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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA News Release

Chestnut production workshops to take current and prospective growers and educators through year of growing, harvesting and marketing

January 31, 2011

Source: Mike Gold, 573-884-1448

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Chinese chestnuts are a growing industry in Missouri but there’s still a lot to be learned about both the trees and the market.

The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri has pioneered growing Chinese chestnuts in Missouri and will teach others what they’ve learned through four workshops offered at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin, throughout 2011.

About 60 landowners have gone through the workshop series the past two years and post-workshop feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Attendees rated the workshops, on average, either “excellent” (90 percent) or “good” (10 percent) in surveys administered after the final meeting.

Current growers, prospective growers, extension agents and FFA instructors and students are invited to attend the 2011 workshops to learn more about the chestnut industry.

“A one-acre orchard of 50 well-managed, grafted Chinese chestnut trees can gross between $4,000 and $7,000 wholesale and about $10,000 retail within 10-12 years and provide growers with supplemental income,” said Mike Gold, associate director of The Center. “We feel this crop will be of interest to many Missouri growers and is part of the future of specialty crop farming in Missouri. Growing chestnuts is an excellent way to diversify your farm income.”

Gold recommends interested participants sign up for the full course of four sessions – attendees will be taken through the entire growing season and learn about establishing and caring for trees, in addition to harvesting, cleaning and marketing the nuts. The workshops will occur throughout the year, covering topics relevant to the time of the growing season.

Course dates and topics are as follows (all sessions are on Tuesday):

  • Tuesday, March 22: Site selection, planting, grafting planning and pruning;
  • Tuesday, May 3: Grafting;
  • Tuesday, Aug. 16: Orchard maintenance, weed control, insect scouting and pest management, and disease control;
  • Tuesday, Sept. 13: Chestnut harvest, marketing and sales.

MU instructors include Gold; Ken Hunt, research scientist, forestry; Mark Coggeshall, research assistant professor of forestry; and Michele Warmund, professor of plant sciences. Outside experts and veteran growers will be brought in for individual courses when applicable.

Previous workshop series were supported by a Missouri Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, which has ended. For 2011, workshop fees will be $75 per session or $300 for the entire course. The fee includes educational materials and lunch. A minimum of 10 participants for each course is needed for the workshops to be offered. The event confirmation date will be March 15, so sign up today!

For workshop details contact Gold at 573-884-1448 or; contact Julie Rhoads at 573-882-3234 or to reserve your place for individual workshops or book all four in advance (recommended).

Learn more about the Center and Chinese chestnuts at

Michelle Hall
Senior Information Specialist
Center for Agroforestry
University of Missouri
Phone: 573-882-9866

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