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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA News Release

Chestnut production workshops to take current and prospective producers, extension agents and FFA instructors/students through year of growing, harvesting and marketing

February 25, 2009

***The workshops are full for ?09. However, we?d be happy to put your name on a list to receive notification about the 2010 series. Please contact Julie Rhoads, 573-882-3234 or if you are interested in being notified. Please include your name, e-mail address, phone number and street address.***

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Chinese chestnuts are a growing industry in Missouri. This specialty crop is sustainable, provides both short- and long-term income and has a demand that is predicted to continue to grow.

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry has pioneered growing Chinese chestnuts in Missouri and will teach others how to do so through four workshops offered at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin, throughout 2009. Current growers, prospective growers, extension agents and FFA instructors and students are invited to attend the workshops to learn more about the chestnut industry.

"A one-acre orchard of well-managed, grafted Chinese chestnut trees (50 trees), can gross between $5,000 to $7,000 (wholesale) and $10,000 (retail) within 10-12 years and provide growers with supplemental income," said Mike Gold, associate director of the Center. "We feel this crop will be of interest to many Missouri growers and is part of the future of specialty crop farming in Missouri. Growing chestnuts is an excellent way to diversify your farm income."

Gold recommends interested participants sign up for the entire course of four sessions - attendees will be taken through the entire growing season and learn about establishing and caring for trees, including pruning, grafting and fertilizing, in addition to harvesting and marketing the nuts. The workshops will occur throughout the year, covering topics relevant to the time of the growing season.

Course dates and topics are as follows: Tuesday, March 24 - site selection, planting, grafting planning and pruning; Tuesday, May 5 - grafting; Tuesday, Aug. 18 - orchard maintenance, weed control, insect scouting and pest management, and disease control; and Tuesday, Sept. 22 - chestnut harvest, marketing and sales.

Instructors will include Gold; Ken Hunt, research scientist; and Michele Warmund, professor of plant sciences.

With financial support from the Missouri Department of Agriculture?s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the workshops cost only $5 each (course fees waived for FFA instructors/students) and include educational materials and lunch. Available spots are limited. For workshop details contact Gold at 573-884-1448 or; for workshop reservations contact Julie Rhoads at 573-882-3234 or by March 17 to reserve your place for the first workshop or book all four in advance (recommended).

Learn more about the Center and Chinese chestnuts at

--Michelle Hall
Senior Information Specialist
Center for Agroforestry
University of Missouri
(573) 882-9866

Mike Gold, 573-884-1448

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