Henry G. Taber, Professor, Horticulture
Iowa vegetable production has evolved into producers growing multiple crops for primarily a retail market. Technical resources to answer all grower questions are not fully available in Iowa so the extension specialists in the states of SD, NE, KS, MO, and IA teamed up to present a regional two-day winter conference in St. Joseph, MO titled: Great Plains Vegetable Conference. The intended audience included vegetable and small fruit growers from the Midwest region.
To provide a format that would allow exchange of ideas and technical information among growers, extension, and industry representatives from throughout the region. To enhance the opportunity for growers to remain competitive in the regional and thereby increase their income potential.
The two-day conference focused on marketing, small fruit, organic vegetables, risk management, high tunnels, and specialty crops. Also, the traditional crops of sweet corn, tomatoes, and cucurbits were discussed. Four educational tracks were run concurrently to accommodate grower interest in multiple topics. Iowa was responsible for the sweet corn, tomato, and cucurbit tracks. More than 300 growers/potential growers and 28 trade representatives with exhibit booths attended the conference.
An exit survey of participating conference growers indicated they strongly agreed with the following statements: will change production practices (62%); will adopt new marketing strategies (48%); will try a new crop or new market (46%); and 88% of the attendees indicated the dollar value of their horticultural enterprise increased.
130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
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September 28, 2007
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