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Nut and Fruit Growing Conference

August 13, 2017 - August 16, 2017


The North American Fruit Explorers and the Northern Nut Growers Association have brought together experts in the field of nut and fruit cultivation for this conference.

Learn the best cultivation techniques for traditional crops grown in the Southeastern U.S. and find out about new fruits and nuts that will grow well on your farm or in your backyard.

For full details see


The 108th Annual Conference of the Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) will be held jointly with the North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX) from Sunday, August 13 through August 16, 2017 at the University of Georgia, Tifton Conference Center, 15 RDC Road, Tifton Georgia 31793-5766. This conference is open to all people with an interest in nut trees. Registration and payments will be through the NAFEX / NNGA Conference Registrar, Jerry Lehman.

The NNGA Board of Directors will meet 9:30 AM on Sunday, August 13 at the Country Inn and Suites, 310 South Virginia Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794, tel. (229) 382-8100.

The NAFEX Board of Directors will meet 2:00 PM on Sunday, August 13 at the Conference Center, 15 RDC Road, Tifton Georgia 31793-5766.

Distribution of the registration packages will begin Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM at the Conference Center. Meet old friends and extend a hand to people from all around the United States and Canada, and perhaps other countries. We will have a welcome reception and dinner from 5:30 till 6:45 PM followed by the ever-popular Show-and-Tell session from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.

The technical presentations will be given on Monday and Tuesday mornings, August 14 and August 15, beginning at 9:00 AM. Get ready to bid and have fun at the NNGA Research Fund Auction, which will be held at 7:00 PM on Monday evening. The Tuesday evening dinner at 6:30 PM will feature a Georgia-on-My-Mind buffet, along with entertainment, followed by the conclusion of the business meetings of NNGA and NAFEX. On Wednesday we will travel with buses or cars to an all day tour of the University of Georgia’s experimental orchards, Fort Valley State University, the USDA station in Byron, and Ellis Pecans in Vienna. Dinner will be at the beautiful Horse Creek Winery, where local wines can be sampled.

Read on for details on all aspects of the meeting or click a link above for information about a particular aspect of the Annual Meeting.


There is much to do in Tifton: Enjoy live stage comedy in the Tiff Theater for the Performing Arts, browse in antique shops, lunch in a downtown cafe.

to learn about activities in Tifton.


The cost for participants is $77 for current members of the North American Fruit Explorers or the Northern Nut Growers Association, including a free on-line membership through December 31, 2017 in the other organization. The fee for non-members is $87, with a free on-line through December 31, 2017 membership in both organizations.

There is a $2.00 charge for those accompanying the participant. The $2.00 charge does not apply to children under 18.

You can register ON-LINE at 2017ppconferenceregisration.htm or click PRINTABLE REGISTRATION FORM to make payment by postal mail. A check or money order made payable to “2017 NAFEX/NNGA Conference” must be sent with the registration form to the address on the form.

You may request an invoice from Jerry Lehman at if you need it for verification.


Sunday, August 13, 5:30 – 6:45 PM – Welcome dinner: chipped barbecue and grilled chicken or vegetarian option; $16.00 per person.

Sunday, August 13, 7:00 – 9:00 PM -Show & Tell on Sunday evening. Free.
This is a very valuable, informal program that is only made possible by those with valuable experience and the willingness to share with the group.

Monday, August 14, 5:30 – 9:00 PM – Fish dinner, two different kinds of fish, Southern style or vegetarian option. $17.50 per person.

Monday, August 14, 7:00 PM – 9 PM – NAFEX/NNGA Auction. Free, but bring your checkbook and credit card! (We accept cash, of course!) It’s a fun evening! Proceeds go to the NNGA Research Fund and the NAFEX Conference Fund.

Tuesday, August 15, 6:30 to 9:00 PM – Banquet with cash bar and entertainment. Introduction of those in attendance by state or province and country. Choosing next year’s “Big Nut.” Afterwards there will be elections, and conclusion of the NNGA and NAFEX business meetings. The cost for the “Georgia on My Mind” banquet is $21.00 per person. A vegetarian option is available for dinner.

Wednesday, August 16 – Full day tour and dinner at the Horse Creek Winery (See tour details below.)


Wednesday, August 16, 8:00 AM – Fruit and Nut Grower Tour

If you are traveling on the bus, the cost is $34.00 per person, which includes lunch at Fort Valley State University and cold drinks and snacks on the tour. The Bus has a bathroom, DVD Hook Up and Wi-Fi.
The cost for those following the buses in their own car is $21.00 per person which includes lunch, snacks and cold drinks.

Here is the schedule for our all-day tour on Wednesday, August 16:
9:00 to 10:30 University of Georgia experimental fields and Future Farmstead
10:30 to 11:30 travel to Fort Valley State University (FVSU)
11:30 to 12:15 lunch at the FVSU campus
12:15 to 1:45 tour of the FVSU plantings
1:45 to 2:00 travel to the USDA station in Byron
2:00 to 3:30 tour of the USDA plantings and their lab
3:30 to 4:00 travel to Ellis Brothers Pecans in Vienna
4:00 to 5:00 tour Ellis Pecan orchards and gift shop
5:00 to 5:30 travel to Horse Creek Winery in Sparks
5:30 to 7:30 dinner and wine sampling – The price for dinner at the Horse Creek Winery is $17.00 per person with a vegetarian option; beer and wine may be purchased separately. The cost to sample local wines is $6.00, which includes a souvenir glass.
7:30 to 8:00 return to Tifton

CAP ACTIVITIES – CAP stands for the Companions Alternate Program. These events are for those accompanying the conference participants but not attending the presentations on Monday and Tuesday, (such as spouses, children or friends).

