In 2007 (the most recent figures available), sales of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod ranked sixth in Kansas agricultural sales at $77,031,000. K-State continues to offer workshops and other opportunities that introduce professional and casual gardeners to new technology.
PHOTO: NurseryWorks participants toured Manhattan garden centers Blueville Nursery and Horticultural Services (pictured).
K-State Expertise Draws Visitors to Kansas
Changes in technology and regulations make professional development an important part of any occupation.
To share information and learn new techniques and skills, Kansans and visitors from across the United States and around the world attend conferences hosted by K-State Research and Extension. Those visitors contribute to the Kansas economy through meals, rental cars, gas, hotel rooms, and shopping.
To meet the needs of commercial nursery growers and retail garden center operators, K-State offered NurseryWorks in June 2011. K-State co-chairs Cheryl Boyer, an ornamental nursery crops specialist, and Jason Griffin, director of the John C. Pair Horticultural Center near Derby, asked an advisory committee of nursery operators and Jeff Vogel, program manager for the Plant Protection and Weed Control Program for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, for input.
Boyer and Griffin then developed a program to address their audiences’ needs. The conference drew 94 participants from 13 states.
The conference offered a variety of innovative technology. Those attending the conference used classroom response systems — or clickers — to interact with presenters, and others joined the conference online. Boyer, an avid Twitter and Facebook user, included a session by Meg Cloud, who manages the online presence for Stark Bro’s Garden Center in Louisiana, Mo.
Here are few comments from the evaluations:
- "The most informative conference I have been to in several years."
- "The program was extremely useful and necessary for anyone who is inclined to stay abreast of the most recent and efficient methods of production."
- "Great opportunity to network in the industry."
- "Even if you only attend online, you will get the best information from the latest researcher to enhance your performance. Everyone needs to get their 'battery' recharged. This is one of the best values in the industry."
Griffin added, "Participants also were able to earn up to 8.5 hours of International Society of Arboriculture continuing education units, as well as four hours of Kansas Pesticide Applicator training credits."
NurseryWorks received an innovative program award for noncredit programs from the central region of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association. Go to the conference site www.ksu.edu/nurseryworks
to view an audio slide story and conference information.
K-State faculty are active in various professional organizations that conduct annual conferences. For example, K-State hosted the Association of Meat Science’s Reciprocal Meat Conference for the third time. A record 758 attended the 2011 four-day conference. Attendees spent more than $42,000 for meals in the K-State Student Union alone. The Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the average conference visitor spends $157 per day.
In August, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents met in Overland Park. Nearly 2,600 rooms were booked for participants, exhibitors, and staff at the four-day conference.
Scientists from 13 countries and 12 states attended the Fusarium Workshop
, which is held in Manhattan every other summer. The alternate year is held outside the United States. Fusarium are fungi that can produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. For more information, go to www.ksre.ksu.edu/fusarium.