Plan to Attend the Great Plains Growers Conference
The Great Plains Growers Conference will be held on January 5th , 6th and 7th, 2012 at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University Campus in St. Joseph, Missouri.
"Interesting and useful information will be presented on production and marketing of vegetables, cut flowers and fruit," said Mercedes Taylor-Puckett, Farmers Market and Local Food Coordinator for the Kansas Rural Center. "It doesn't matter if you are an experienced commercial vegetable grower or someone with just a dream about starting to grow and sell produce, there will be something for you," she said.
The conference and trade show is a collaborative effort of growers associations and extension services from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota, and each year draws hundreds of producers from our region and beyond.
On Thursday January 7th, the conference kicks off with five day long workshops that you can choose from. A workshop on high tunnels features presentations by experienced, nationally recognized grower educators, and research and extension specialists from our region. High tunnels provide critical crop protection and season extension. Come and hear the experiences of seven different high tunnel growers plus an update on high tunnel research at Lincoln University.
Also on Thursday four experienced growers will present a day-long Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) mini-school, providing detailed information on all aspects starting and running a CSA for direct marketing farm products.
This year’s conference will feature a Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs)/Food Safety workshop. Come learn what GAPs is all about from an experienced grower and a USDA Program Manager who has been very active in the GAPs program.
A fourth workshop will be for tree fruit growers. Weed management, new fruit tree varieties, white/bitter rot and GAPs and tree fruit will be covered.
The topic for the fifth workshop is the basics of beekeeping in the Midwest. The instructors will cover all about the European honeybee, bee equipment, building, setting up and managing a hive.
Five concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday January 8th and 9th provide a total of over 50 presentations on a wealth of subjects related to organic and conventional crop production, protection, risk management and marketing. In addition to presentations on vegetable production and marketing, there will be tracks on small fruit, tree fruit, cut flowers, beginner and advanced organic, marketing, agritourism and sessions on urban horticulture and community gardens.
“The trade show is a big draw for conference participants” said Tom Fowler, Buchanan County Extension Specialist, “we had 50 booth spaces last year that filled the Fulkerson Conference Center and expect the same this year,” he added.
Registration, which includes meals and breaks, for the Thursday workshops is $50 -$60 depending on the workshop selected and $35/day for Friday and Saturday sessions.
The conference is going to be held at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph, MO. The headquarter hotels are the Ramada Inn, 4016 Frederick, 816-233-6192 or Stoney Creek Inn, 1201 Woodbine 816-901-9600.
A full program, registration information and updated details of the conference can be found at the conference website: http://www.greatplainsgrowers.org for more information about the program and a registration form, contact Katie Cook at cookkm [at] missouri [dot] edu or phone (816) 279-1691.