US: Plug & Cutting conference draws international attendance

AmericanHort’s grower conference Plug & Cutting drew an international audience – Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Attendees gathered in Carlsbad, California for the event September 19-21 and ranged from mid-level to high-experience growers.

The full-scale event included a Grower Tour, Bio-Control Workshop, 32 educational sessions, and a sold-out trade show. From the 300+ attendees, the big discussions settled on key topics including networking, labor demands, breeding and genetics, and patenting. One attendee was overheard as commenting that the networking opportunities with some of the industry’s “big players” alone made the entire experience invaluable.

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 who ranged 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.

There wasn’t a seat left on the Grower Tour showcasing 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. Even one takeaway from these leaders would’ve paid for the trip, but these businesses went above and beyond and offered countless tips and tricks, maximizing the ROI.

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,” commented Ken Fisher, AmericanHort CEO. He added, “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.”

Plug and Cutting is a bi-annual event to be hosted again in 2018. The AmericanHort team is already seeking the perfect location and best lineup of speakers to continue the trend of this quality conference. Have a suggestion? Contact Gina Zirkle at or 614-487-1117.

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