Monday, August 14 – Tuesday, August 15 – The NAFEX/NNGA Conference Committee is coordinating with the Tifton Chamber of Commerce and the Office of Tifton Tourism to plan for several exciting side trips in and around Tifton. Most of these events will be free or have a small service charge. A fuller list of these events will appear on the this Website at a later date.


We will have the dinners catered at the Conference Center on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (See above for times, meals, and cost.)

You may also eat at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) which is across the road from the University of Georgia Tifton Conference Center. We will have access to their cafeteria for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Monday and Tuesday. There is a one price policy for all meals, and you can get your food, including a variety of vegetarian options, from a large number of stations in the cafeteria. Next to the college dining room you can order a slice of pizza or a Subway sandwich. It is about a ten minute walk from the conference center to the ABAC dining hall- but the weather will be hot, so it’s better to drive there. ABAC students will help transport us to and from the conference center. We can also car pool – a great way to meet new nut and fruit growers.


Blocks of rooms have been reserved at a discount for the conference at the following hotels. Let them know that you are attending the NAFEX/NNGA Conference to receive the discounted price. If you are willing to share a room with others to keep your expenses down contact Jerry Henkin, Chair of the Annual Meeting Committee, (914) 282 – 1371,

Country Inn & Suites, 310 South Virginia Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794, (229) 382 – 8100, $85.00 per night

Comfort Inn & Suites, 320 South Virginia Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794, (229) 382 – 8250, $85.00 per night (Both of the above hotels have full hot breakfast included in the price.)

Days Inn & Suites, 1240 Hwy. 82, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 382 – 8500, $65.00 per night
(A cold breakfast is included in the price.)

Other lodging options are:

Hotels and Motels:
Carson Motel, 309 7th St West, Tifton, Georgia 31794 (229) 382-3111
Hampton Inn and Suites, 720 U.S. Hwy 319 South, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 844-850-7337
Hilton Garden Inn, Address: 201 Boo Drive, Tifton, GA 31793 (229) 382-8484
Holiday Inn Express, 814 7th St W, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 382-3300
Howard Johnson, Tifton, 579 Old Omega Rd, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 388-8777
Town Terrace Motel, 308 W 12th St, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 382-4466

RV Campgrounds:
Amy’s South Georgia RV Park, 4632 Union Rd, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 386-8441
Pines RV Park, 8 Casseta Rd, Tifton, GA 31793 (229) 382-3500
Tifton KOA 4632 Union Rd, Tifton, GA 31794 (229) 386-8441


Parking is free.


The phone number at the University of Georgia Tifton Conference Center is (229) 386 -3416. For 24 hour emergencies, give the phone number for your hotel.


Technical presentations will be given on Monday and Tuesday.

A list of the speakers and the title of their presentations is now available. Note that on Monday, August 14, there are two sets of presentations taking place at the same time. Click HERE for a printable speaker program.

It is possible that there can be some changes in time slots or change of speaker or presentation title. If you are not on our Conference notification list, send email to with the subject “2017NAFEX / NNGA Conference” and we will let you know if and when the technical program is updated.


Details not yet available.


On Monday evening we will hold the annual auction. This event is always fun. Your donations to the auction will add variety and generate enthusiasm for the cause of growing and studying nut and fruit trees. Handmade products are always welcome because they are unique. This is an excellent way to advertise your nursery or product. Gift certificates, bags of nuts or treats, tools, antiques, art works, and fruit or nut trees are all fine donations for the auction.

This year you can indicate whether you would like the proceeds of your donation to go to the NNGA Research Fund, the NAFEX Conference Fund, or split between the two organizations. As 501 (c) (3) organizations, your donations and purchases are tax deductible.

Items for the auction can be dropped off at the registration desk on Sunday and Monday. They can also be shipped to Karen McBrayer, Senior Event Coordinator, University of Georgia Tifton Conference Center, 15 RDC Road, Tifton, Georgia 31793 so that they arrive between August 1 and August 10. Please write “NAFEX/NNGA Conference” on the container.


The ever-popular Show and Tell will be held on Sunday evening. We are looking for individuals who have tried new equipment or techniques, or have grown promising selections or cultivars. Could you tell us about some recent success, or share your experiences to help others avoid a failure? This is a very valuable, informal program that is only made possible by those with valuable experience and the willingness to share with the group. This will be held after our Welcome Picnic on Sunday evening. If you would like to participate in Show and Tell, or have questions, contact Jerry Henkin at or at (914) 282 – 1371.


Exhibits that relate to growing, processing, or selling nuts or fruit, scion wood, trees, tools, nutcrackers, displays, etc. are welcome. Exhibit spaces are $85 for NAFEX or NNGA members; $125 for non-members. If electricity is needed, there is an additional cost of $30.00. Contact Jerry Henkin at if you need exhibit space or need to send your items before you arrive.


To be announced.


Tifton is in southern Georgia. The closest airports to Tifton, Georgia are located in Albany and Valdosta. Car rentals are available at these locations. A taxi service from the airport to Tifton is available. Contact Grab-A-Cab (229) 382 – 2600.

Let Jerry Henkin know if you’d like to car pool to save money: call (914) 282 – 1371; e-mail If you will not be arriving at the conference by car, or renting one at an airport, we have arranged for discounted taxi rides to Tifton from the airports in Atlanta and Albany. Call or email Jerry Henkin for information about these travel options.


Typical weather in southeast Georgia in mid-August can be summed up in one word-hot. But we’ll be indoors for most of the time with air conditioning.


August 13, 2017
August 16, 2017
Event Category:


Northern Nut Growers Association


UGA TIfton Conference Center
15 RDC Rd
Tifton, GA 31794 United States
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