Horticultural retailer training set Nov. 7

By CASSANDRA MICKENS / Associate Editor 

NORTH SHELBY — The Alabama Cooperative Extension System will extend its expertise to lawn and garden center managers and employees as part of its Certified Horticultural Retailer Training Program Nov. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Alabama Green Industry Training Center at the North Shelby Library.

The CHR program offers technical training to employees in the home garden and commercial fruit, vegetable, landscape, greenhouse and nursery industries.

“Qualified professionals provide basic and advanced horticultural training directly to employees working at home garden, landscape and retail centers,” said Dr. Ayanava Majumdar, ACES commercial horticulture team leader.

Training topics include nutrient management, pesticide stewardship, conventional production systems, organic cropping systems, landscape horticulture and fire ant management. Majumdar said the CHR program helps retailers better serve customers, adding that retail garden centers are vital to the state’s horticulture industry. According to an ACES economic impact study, lawn and garden centers have more than an estimated $1.67 million impact on Alabama’s economy.

ACES regional extension agent Gary Gray, whose area of responsibility includes Shelby County, said ACES launched the statewide CHR program last year. Next month will mark the second time the program has come to Shelby County.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in it, but it’s small classroom-type setting,” Gray said. “In addition to the topics we’ve outlined, we’ll also provide training for whatever the needs are.”

Gray said the CHR program was born out of discussions between ACES and its industry clientele.

“In this particular industry, especially going into the spring, retailers may be hiring new employees that need this type training,” Gray said. “Our goal is for them to have a good understanding of the products and services they provide for customers.”

Registration for the CHR program is $150 per business covering up to two people. Trainees will earn a certificate and a CHR badge at the program’s completion. Complete registration details are online at www.aces.edu/anr/chr/reg-contact.php.

For more information, call Gray at (334) 539-2128 or Bethany O’Rear at (205) 612-9524.