning to listen to keynote speaker Paul Brierley, Director, Arizona Department of Agriculture. He set the tone for the conference, noting the challenges that growers and farmers are facing in the industry and how they can advocate for themselves with regulatory agencies.

“Ag product developers need to truly understand growers’ needs,” Brierley says. “Public/private partnerships can help bridge the gap.”

Later, the group broke into concurrent sessions depending on their interest, either vegetables or fruit and nuts. One of the speakers in the fruit and nut session was David Haviland, Farm Advisor for Cooperative Extension Kern County. Haviland spoke on how growers can implement integrated pest management at their operation.

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“It is not the number of pests that matters,” he said. “Rather, it is the number of natural predators that matters, which will determine the future number of pests.”

The trade show floor was open all day for attendees to mingle with suppliers and learn about their product portfolios. More breakout sessions followed lunch, and attendees could choose between the greenhouse track and sustainability track. In the greenhouse track, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Owner of Buglady Consulting, shared critical information on Thrips parvispinus.

“You don’t need high magnification to see Thrips parvispinus,” Wainwright-Evans says, dispelling a common misconception when trying to identify these pepper thrips.

She said growers can find the thrips by “washing” the plant leaves, banging the plant over a black or white board, or using sticky cards. The most effective color of sticky card depends on each operation and its environment, so she advised growers to test different colored sticky cards.

There were also various product solution presentations throughout the day, including slideshows from BioWorks, Impello Biosciences, Beneficial Insectary, and Certis Biologicals. The first day of the BioSolutions Conference & Expo closed with a networking reception at the Visalia Convention Center.

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