Sunday, December 27, 2015

Midwest Winter Production Conference Returns to Webb City Area

The Midwest Winter Production Conference will be Thursday and Friday, January 21 and 22, 2016, at the Continental Banquet Center, 2728 North Rangeline, Joplin.  Aimed at professional and aspiring professional growers interested in three- or four-season production, this is the third reginal conference since 2013 hosted by the Webb City Farmers Market.  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:

·         * High tunnel siting, choices of equipment, costs and returns
·         * Economics and marketing for winter grow leafy greens
·        *  Marketing strategies for winter sales
·        *  Winter storage crop production and economics
·         * Integrated pest control in tunnels
·         * Starting your own plants for winter production - seed selection, crop varieties, seeding time table, cost, quality control
·        *  Adding value and expanding profit through storage crops and dried products
·         * Lacto fermentation of sauerkraut and dill pickles
·         * Garlic – production, storage and marketing
·         * Raspberry production in high tunnels

The conference also includes a Farmer Symposium with top winter producers from winter markets discussing their favorite winter production tools, crops and techniques. The conference will finish with a tour of a local farm operating both heated and unheated high tunnels, as well as a hydroponic lettuce greenhouse.

This conference features national and regional presenters including:  

Dru and Adam Montri operate 17,900 square feet of high tunnels for winter production, as well as farming in the field year-round on their farm in Bath, Michigan, Ten Hens Farm.  They sell their products through a variety of outlets, including farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores and a medium-sized distributor.  Adam is also an outreach specialist in the Michigan State University Department where he works with farmers throughout the state on high tunnel funding, construction, year-round production, marketing, and economics.  Dru is director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association as well as on the board of the Farmers Market Coalition, the national farmers market association, giving her contacts with year-round markets throughout the country.

Patrice Gros operates Foundation Farm, Foundation Farm, a 5-acre USDA certified organic farm which includes three high tunnels in full winter production in Northwest Arkansas.  Go to for a tour of his high tunnel operation taped this month.

Dan Kuebler operates The Salad Garden and sells year-round at local farmers markets and restaurants in Columbia. He has a special interest in lacto fermentation of sauerkraut and dill pickles, including it in his product mix and holding workshops on the processes.

Tammy and Greg Sellmeyer operate two greenhouses & four high tunnels.   They sell at the Columbia and the Fulton Farmers Markets, and have a CSA. Their winter sales include a wide variety of storage crops and dried products from produce raised on their farm.

The Midwest Winter Production Conference is sponsored by the Webb City Farmers Market, Lincoln University Co-operative Extension and University of Missouri Extension.  It is underwritten by a specialty crops grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.  Complete conference information is available at or by calling 417 483-8139.  Pre-registration is required and is $50.  Additional registrations from the same farm or family are $40 each.  Registration at the $50 level includes the publications New Seed Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel and the 2016 Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers.

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