John G. Strang
Extension Fruit and Vegetable Specialist John Strang has responsibilities in the areas of fruit, vegetables and farmer-to-consumer marketing. A major portion of his program involves supplying county Extension agents and growers with current information and recommendations on the latest in fruit and vegetable production and marketing practices. He works closely with the Kentucky State Horticultural Society, the Kentucky Vineyard Society, the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, and the Kentucky Nut Growers Association. He makes farm visits, conducts grower meetings, writes Extension publications and produces the Fruit Facts newsletter. As the fruit team coordinator of horticulture, plant pathology and entomology, he cooperates with entomology and plant pathology in planning commercial apple orchard programs that are held annually in grower orchards. Additionally, through a number of fruit listserves, we e-mail pest control information to growers on a timely basis. In cooperation with the Ag. Weather Center we have been adapting our apple, pear, peach and grape disease and insect predictive models to be more grower friendly and to run on the 66 automated Mesonet and 20 NWS weather stations across the state. This provides growers more localized pest predictive information, which enhances their disease and insect control. I coordinate the horticulture updates for the Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide, used by 10 midwestern states, and cooperate in updating the Midwest Small Fruit and Grape Spray Guide. In recent years, applied vegetable research has focused on pea, eggplant, turnip, and bell pepper cultivar evaluations. This is very important, since direct marketing has become one of the primary outlets for our growers. It is critical to have excellent tasting, high-quality produce that encourages future consumer purchases. I spend considerable time working with new fruit and vegetable growers, making site visits and providing them with production information to help them make informed decisions. I make most of the arrangements and speaker contacts for our annual Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference, which has grown to an attendance of more than 600.