Deadline is fast approaching to enroll for Fruit School 2024

MSU Extension is excited to announce the upcoming Fruit School being held near the MSU campus Feb. 26-208, 2024. The deadline to register is Feb. 9.

Decorative image.
Better science, better fruit. Enroll now for the MSU Fruit School.

Michigan State University Extension is excited to announce the upcoming Fruit School being held near the Michigan State University (MSU) campus Feb. 26-28, 2024. This unique program will use a whole-systems approach to address the complex decisions and biological interactions that occur in small fruit and tree fruit production systems. 

The MSU Fruit School will provide a deeper understanding of the science behind fruit production to empower attendees to apply fundamental information to everyday farm management decisions. This program will give attendees insight on how and why these scientific principles feed into applied management decisions on the farm. The Fruit School will also highlight the interdisciplinary expertise at MSU with presentations from a diverse array of researchers and specialists. A distinctive feature of this event will be a campus tour that will give attendees a firsthand look at the science that supports our fruit industries.

The content covered at the MSU Fruit School is designed to be primarily advanced topics for experienced growers. However, new growers are encouraged to sign up for the optional add-on beginning farmer session on Monday afternoon to help prepare for more in-depth presentations throughout the event that will benefit growers at any level of expertise.

The agenda for Fruit School will be as follows:

  • Monday, Feb. 26 (1-5 p.m.): beginning farmer session (optional add-on)
  • Monday, Feb. 26 (5-7 p.m.): welcome reception
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 (8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.): root to fruit – fundamentals of fruit production through a scientific lens (lunch included with registration)
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 (2-5:30 p.m.): tours of research labs on campus
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 (5:30-8:30 pm.): banquet at Lansing Brewing Company (dinner included with registration)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 28 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.): separate tree fruit or small fruit programs on horticulture and integrated pest management (lunch included with registration)

See detailed agenda at the end of this article.

The event will be held at the Okemos Events Center in Okemos, Michigan, near the MSU campus. Registration is $200 per attendee with an optional $50 additional fee to enroll in the beginning farmer session.

Nine restricted use pesticide (RUP) core credits are available for attending both days. Eleven RUP core credits are available for attending Fruit School and the beginning farmer session.

A block of hotel rooms will be available on the nights of Feb. 26 and 27 at a group block rate of $99 plus tax per night at Best Western. Rooms will be held until Feb. 5. All participants can call the hotel directly at 517-349-8700 and ask for the MSU Fruit School room block rate.

The deadline to register is Feb. 9.

For questions, please email Cheyenne Sloan at

Detailed agenda

Monday, February 26
Time Speaker Talk Title/Topic
1:00 1:45 Cheyenne/Emily Soil Test
1:45 2:30 Keith Mason An Introduction to Weather for Agriculture and the MSU Enviroweather System
2:30 2:40 Break
2:40 3:25 Jackie Scouting For Farmers
3:25 4:10 Erin/Lindsay Spray Program Development
4:10 4:20 Break
4:20 4:50 Cheyenne What Extension Can do For You! 
5:00 7:00 Reception
Tuesday, February 27
Time Root to Fruit: Fundamentals of fruit production through a scientific lens
    Breakfast at hotel
8:15 8:30 Intro
8:30 9:00 Jeff Andresen Changing Climates
9:00 9:30 Emily Lavely/Cheyenne Sloan Soil Management and Plant Nutrition (soil fertility)
9:30 10:00 Meghan Milbrath Maximizing Pollination in Fruit Crops
10:00 10:10 Break
10:10 10:40 Phil Tocco Harvest Hygiene
10:40 11:10 Erin Lizotte History of IPM
11:10 11:40 Catherine Lindell Bird Management Strategies with Special Attention to Netting
11:40 12:40 Lunch (included w/ registration)
12:40 1:10 Julianna Wilson Understanding pesticide modes of action and their relevance to resistance management
1:10 1:40 Erin Burns Integrated Weed Management in Fruit Crops
1:40 2:10 Laura Miles Plant and Pest Diagnostics 
2:10 5:30 Campus tour
5:30 9:00 Dinner at Lansing Brewing (included with registration)
Wednesday, February 28
Time Evolving solutions from bloom to room
    Breakfast at hotel
9:00 9:45 Greg Lang Rootstock Selection
9:45 10:30 Bill Shane Hunting for new peach and nectarine varieties and rootstock for the commercial fruit industry
10:30 10:45 Break
10:45 11:30 Randy Beaudry Post harvest physiology
11:30 12:15 Marianna Szucs Biological Controls of Invasive Species
12:15 1:15 Lunch (included w/ registration)
1:15 2:00 Julianna Wilson Why scouting matters for timing effective interventions against arthropod pests
2:00 2:45 George Sundin Development of antibiotic and fungicide resistance in tree fruit pathogens in Michigan
2:45 3:00 Break
3:00 3:45 Sarah Lebeis Plant-Pathogen Interactions
3:45 4:15 George Sundin Apogee + Actigard
Wednesday, February 28
Time Maintaining Fruit Quality from bud to berry
    Breakfast at hotel
9:15 10:00 Randy Beaudry  Post Harvest Physiology (Maintaining Quality)
10:00 11:15 Josh Vanderweide and Emily Mayhew The science behind blueberry flavor
11:15 11:30 Break
11:30 12:15 Esmaeil Nasrollahiazar An Overview of Grapevine Dormancy and Cold Hardiness Assessment
12:15 1:15 Lunch (included w/ registration)
1:15 2:00 Laura Miles Viruses
2:00 2:45 Tim Miles Fungicide Resistance
2:45 3:00 Break
3:00 3:45 Rufus Isaacs SWD Parasitoids: how did we get here, and where are we going?
3:45 4:30 Mike Reinke The Realities of Emerging Technology on your Farm

Did you find this article useful?