Dec 16, 2019
Jan. 8-10 dates for Illinois Specialty Crop Conference in Springfield

Have you registered for the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference (ISCC) on Jan. 8-10? Don’t miss your chance to attend this one of a kind event that will bring local farmers, organizations, and businesses together to network and help build the needed infrastructure for a long-lasting marketplace for farmers in Illinois.

This engaging three-day conference is hosted by Illinois Specialty Growers Association in partnership with Illinois Farm Bureau, University of Illinois, and Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Whether you’re a farmer, distributor, or simply someone who loves to eat, you are part of farming. You want your part to grow. Illinois Specialty Growers Association wants you to not just grow but thrive. Specialty crop and small-scale farmers face unique challenges and markets. Workshops and training opportunities allow you the chance to hear about emerging crop disease, better understand crop management, gain new skills, expand business, and connect with others facing similar challenges. Our ISCC conference will help you learn how to increase profits, develop a sustainable business, and grow market demand to build long-lasting family farms.

Did you know that our ISGA General Membership and our exclusive member conference price is cheaper than a full-price conference fee? That’s right, we want to take this opportunity to connect you to our community so join ISGA today and save on your conference registration! Attendees and ISGA members gain exclusive password protected website access to conference presentations and materials!


  • Pre-conference workshops, including: Pumpkin Production, Cut Flowers, Protected Culture and Hemp
  • Produce Safety Training Workshop. This workshop will satisfy the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Registration deadline for the FSMA Workshop is Dec. 20, 2019. Seating is limited. Certification and manual included in $50 registration.
  • Keynote Speakers: Janice Person, JPlovesCOTTON, LLC and Hugh McPherson, Maze Master
  • Vibrant Trade Show with over 60 vendors
  • The 31st annual Apple Cider Contest and 18th annual Hard Cider Contest
  • Thursday evening ticketed dinner banquet featuring speaker Ken Myszka from Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group
  • Event networking event for our young and beginner farmers
  • ISGA Annual Meeting held on Friday from 12:00-1:00p.m.



Online marketing, specifically website and social media presence, has become an imperative in marketing our agri-businesses. The IVGA recognizes that online marketing is crucial to the industry, while acknowledging how overwhelming implementing this type of plan can be!  The IVGA would like to encourage and assist its members in this area. To that end, the IVGA is sponsoring a photo competition that will culminate at the 2020 ISGA conference in Springfield. The winner and runners up will be offered vouchers to be used with the marketing consultant of their choice to initiate or improve their farm’s online presence. The IVGA will be available to assist in locating a consultant local to the grower.

Details of the competition:

  • Competition is open to any IVGA members (in attendance of conference or not) or any attendees of the 2020 annual conference.
  • Submissions are due by Thursday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. Submissions may be emailed to Jennifer Kinney at: [email protected]
  • Photos submitted will represent your farm in some way.  Two (2) submissions maximum per farm.
  • Photos will be judged on the following:
    • Marketability/Commercial Appeal
    • Usage of Brand to reinforce theme
    • Originality
    • Artistic Merit
    • Audience Appeal
    • Humor or other Aspects of Creativity
    • Story-telling -does the photograph help the viewer understand an aspect of the farm’s story.
  • Winners will be announced at the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference Awards Banquet.
  • Winner receives $400.00 reimbursement for online marketing.
  • 1st runner up will receive $100.00 each reimbursement for online.
  • 2nd runner up will receive a certificate.
  • All participants’ submissions will be displayed in a slideshow at the IVGA booth inside the 2020 Conference Trade Show.


To register for the Annual Cider Contest contact Ken Johnson, University of Illinois Extension. (217)243-7424 or [email protected]


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at a rate of $103 per night. Please call the hotel directly at 217-529-7777 and ask for the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference room block to make reservations at the conference rate. The room block rate will close Dec. 20.


There are still sponsor and exhibitor opportunities available. Visit our website to learn more about our conference exhibitor and sponsorship packages. Choose a level that fits your needs. Your contribution will help strengthen the local food system in our communities. To find out more go to:

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