Missouri Western State UniversityFulkerson Conference Center
4525 Downs Dr
St. Joseph, MO 64507

Join us for the 27th Annual Great Plains Growers Conference, a premier gathering for vegetable and fruit producers! Over two enriching days, delve into the latest trends, cutting-edge practices, and industry insights. Whether you're a seasoned grower or just starting, our expert speakers and interactive sessions will equip you with knowledge to optimize your harvests. Extend your experience with a bonus day of pre-conference workshops, offering hands-on learning opportunities. Don't miss this opportunity to cultivate success in the heart of agriculture. 

The conference and trade show is a collaborative effort led by University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and Research, Iowa State University Extension, Kansas State University Research and Extension, Nebraska Extension and South Dakota State University Extension. Last year the conference drew over 400 producers and exhibitors from 14+ Midwest states.

On Thursday January 11th, the conference kicks off with five daylong workshops, including “Agritourism”, “Beekeeping”, “Specialty Corn”, “Farm to School Grower Training” and "Worker Protection Standards/Produce Safety". The specialty corn workshop has been approved to offer attendees 5 CEUs.

Concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday January 12th and 13th provide a total of over 60 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, business development & marketing, cut flowers, forest farming, greenhouse/hydroponics and high tunnels. Research update will be included in all tracks. 

Friday also features keynote speaker Karen "Mimo" Davis, who's gift of growing great tuberose, ranunculus and lisianthus is matched only by her talents as a teacher. Through her work with Extension and as a Regional Director of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Farmers, Mimo shares her vast horticultural knowledge with other growers and new flower farmers from across the country. Prior to founding Urban Buds with Miranda, Mimo operated Wild Thang Farms for more than a decade. Located in Ashland, Missouri, her farm was considered the largest cut flower farm in the state at that time. She also worked at the Missouri Wildflowers Nursery where she specialized in native plants. Before finding her true calling as a flower farmer, Mimo’s first career was as a social worker in New York City. While her life in the Big Apple is far behind her, Mimo still knows and appreciates the emotional healing power of flowers. Mimo holds a Master’s Degree in Horticulture from North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro, North Carolina (2008).

Great Plains attendees also enjoy a large trade show featuring 30+ Midwest regional grow related exhibitors. The conference is accepting vendors, table top displays and track sponsorships, if interested call the Buchanan County Extension Office at (816)279-1691 or email

Registration, which includes meals and breaks, for the Thursday workshops is $70 per person and $70/day per person for Friday and Saturday sessions if registering before Dec. 18, 2023, afterward the price is $85/day per person . Student registration before Dec. 18th is $50.00/day with valid student identification, after it is $65/day per student.

A poster session will feature growers, non-profit organizations, graduate students, as well as research / extension staff featuring relevant work conducted in the Midwest, for the benefit of small- and mid-scale farmers. Anyone submitting a poster and presenting during conference breaks will receive free Friday/Saturday admission. 

A Farm-to-Table Dinner is available as an add-on purchase open to all attendees and guest, with limited seating. Tickets will be $50 per person and the dinner is being held at Belle Epoche, an eclectic restaurant located in downtown St. Joseph. The chef will prepare a farm to table meal for attendees sourcing local ingredients and a casual presentation will be made on the added value such an event can contribute to tourism, agriculture and the local economy.

Grower Innovation Night is held from 6-8:00pm on Friday, January 12th and all conference attendees with tickets are invited to attend. It will be a party with pizza and pop served while a lively competition ensues to highlight growers inventions and determine the top ideas as the winning innovators.


Cost: No fee

Registration is available from the Great Plains Growers Conference website at:

The conference also has a Facebook page with real-time information and updates available at:

Phone assistance in registering for the conference is available by calling: Buchanan County Extension Office at 816-279-1691.

Conference Director - Denice Ferguson at


  • Iowa State University Extension
  • K-State Extension
  • Lincoln University Cooperative Extension
  • South Dakota State University Extension
  • University of Nebraska Extension
U.S. Small Business Administration

The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.  Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance to the SBDC hosting the event.  The Missouri SBDC is a University of Missouri Extension partner.