Jim Barrett to Receive 2004 Horticulture Initiative Award at Southeast Greenhouse Conference

April 30, 2004 - 11:54

Jim Barrett of the University of Florida and GPN’s consulting editor has been selected for this year’s Southeast Greenhouse Conference (SGC) Horticulture Initiative Award. The award is presented annually to an individual recognized for their contribution to the floriculture industry. The award will be presented at the opening of the conference in Greenville, S.C., June 23-26, 2004.

The board of directors of SGC acknowledges Barrett’s pioneering work in the field of plant growth regulators, which has revolutionized commercial production of ornamental crops.

“Certainly an award like this is something I really appreciate,” said Barrett. “The evolution of the Southeast Greenhouse Conference and the states associated with it has been really remarkable. I’ve enjoyed being involved with the group and seeing how the conference has improved over the years to become one of the major shows in the U.S.”

Barrett graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. He received his Master’s degree from Auburn in horticulture with an emphasis on vegetable crops. Barrett then attended Michigan State University and received his Ph.D. in horticulture, which started his work on floriculture crops. He has been at the University of Florida since 1978.

Barrett’s early work with chemicals and extensive educational consulting dealing with plant-hormone regulators introduced new chemicals and application strategies to the industry and aided in the adoption of the labor-saving tools in production. “Jim’s work is the foundation on which all the later growth-regulator work has been done,” said Rick Schoellhorn, floriculture extension specialist from the University of Florida.

Barrett conducts extensive research on the poinsettia, including production methodology for new cultivars, growth-regulator effects and flowering responses. “Developing a team-based approach to solving national problems is a really strong aspect of Jim’s work,” said Schoellhorn.

“When I came to Florida, one of the very limiting factors in the production of quality poinsettias and other flowering plants was controlling the size,” said Barrett. “Due to the high production temperatures [in Florida], it was more difficult than in cooler climates. That led me in the direction of finding ways to help the growers here. Through working with the chemical companies and evaluating experimental products, we were able to find products that worked better.”

Barrett has been involved with the SGC since its inception as a conference speaker, and he arranged for Florida to become a part of the Southeast Greenhouse Conference about eight years ago. “I saw the real benefit of getting the Florida growers to participate in [SGC]. Now it’s grown and has become very successful.”

“The mission of the Southeast Greenhouse Conference and Trade Show is to deliver a high-quality educational program and trade show focused on the latest methods and management techniques in retail and wholesale production and sales of floriculture products and services,” according to the SGC. The conference is planned and managed by southeastern growers, retailers, sales professionals and educators who provide education and networking to improve the floriculture industry.

“It’s been very useful to work with various grower groups and interact with growers at programs like the Southeast Greenhouse Conference,” said Barrett. “It’s very useful to find out what grower needs are. It’s also been very important to interact with growers and find out how they use my information.”

The following is a list of highlights at the conference:

  • Wednesday, June 23. 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Field Trip: Tour of southeast trial and display gardens.

    The two hosts this year will be Marc Frank and Erika Berghauer, graduate students with strong plant backgrounds from the University of Florida. Park Seed will have an open house celebration, and there will be a visit to Park Seed’s display gardens and gift shops. In the afternoon, Allan Armitage from the University of Georgia’s-Athens Trial Gardens will provide a tour or what’s new on the national and international level.
  • Thursday, June 24.Workshop of Focus: The Family Business Forum. 8:00 a.m.-noon

    Wayne Rivers of The Family Business Institute will be speaking about a variety of subjects pertaining to the family nursery business, including: succession planning, the most common and costly transition mistakes made by family businesses, trends among family businesses, time management skills, decision-making styles and the difference between the family and the business.

    1:45-2:30 p.m. Jim Barrett will be giving a presentation on the use of growth regulators.

    4:15 p.m. Rick Schoellhorn will be presenting Jim Barrett with the Horticulture Initiative Award. P.Allen Smith will be a keynote speaker, addressing “Making the Most of Make-Over Mania.”
  • Friday, June 25. Sessions of Focus.

    8:00-10:30 a.m. “Have we got a grower for you.”


    Bob McGovern, University of Florida, will be discussing the new Doctor and Plant Medicine program in Florida that is producing experts that specialize in all forms of pest management. Jamie Gibson, University of Florida, will be giving an overview for motivated students looking for experience in the industry. Allen Hammer, Purdue University, will discuss how to find the right internships, and Lane Greer, Mississippi State University, will discuss how to avoid the pitfalls and how to get the most out of an internship. The internship programs offer growers the chance to preview new employees from universities and see if that person is a good fit for the business, and in turn students get a real-world look at the industry.
  • 7:30-9:30 p.m. “Poinsettias—What Cultivars are Hot and How to Grow Them.”
    Jim Barrett, Allen Hammer and John Dole of North Carolina State University, have put together the most comprehensive national trialing program of poinsettia cultivars. They have worked out all of the aspects that allow growers to adopt the poinsettia and a crop. They will be discussing how growers can benefit from the amount of information on new poinsettia varieties.
  • 8:00-10:30 a.m. “Spanish for pest management employees.”
    For the first time, SGC is offering a training track in Spanish, focusing on the area of pest management and bridging the gap between the technical terminology of the chemical industry and the Spanish-speaking staff. This session is for Spanish-speaking personnel, and it will provide the necessary information for the basic identification and effective controls against insects and diseases. Participants will learn how to identify important insects, diseases and environmental factors that influence their incidence in greenhouse operations. They will also learn how to develop and implement effective control measures. Lectures and hands-on demonstrations will be part of the training.
  • Friday, June 25. Saturday, June 26. Crops Specialization Tracks.

    There will be a series of different crops presented by different presenters. The idea is that at the end of each talk, growers will go away with everything they need to do in order to grow that specific crop. Experts will share the latest varieties, production techniques, pest and disease management and issues for each crop.
  • Saturday, June 26. Show Room at the Garden Center Showcase.

    “Mixed Containers and How to do It.” This provides people with the ideas and the concepts they need to produce mixed containers. People can see experts put together some of the best-looking designs for mixed containers.

    8:00-9:15 Randolph’s Greenhouse, Tenn.

    9:15-10:30 Peace Tree Farm, Penn.

For more information of the Southeast Greenhouse Conference, visit www.sgcts.org.

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