ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Registration is open for the 20th annual Great Plains Growers Conference, Jan. 7-9, 2016, at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. Extension educators from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota will offer workshops for horticulture producers.

The event is open to the public and covers topics to interest backyard gardeners as well as commercial produce growers, said Tim Baker, University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist. “Topics cover not only vegetables but also tree fruits, small fruits and flowers. There also are presentations targeted toward organic growers.”

Workshops cover greenhouse and hydroponic production, cover crops and soil health, scaling up your horticultural enterprise, and mushrooms.

Larry Connor will present a Thursday workshop on beekeeping. Connor was an extension agricultural entomologist with Ohio State University and ran a bee breeding program in Florida. He owns Wicwas Press, a publisher of books on beekeeping.

Connor will discuss problem recognition with bees, queen management in hives, queen rearing, and plants attractive to bees for nectar and pollen, and other topics.

Keynote speaker on Friday is Anthony Flaccavento, an organic farmer from Virginia.

There will be five concurrent tracks to choose from on Friday: Market Ready, Tree Fruit, Beginning Organic, Vegetable IPM (integrated pest management), and a “mixed bag” track covering technology, equipment and irrigation, Baker said.

On Saturday, concurrent sessions will cover Small Fruit, Advanced Organic, Vegetable Production, Cut Flowers and Food Safety/Good Agricultural Practices.

There will be exhibitors for seeds, irrigation, horticulture equipment, chemicals and more. Meals, refreshments and handouts are included in the conference registration fee.

For more information, call MU Extension in Buchanan County at 816-279-1691. You may also register online and find more information at

MU Extension, Lincoln University, University of Nebraska, South Dakota State University Extension, Kansas State University Research and Extension, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach sponsor the event.

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