JOPLIN, Mo. — The Midwest Winter Production Conference will be Monday and Tuesday, February 13 and 14, 2017, at the Continental Banquet Center, 2728 North Rangeline, Joplin. A master class for experienced growers and a top-notched introduction for beginning growers interested in three- or four-season production. Winter production, and extended season production in the spring and fall, have become increasingly important sources of revenue for Missouri farmers. Off-season production is also essential for year-round markets and their customers who want fresh local produce throughout the year. There are currently about 30 winter markets in Missouri including Webb City, Farmers Market of the Ozarks, Greater Springfield, City Market in Kansas City, and Columbia.
The conference will include multiple tracks covering:
- Winter High Tunnel Production – what you should know before jumping in
- Basics of High Tunnels
- Advanced Characteristics of Tunnels, maintenance and innovative heating
- Bed Preparation, Seeding and Record-keeping for Beginners
- Soil Solarization, Flaming, Stale Bedding and Advanced Record-keeping
- Economics of Winter Production and Balancing Summer and Winter Production
- Filling Out Your Table – other crops to supplement winter greens
- Soil Fertility, Coverings, Ventilation, Watering, Temperature Systems, Dataloggers
- In the Hot Seat – presenters evaluate Happy Hollow Farm and Urban Roots Farm
- Pests, Insects and Disease
- Harvesting, Washing and Post-harvest Handling
- Crops Specifics – a deep dive into growing specific crops
- Marketing Your Production
- Farm tour
This conference features national and regional presenters including:
Paul and Sandy Arnold, owners and operators of Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, New York (about 1 hour north of Albany). Some of the “Rock Stars” of winter production, the market is thrilled to have them as our main presenters after four years of invitations! Specializing in winter growing/season extension since 1992, the Arnolds use three large, unheated high tunnels to grow greens all winter and store 24 tons of produce in their environmentally-controlled root cellar. Their farm is completely solar-powered and the farm is certified through Certified Naturally Grown.
Michael Kilpatrick is a farmer, presenter, inventor and blogger who specializes in teaching farmers to make their farms profitable without working 24/7. Prior to relocating to Ohio, Michael owned and managed a highly diversified, year-round vegetable farm. Thanks to systems that he put in place, he was able to work less hours and leave for vacation without having to worry that plants were dying or customers did not get their produce.
Liz Graznak owns and operates Happy Hollow Farms. A year-round operation, the farm supplies veggies, fruits, eggs and flowers through its CSA, the Columbia Farmers Market and to restaurants and grocery stores.
Pre-registration is required and is $50. Additional registrations from the same farm or family are $35 each. Registration at the $50 level includes the just published The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook (a $35 value). Complete conference information is available at webbcityfarmersmarket.com or by calling 417 483-8139.
The Midwest Winter Production Conference is sponsored by the Webb City Farmers Market, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and University of Missouri Extension. It is underwritten by a specialty crops grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
— Webb City Farmers Market
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