History of the Kansas Vegetable Growers Association

From the History of the Kansas State Horticultural Society
100 Year Report- 1967 (updated January, 2010, by Chuck Marr, KVGA Sec-Treas)

The Kansas Sweet potato Association was initiated by a group of growers in the Kansas River valley. Itís first organizational meeting was in May 1939 at Lawrence. A constitution and bylaws were adopted in November 1939 with all members also to be members of the Kansas State Horticultural Society. It was originally named the Kaw Valley Sweet potato Growers Assn and was subsequently renamed the Kansas Sweet potato Growers Assn in 1963.

The Kansas Vegetable Growers Assn was founded in July 1965. Before then, vegetable growers like fruit growers were highly influential in the Kansas Horticultural Society.
In 1968, the Kansas Sweet potato Growers Association combined with the Kansas Vegetable Growers Assn. utilizing a new constitution and bylaws of the Vegetable Growers Assn.

Members are individuals or firms directly associated with vegetable research, production, or marketing. This organization supports and encourages research and extension activities of the Dept of Horticulture and Forestry. Newsletters, field days, annual meetings are methods used to inform members and others of the current development in this rapidly changing industry.

Members exhibit vegetable displays at various county and state fairs to keep Kansans informed of the stateís potential for vegetable production. The decline in rural populations, increase emphasis on low calorie diets, and consumer preferences for high quality vegetables are expected to greatly expand vegetable production in Kansas during the next few years. Expansion of irrigation facilities and mechanical harvesters also will help expand the industry in sparsely populated areas of the state.

Officers are: President Herb Lee, Bonner Springs; Secretary: Dr. J K Greig, Manhattan, Vice President: Les Forward, Wichita; Director: Earl Shell, Topeka. Dated: 1967

In 1993 discussions were initiated with the Missouri Vegetable Growers Assn to consider a possible joint educational meeting between the KVGA and MVGA. These discussions led to the inclusion of interest by vegetable growers in Iowa and Nebraska and in 1995 it was decided to hold a 4-state vegetable growers conference in St. Joseph MO- a location close to the joint borders of the states- and the conference would be the location of the educational requirement of the KVGA and itís annual meeting would be held there. The Great Plains Vegetable Growers Conference has grown in size and content to include a 2-day educational program with additional workshops for High Tunnels, Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture, and Beginning Vegetable Farmers and is supported with a trade show of vendors, associations and affiliates.

Present Officers Include: President Ron Brown, Ft. Scott ; Vice President Mark Jirak, Atchison, and Secretary-Treasurer Dr. Chuck Marr, Manhattan Dated: January 2010