2006 National Floriculture Forum

November 4, 2005 - 11:30

Michigan State University is hosting the National Floriculture Forum (NFF) in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Feb. 24-26, 2006. The National Floriculture Forum is an annual meeting where researchers, instructors, extension faculty, industry leaders and government scientists in floriculture meet to discuss issues of concern to the floriculture industry in the United States and Canada. It also provides an opportunity to improve collaboration, share ideas and experiences, learn from each other, and discover more about the needs and opportunities in floriculture. As a member of the floriculture industry, you are invited to participate.

The theme for the 2006 NFF is “Survival Strategies for Floriculture Programs” and will address issues of importance to academics and the floriculture industry alike. Relationships among scientists at academic and government institutions, private companies and granting agencies are important to everyone in the floriculture industry. Building these relationships, improving the visibility and viability of floriculture, and advancing the efficacy and efficiency of teaching, research and outreach programs are some of the strategies to advance the floriculture industry.

NFF is planning session topics aimed at keeping floriculture programs alive and well. Specific session topics include:

  • A discussion about industry trends and research needs.
  • Improving relationships and funding among scientists and industry.
  • Strategies to enhance the image and prestige of floriculture.
  • Maintaining an outreach program with dwindling resources.
  • Online teaching and strategies to develop critical thinking skills.
  • Maintaining floriculture classes with declining enrollments.
  • The floriculture Ph.D. student in 2006 and beyond.

Each topic will be facilitated by a different researcher or industry leader and will include a wide-range of perspectives from participants. In addition, NFF is planning a day-long industry tour to visit some wholesale growers of bedding and potted plants in western Michigan.

The NFF is not possible without strong industry support and necessitates diverse input from all perspectives of floriculture. The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is focused on supporting research and scholarship in the field of floriculture. AFE has been a strong financial supporter of this annual forum since its inception about 12 years ago. In addition, funding has been provided by leading private floricultural companies and organizations to make attending the 2006 NFF less costly for everyone.

In keeping with past programs, open discussion and free exchange of opinions and ideas are expected of the participants. Given the topics, attendees can expect to learn from others how they have successfully addressed these issues.

Erik Runkle is program chair of the 2006 NFF. The scheduled program facilitators are Gary Bachman, Illinois State University; Art Cameron, Michigan State University; John Erwin, University of Minnesota; Paul Fisher, University of New Hampshire; Jamie Gibson, University of Florida; Brian Whipker, North Carolina State University; and Bridget White, GPN magazine. The keynote speaker will be Harold Wilkins, retired faculty member from the University of Minnesota who continues to be involved in the floriculture industry.

For more information, to register, or to be a sponsor of the 2006 NFF, please visit the Web site at http://www.hrt.msu.edu/florAoE/nff.htm. At this site you will find transportation and accommodation information, the tentative agenda, plans for the industry tour and more. Registration cost for the entire event is only $60 per person thanks to the support of private companies, grower organizations and industry endowments that have contributed to make this event accessible to many. This fee includes the industry tour with box lunch, the program, two dinners, two breakfasts and one lunch.

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