Schutter, J. L.1; Byers, P.L.2
1Field Specialist in Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension, KIRKSVILLE, MO, 63501
2Field Specialist in Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension, Marshfield, MO, 63501


A series of “Missouri Grown” programs over the past three years has given producers and market gardeners the information they need to add new crops and increase profits for their operations. Since 2016, several workshops for producers, market gardeners and home gardeners were held in northeast region of Missouri. The objective was to teach and provide information on alternative horticulture crops, new varieties, improved production methods and ways to increase farm profits with value-added products. Multiple teaching methods were used because this particular audience is quite diverse. Over the past three years, 414 individuals attended Missouri Grown workshops and tours in northeast Missouri, with 15-40 people in attendance at each workshop, held in various locations. The workshops and tours addressed edible mushroom production, small fruit crops like elderberry, blackberry, raspberry, fruit tree grafting, garlic production, and produce safety. Vegetable farm tours were held during the summer where participants could see how produce was grown in the field and in high tunnels, and how it was harvested, sorted, and marketed. They also saw how a wholesale auction operated. Producers learned and incorporated into their operations concepts about better and more efficient planting methods and irrigation systems, variety selection for higher yields, use of grafted tomatoes, vegetable sorting methods, more efficient packaging and labeling, and better marketing strategies.

In the evaluations, all participants indicated practice changes. Follow-up visits were made to producers on their farms and at the farmers’ markets to see what changes they made and to determine if on-farm profits were increasing. In 2019, two producers sold to a Hy-Vee grocery store, 21 producers were selling to local farmers’ markets, 1 operated on farm produce stand, and 1 operated a u-pick blueberry operation. In the past three years, 80% of the producers who had attended a workshop or tour indicated on evaluations that they added new products to their operations, which helped increase their overall sales. New products included honey, honey-based products, edible mushrooms, hydroponic lettuce, microgreens, Asian vegetables, cut flower bouquets, dried flower arrangements, dried spices, specialty melons and more. Growers reported an increase in sales between $1,000-5,000.

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