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August 13 through August 16, 2017
University of Georgia Tifton Conference Center
Tifton, Georgia

The 108th Annual Conference of the Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) will be held jointly with the North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX).

The conference will be held at the University of Georgia Tifton Conference Center, 15 RDC Road, Tifton, Georgia 31793-5766, from Sunday, August 13 through Wednesday, August 16, 2017. This conference is open to all people with an interest in nut and fruit trees. Registration and payments will be through the NAFEX/NNGA Annual Conference Registrar, Jerry Lehman.

The NNGA Board of Directors will meet on Sunday, 9:30 AM, August 13 at the Country Inn and Suites, 310 South Virginia Avenue, Tifton, GA 31794, (tel. 229) 382 – 8100. The time and place of the NAFEX Board of Directors meeting is not available at this time.

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, perhaps even other countries. We will have a welcome reception and dinner from 5:30 PM to 6:45 PM, followed by the ever-popular Show-and-Tell session from 7:00 PM 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 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.


The cost for participants is $77 for current members of the North American Fruit Explorers or the Northern Nut Growers Association, including a free one-year on-line membership through December 31, 2017 in the other organization. The fee for non-members is $87, with a free one year 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 or obtain a printed registration form at Or you can mail this registration form in this Nutshell to the Conference Registrar, Jerry Lehman, 7780 South Persimmon Street, Terre Haute, IN 47802-4994. Checks or money orders should be made payable to “2017 NAFEX/NNGA Conference”. You can also request an invoice from Jerry Lehman at if you need it for verification.

Special Events

Sunday, August 13

  • 2:30 PM - NAFEx Board of Directors Meeting at the conference center.
  • 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM Welcome dinner: chipped barbecue and grilled chicken or vegetarian option; $16.00 per person.
  • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Show & Tell on Sunday evening. Free.

Monday, August 14

  • 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM fish dinner, two different kinds of fish, Southern style or vegetarian option; $17.50 per person.
  • 7:00 PM – 9:00 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 PM 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”, below)


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 transporting us to and from the conference center. We can also car pool – a great way to meet new nut and fruit growers.

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). 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 NNGA Website at


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 – 8520, $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

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


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 Programs

Technical presentations will be given on Monday and Tuesday beginning at 9:00 AM on both days. As of the beginning of March, we have confirmed speakers on the following topics:


Biological control for pecan insects and mites; scab resistant pecan cultivars; pecan marketing in Georgia; cultural practices for pecan; flowering of hazelnuts; hazelnut breeding; an update on the Eastern Filbert Blight; tapping black walnut for sap; Thousand Canker Disease of black walnut in the Midwest and in Utah; nut tree planting in Tennessee and North Carolina; chestnut


Historic orchards and old fruit trees; muscadine grapes; pawpaw culture; pawpaw insects and diseases; commercializing American persimmon; peaches; blueberries; jujube; grapefruit and satsuma; stevia as a profitable intercrop; in vitro propagation; mulberries

Other topics

Georgia Gleaning Project; farm markets; the energy efficient Farmhouse of the Future

A list of the speakers and the title of their presentations will appear on the NNGA Website at as the program develops.


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

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

If you are traveling on the bus, the fee is $34.00, per person, which includes lunch at Fort Valley State University and cold drinks and snacks on the tour.

If you are following in a car, the fee is $21.00 per person. The price also includes lunch, snacks, and cold drinks.

Show and Tell

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, (914) 282 – 1371.


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.


Exhibits that relate to growing, processing, or selling nuts, 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

Group Photo


Getting to Tifton

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


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.


© North American Fruit Explorers