The Great Plains Growers Conference will be Jan. 9-11 at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph, Mo. Iowa State University, along with several other Midwest university Extension programs, is one of the partnering co-sponsors.
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. The event includes 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,” says Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and a member of the organizing committee.
On Jan. 9, the conference kicks off with five daylong workshops:
- food safety grower training
- industrial hemp
- honeybees and beekeeping
- drip irrigation
- cultivating your legally resilient farm
Concurrent sessions on Jan. 10-11 offer more than 50 presentations on a variety of subjects, including business management and financing; tree and small fruit production; organic, conventional and greenhouse production; invasive species; and cut-flower production.
Learn online marketing
Jan. 10’s keynote address is “3 Steps to a Profitable Farm,” by Charlotte Smith, founder of 3CowMarketing.com. Smith and her husband, Marc Rott, own a seasonal pastured poultry farm in St. Paul, Ore., producing raw milk, eggs and poultry. After witnessing small-business owners closing up shop and not being able to pay their bills, she founded 3 Cow Marketing to help others transform their marketing skills and begin to live the life they always dreamed of living.
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.
ONLINE MARKETING: Charlotte Smith, of 3 Cow Marketing will be a featured speaker, sharing how farmers can successfully market their homegrown products online.
Her dedication to animals, the people who eat their products, and improving the soil earned Smith the honor of being named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in the World in Food and Agriculture by the nonprofit Food Tank.
Trade show, networking
The trade show will help provide plenty of opportunity for attendees to network. Registration fee for this conference includes meals and refreshments. Jan. 9 workshops are $60 per person, except for the food safety grower training session, which is $25. Early-bird registration for Jan. 10-11 is $50 per day per person. Discounted registration is available to students with valid student identification, except for 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, with registration information and more information, can be found at greatplainsgrowersconference.org. Information is also available by contacting University of Missouri Extension in Buchanan County at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 816-279-1691.
This conference and trade show are collaborative effort by University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and Research, Iowa State University Extension, Kansas State University Extension, and Nebraska Extension.