Lincoln, Neb. — The Great Plains Growers Conference will be held on Jan. 9-11, 2020 at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University Campus in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Over the past 24 years, the conference has grown to include information on organic, greenhouse and conventional fruit and vegetable production, cut flowers, honeybees and new this year – industrial hemp. All this, along with a 50-plus vendor trade show and the opportunity to network with fellow growers.
“It doesn't matter if you are an experienced farmer, brand new to specialty crop production, or someone who is dreaming about growing and selling produce – there will be something for you,” said Sarah Browning, Nebraska Extension educator and co-chair of the 2020 conference.
On Thursday Jan. 9, the conference kicks off with five daylong workshops, including Food Safety (FSMA) Grower Training; Industrial Hemp 101, Honey Bees & Beekeeping, Drip Irrigation and Cultivating Your Legally Resilient Farm.
Concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday Jan. 10 and 11 provide more than 50 presentations on a wealth of subjects. Program tracks include business management and financing; tree and small fruit production; organic, conventional and greenhouse production; invasive species; and cut flower production.
Friday’s keynote address is 3 Steps to a Profitable Farm, by Charlotte Smith founder of 3CowMarketing.com. Charlotte and her husband, Marc Rott, own a seasonal pastured poultry farm located in St. Paul, Oregon, producing a little raw milk, eggs, and poultry. After witnessing one too many small business owner close up shop after being run ragged and still not being able to pay the bills with their sales, she founded 3 Cow Marketing to help others transform their marketing skills and begin to live the life they always dreamed of.
3CowMarketing.com is an online marketing training company helping farmers learn the most current online marketing techniques to grow a successful business. Her book “Farm Marketing from the Heart” is an introduction to the in-depth concepts taught in her twice-annual marketing course.
Due to her dedication to improving the soil, animals and the people who eat their products, in 2016 Charlotte was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in the World in Food and Agriculture by the non-profit, Food Tank.
“The trade show is also a big draw for conference participants” said Tom Fowler, a horticulture extension agent in Buchanan County, Missouri. “We had over 50 booth spaces last year that filled the Fulkerson Conference Center and expect the same or more this year,” Fowler said.
Registration & Lodging
Registration includes meals and break refreshments. Thursday workshops are $60 per person, with the exception of the Thursday Food Safety (FSMA) Grower Training which is $25. Early bird Friday and Saturday registration is $50 per day per person. Discounted registration is available to students with valid student identification, with the exception of the Food Safety Grower Training.
Conference hotels in St. Joseph include:
- Stoney Creek Inn, 1201 Woodbine, (816) 901-9600 or (800) 659-2220
- Drury Inn and Suites, 4213 Frederick, (816) 364-4700 or (800) 325-0720
- Hampton Inn, 3928 Frederick, (816) 390-9300 or (888) 370-0981
A full program, registration information and more information can be found at the website: https://www.greatplainsgrowersconference.org/. More information is also available by contacting Buchanan County Extension at email@example.com or phone (816) 279-1691.
The conference and trade show are a collaborative effort by University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and Research, Iowa State University Extension, Kansas State University Research and Extension, and Nebraska Extension.