Lina Rodriguez Salamanca
Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic

Joe Hannan
Extension Commercial Horticulture Specialist

The Great Plains Growers Conference will be held Jan. 9-11, at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University Campus in St. Joseph.

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.

Charlotte Smith.

“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 Joseph M. Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and a member of the organizing committee.

On Jan. 9, the conference kicks off with five daylong workshops, including Food Safety (FSMA) Grower Training; Industrial Hemp 101; Honey Bees and Beekeeping; Drip Irrigation; and Cultivating Your Legally Resilient Farm.

Concurrent sessions on Jan. 10 and 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. 

Keynote speaker

Friday’s keynote address is “3 Steps to a Profitable Farm,” by Charlotte Smith, founder of Smith and her husband, Marc Rott, own a seasonal pastured poultry farm in St. Paul, Oregon, 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. 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.

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.

Registration and lodging

Registration includes meals and 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 More information is also available by contacting the University of Missouri Extension in Buchanan County at, or call 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 and Outreach, Kansas State University Research and Extension, and Nebraska Extension.

Iowa State University Extension & Outreach

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