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Oklahoma Pecan Course set to begin

By Trisha Gedon

STILLWATER, Okla. (Jan. 22, 2018) – Pecan pie. Pecan roll. Pecan-crusted chicken. Candied pecans. There are many delicious foods made from pecans. But before you can start cooking with them in the kitchen, someone needs to grow and harvest them.

For those who are interested in learning more about what it takes to grow pecans, or for those already in the industry but are looking for an educational opportunity to enhance your operation, enroll now in the 2019 Oklahoma Pecan Management course offered by Oklahoma State University.

The class begins Feb. 26 and runs one Tuesday a month through Oct. 22, with the exception of March and June. Through the course, participants will gain a wealth of research- and science-based information, said Becky Carroll, OSU Cooperative Extension associate specialist, fruit and pecans.

“OSU has been offering this course for more than 20 years and many people from around the region have benefitted from the valuable information we have to offer,” Carroll said. “It’s not required to have prior growing knowledge or experience in order to participate in this course. Our goal is for both current and prospective growers to have classroom and hands-on experiences that provide in-depth knowledge that will help an active producer, as well as beginners.”

The class will meet from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cimarron Valley Research Station, 10820 S. Jardot, near Perkins, Oklahoma.

A registration fee of $250 per person is due by Feb. 13. For more information, please call Stephanie Larimer at 405-744-5404, or email her at stephanie.larimer@okstate.edu. Participants may register online at https://okla.st/2hnlfNx. The class is limited to 70 participants and preregistration is required.

“One thing we do with our teaching material is focus on the prioritization and practical application of major management practices. Everything we teach in the class will coincide with what currently is going on in the pecan growing season,” Carroll said. “The course will combine traditional classroom learning with hands-on experiences, as well as a web-based study component.”

In addition, several industry professionals, along with specialists from OSU and the Noble Research Institute, will be on hand to share their expertise throughout the course.

“The pecan industry is big in Oklahoma and continues to have a positive impact throughout the state, especially on our economy. Oklahoma’s pecan harvest averages about 18 million pounds each year,” she said. “We continue to receive positive feedback from participants who say the information they receive is very beneficial to their operations.”

Each of the monthly workshops will cover subjects dealing with pecan management during that particular part of the growing season. The course will begin with site selection, equipment needs, planting a bareroot tree, starting rootstock trees and insect management.

Throughout the course, other topics will include pruning and training, sprayer calibration and maintenance, Mesonet tools, improving native groves, weed control, crop load estimates, insect management, alternate bearing, business plans and marketing, pesticide applicators licensing, wildlife control, harvest demonstrations and much more.

“This course is a great way for those already in the pecan industry, as well as those who are just beginning the journey, to make the most of their production efforts or to get started,” Carroll said. “The industry specialists we have on hand to share their knowledge are top-notch and have many years of experience with all aspects of pecan growing.”

Participants have the option to attend the Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association annual meeting slated June 12 at the Ardmore Convention Center, Ardmore, Oklahoma, since there is no workshop scheduled that month. The fee for attending this meeting is not included in the registration fee for the 2019 Pecan Management course.

Those who would like more information about the OPGA may visit the group’s website at okpecangrowers.com. For more information about pecans, visit okpecans.okstate.edu.

Story by Trisha Gedon

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