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International Spinach Conference announces keynote speakers ahead of Australian event

East Gippsland is gearing up to host the Tenth International Spinach Conference in the first week of May, welcoming around 200 delegates from all over the world.

A bi-annual gathering where participants have the opportunity to learn from the best scientific minds in spinach production from across the world, this is the first time the industry-renowned event has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Incorporated into the award-winning East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days, the combined event program will bring close to 1000 visitors to the region, playing an important role in supporting the area’s recovery from a summer dominated by bushfires.

Photo: Keynote speakers Dr Jim Correll and Dr Lindsey du Toit.

The conference will feature a full day of speaker sessions, and another day of farm visits, complemented by networking activities that showcase the best of East Gippsland’s produce and natural beauty. A wide range of topics will be covered in the conference programme, including value chains, market trends, climate change, technology, food safety, organic farming and research efforts.

Dr Jim Correll from the University of Arkansas will be headlining the conference program with presentations on downy mildew in spinach, race evolutions and emerging pathogens of spinach crops.

“It’s a very unique part of Australia and anybody who attends will find the spinach production in the East Gippsland area to be fascinating, and really enjoy what is on offer in the surrounding areas,” Dr Correll said.

Research plays a vital role in the horticulture industry and one of the world’s leading experts in disease management in vegetable seed crops, Dr Lindsey du Toit will join Dr Correll as one of the keynote speakers at the May event.

A recipient of the Alfred Christianson Distinguished Professorship in Vegetable Seed Science, Dr. du Toit’s research specialty and interests include epidemiology and management of diseases affecting vegetable seed crops, with a particular focus on spinach, brassicas, carrot, onion, radish and table beets. A Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist at Washington State University, Dr du Toit’s presentation will involve a detailed look at Fusarium Oxysporum in spinach seed production and soil treatments.

Delighted to be coming to Australia and speaking at the conference, she is looking forward to connecting with the horticulture industry in Gippsland, as well as growers from other regions around the country.

East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days Director, Andrew Bulmer says all is on track to deliver a great event that showcases what the region produces, whilst attracting the high-profile International Spinach Conference is fantastic for the region and the Australian industry as a whole.

“We have a significant portion of Australia’s leading spinach growers in Gippsland, so to bring an international conference to the region is going to be brilliant for knowledge sharing and overall growth in the sector,” Mr Bulmer said.

For more information: coordinator@egvid.com.au, or phone: +61 417 330 081


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