The Great Plains Growers Conference will be held on Jan. 11-13, 2018 at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University Campus in St. Joseph, MO.
“Grower tested and research-based information on optimizing your production of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms are the highlights of this conference, as well as a full day of great information on honeybee management,” said Dr. Touria Eaton, chair of the planning committee of the 2018 Great Plains Growers Conference. “It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced grower or someone with a dream about starting to grow and sell produce, there will be something for you,” Eaton said.
The conference and trade show is 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. Last year the conference drew over 500 producers and exhibitors from 22 states.
On Thursday, Jan. 11, the conference kicks off with five daylong workshops, including Cover Crops and Soil Health; Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Grower Training; Hops Potential; Reducing Food Losses; and Honeybee Management.
Concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday Jan. 12 and 13 provide a total of over 50 presentations on a wealth of subjects. In addition to presentations on conventional and organic vegetable production, there will be tracks on tree & small fruit production, beginning & advance organic production, season extension, greenhouse and hydroponics, cut flowers and farm to school program.
Friday also features keynote speaker Dr. John Ikerd, author of “Sustainable Capitalism”, “A Return to Common Sense” and “Small Farms are Real Farms”. Dr. Ikerd is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics. He was raised on a small farm in southwest Missouri and received his BS, MS and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry for a time and spent 30 years in various professorial positions at four different state universities before retiring in early 2000. Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues related to sustainability with an emphasis on agriculture and economics.
“The trade show is also a big draw for conference participants” said Tom Fowler, Buchanan County Horticulture Extension Specialist. “We had over 50 booth spaces last year that filled the Fulkerson Conference Center and expect the same or more this year,” he added.
Registration, which includes meals and breaks, for the Thursday workshops is $55 per person and $45/day per person for Friday and Saturday sessions. Student registration is $25/day with valid student identification.
The conference is going to be held at the Fulkerson Conference Center on the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph, MO.
Headquarter hotels include:

  • Stoney Creek Inn, 1201 Woodbine, 816-901-9600
  • Drury Inn and Suites, 4213 Frederick, 800-325-0720
  • Hampton Inn, 3928 Frederick, 888-370-0981

A full program, registration information and updated details of the conference can be found at the conference website at For more information about the program and a registration form, contact Buchanan County Extension at or phone 816-279-1691.