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Horticulture Club Hosts Regional Competition

MACHS Conference participants at NDSU
 
MACHS Conference participants at NDSU
The NDSU Horticulture and Forestry Club hosted a successful Mid America Collegiate Horticulture Society conference on campus in early October. Conference activities included competitions, tours, a guest speaker, and awards ceremony.

The NDSU Horticulture and Forestry Club hosted the Mid America Collegiate Horticulture Society (MACHS) conference and competition the first weekend in October. A total of 55 students from six universities attended, competing in Woody and Herbaceous Plant Identification, Plant and Produce Judging, and a General Knowledge Exam. South Dakota State University took 1st place as overall team, 2nd place came out in a tie between the University of Minnesota Crookston and Iowa State University, and 3rd place went to the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Because the host school designs the competitions, NDSU students did not compete.

Tours of several area horticultural research and production sites were also on the agenda. Conference participants toured the NDSU AES Greenhouse Complex, the NDSU Horticulture Research Farm and Dale E. Herman Research Arboretum, Bergen’s Greenhouses in Detroit Lakes, MN, and Bluebird Gardens in Fergus Falls, MN.

At the NDSU Horticulture Research Farm and Dale E. Herman Research Arboretum, Dr. Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, professor and high value crops project leader, and Dr. Todd West, associate professor and woody plant improvement project leader, described their current research and led the group on a tour of their projects. In addition, a short career talk was given by representatives of The Davey Tree Expert Company, Kent, Ohio, and Brickman Landscaping, Rockville, Maryland. Hatterman-Valenti and West serve as advisers to the NDSU Horticulture and Forestry Club.

Bergen’s Greenhouses owner Chris Bergen led the tour of their Detroit Lakes location, where they were in full poinsettia production. The company has a second location in Columbus, MN.

Bluebird Gardens owner Mark Boen led the tour of their farm. The vegetable farm raises and sells fresh produce direct to consumers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a system where individuals become members of the farm by purchasing shares, and in return, they receive produce throughout the growing season.

The conference wrapped up with an awards ceremony, featuring guest speaker Dr. Ron Smith, NDSU Professor Emeritus Extension Horticulturist. Smith provided a summary of his experiences with northern horticulture.

The MACHS organization is a branch of the Association of Collegiate Branches (ACB) within the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS). The MACHS is comprised of horticulture clubs from universities and two-year colleges in Midwest Region states including Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and  Wisconsin. Every fall, the MACHS conference is held at a different host school, bringing together some of the best and brightest horticultural programs in the nation.

Source: NDSU Horticulture and Forestry Club
Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123, kamie.a.beeson@ndsu.edu

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