With 2020 designated the International Year of Plant Health, biosecurity will be taking centre stage at Contact Conference, sponsored by ICL, which takes place on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 January 2020 at Horticulture House, Chilton.  

Aimed at all those working across the nursery sector, the event focusses on plant health, trends, best practice, technology and maximising the grower/retailer relationship. It provides a great opportunity to get together with industry peers at the start of the year.

UK Chief Plant Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spence, will be providing the latest update on plant health along with news from DEFRA on International Year of Plant Health activities. This will be followed by an insight into the BRIGIT Project from Dr. Gerard Clover. The project takes a multi-disciplinary approach to building UK capability to reduce the chance of Xylella being introduced and becoming established in the UK. 

The programme also includes case studies from Bransford Webbs, Porters Fuchsias and Modiform, highlighting best practice from within the Nursery Working Group. Rebecca Grant, Joseph Rochford Gardens and Chair of British Ornamental Plant Producers (BOPP), will give an insight into Horticultural Quality Standards, and the certification scheme that BOPP facilitates.

On day two of the conference topics will include Integrated Pest Management from Koppert Biological, and engaging the younger generation from Martin Emmett, Chair of the HTA Ornamentals Committee and member of the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable working group on education and employment.

Commenting on the day, Martin said, “With Plant Health needing to be on the top of everyone’s agenda for the foreseeable future, Contact Conference provides the horticultural industry with the perfect sounding board to find out about the major upcoming issues, and pose your questions to the people who are in the know.”

He adds, “I will be discussing issues such as how labour will be in short supply for the foreseeable future; so it is imperative that we develop the best systems to recruit, train and retain staff within our businesses. It is also more important than ever that we work collectively as a sector to widen our appeal to potential employees and demonstrate the potential for good careers in our industry.”

HTA Contact Conference combines a day and a half conference programme with a networking dinner and overnight stay. The conference will be hosted at HTA’s Horticulture House in Oxfordshire, with accommodation and dinner at the nearby Milton Hill Hotel.  HTA Horticulture Manager Pippa Greenwood will provide the after-dinner talk providing a light-hearted look at her garden media career.

This event is open to all businesses and costs £299 for HTA members to attend (£499 for non-members). For more information visit www.hta.org.uk/contactconference or email events@hta.org.uk.

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