Nov 8, 2021
Disease, pest management highlight 2021 Great Lakes EXPO sessions

After shifting to a virtual EXPO in 2020, the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO and Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo is excited to welcome growers back in-person for the 2021 show. And a return to in-person means a return of the signature education sessions growers have come to know and love. 

In the “Advances in Downy Mildew Control and Greenhouse Disease Recommendations” session, Mary Hausbeck, a campus professor and specialist at Michigan State University (MSU), will dive into the tools and trades growers can implement to help immediately and effectively lesen the risk of loss.

“My goal is to try to explain what’s going on, why it’s happening … and hopefully growers can walk away understanding a bit more about the tools they can implement to ease or lessen that risk,” Hausbeck said. “The pathogen thinks it’s all about them … but knowing what the pathogen needs to do its job is important in understanding what we need to take away.”

Growers can also expect the session to revisit and expound upon some of the questions and observations from sessions in the past.

“We run a tremendous number of research trials each year … testing new strategies, new products, comparing to established protocols, etc.,” Hausbeck said. “There’s information I often pick up through questions and conversations (during the session) where growers tell me what happened over the course of the year … it’s a really good yearly feedback loop.”

In the “Keeping the Weeds at Bay: Recommendations for Greenhouse Weed Control” session, Debalina Saha, an assistant professor at MSU, will be detailing controlling weeds inside greenhouses for ornamental production.

“Greenhouse growers who produce ornamentals are the main target audience for (the session),” Saha said. “Both chemical and nonchemical strategies to control different types of weeds under greenhouse conditions will be discussed.”

Finally, in the “Battling Botrytis in the Greenhouse” session, Nikki Lukasko, a PhD student at MSU, will be presenting growers with information on elusive Botrytis (gray mold), how it spreads in greenhouses and more.

“Attendees will learn how Botrytis spreads, highly susceptible crops and effective disease management practices,” Lukasko said. “(The session) will also include fungicide recommendations and highlight the importance of fungicide rotation in preventing resistance.”

For Hausbeck, a veteran of the EXPO, returning to an in-person event means a return to what most growers and attendees state as their favorite experience — the networking with others.

“I see a lot of camaraderie during the trade shows, in the hallways … a lot of people talking about how the year has gone, and I really enjoy seeing that,” Hausbeck said. “And for me, it’s my opportunity to engage directly with growers and get feedback from that session that I find to be incredibly valuable.”

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO and Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo is excited to welcome attendees back to Grand Rapids in December!

After shifting to a fully virtual format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EXPO is planning a fully in-person event, with every aspect of the event that attendees and exhibitors have come to know and love — from the trade show floor to the signature educational sessions.

The 2021 EXPO is set for Dec. 7-9, 2021, and registration is open now. For information on the 2021 EXPO, registration and educational session details and more, visit

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