An international audience of mid-level to highly experienced growers gathered in Carlsbad, CA, for AmericanHort’s Plug & Cutting Conference on September 19-21.
The event included a grower tour, biocontrols workshop, 32 educational sessions, and a sold-out trade show. Major topics of discussions included networking, the new realities of labor, breeding and genetics, and patenting.
Key education areas focused on water management, pest and disease control (with a strong emphasis on biocontrols and IPM strategies), and smart production strategies for great plug quality. Twenty-two states also offered pesticide recertification credits for session attendees. The speaker lineup featured experts in the field, ranging from PhDs who focus intensely on research, to growers with years of unmatched experience in the field. The education track entirely in Spanish was well attended, with participants coming from Mexico and Chile for those sessions alone.
The sold-out Grower Tour included stops at First Step Greenhouses, Plug Connection, and EuroAmerican Propagators, which were all more than accommodating in opening their doors and sharing their strategies. Everything from lean flow efficiency to trials in grafting were seen.
The Hands-On with Biocontrols workshop was also popular. The day-long workshop offered participants the chance to interact with biocontrols and get familiar with best practices for biocontrol management. Industry experts including Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, Ronald Valentin, Paul Koole, Jennifer Bergh Browning, Daniel Peck, PhD, and Debbie Palumbo shared in-depth nuances of biocontrol that ranged from biopesticides, packaging, blowers, and more.
“The event buzzed with positive conversations, beneficial connections, and the latest research results from academic experts,” says Ken Fisher, AmericanHort CEO. “All the right people were there — leading suppliers, cutting-edge wholesalers, and growers with an eye on the future and the need for innovation to get us there as an industry.”
The Plug and Cutting Conference is a biannual event that will be hosted again in 2018.