BioControls USA Conference & Expo 2020 Program

The program for this year’s Biocontrols USA Conference & Expo delivers information on the biological tools and techniques you need, no matter what crop you’re producing in the field, the orchard, the vineyard, or the greenhouse. This year’s event will offer you solutions in a wide variety of topical areas:

Wednesday, March 4 

7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Biocontrols Field Tour

Our optional, day-long bus tour prior to the start of the Biocontrols USA Conference & Expo will visit Oregon specialty crop fruit, vegetable, and ornamental facilities and offers the opportunity to meet and talk face-to-face with growers across the specialty crop spectrum who are putting biologicals to work in their own operations, and they’ll share their real-world experiences to help you do it too.

Thursday, March 5 

7:00 am - 5:00 pm


8:00 am – 6:30 pm


8:15 – 8:30 am

Conference Day 1 Opens: Welcome/Intro

8:30 am - 9:15 am

Keynote Presentation:
Biological Control Tactics for 21st Century Cropping Systems

J.P. Michaud, Kansas State University

9:15 – 9:45 am

Break/Visit the Expo

9:45 – 11:30 am

Breakout Tracks

Fruit Sessions: Permanent crops offer their own unique pest and crop quality challenges. In the sessions at this year’s event you’ll learn first-hand how tree fruit, grape, and nut growers are successfully incorporating biological products in their production systems to solve these problems — and how you can too.

Mating Disruption and Biorational Pest Management in Fruit Crops

Charles Burks, USDA-ARS

Sterile Insect Release for Farm-Scale Suppression of Codling Moth

Chris Adams, Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center

The Grower’s Take: Biocontrol Strategies That Work for Me

Timothy Dahle, Dahle Orchards

Vegetable Sessions: Whether your focus is field-grown or the greenhouse, the pressures from insect and disease pests are always evolving and need new solutions. At this year’s Biocontrols USA Conference you’ll learn about the latest biological tools and techniques that are providing benefits for pest management, food safety, and local, sustainable production of high-quality vegetable crops.

The Grower’s Take: How to Trial Biocontrols on Your Farm

Kim Horton, Grimmway Farms

Five Shades of Gray Mold in Strawberry

Surendra Dara, University of California Cooperative Extension

New Biocontrol Strategies in Insect Control

Toni Bucci, AgBiome

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Lunch/Visit the Expo

1:00 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout Tracks

Cannabis Sessions: Cannabis and hemp growers are limited in their pest management toolbox, leaving them without many of the options that growers of other crops have readily available. That makes biological products a critical resource. In this breakout track, you’ll learn about the tools and techniques that are working for growers just like you, and can help you produce a high-quality and highly marketable crop.

Biofungicides and Biostimulants: Where Do They Fit in Cannabis and Hemp Production?

Chris Becker, BAAR Scientific

Cut Through the Noise: How to Make Sound Production Decisions

Tad Hussey, KIS Organics

Biocontrols and Biostimulants: A Cannabis Grower's Perspective

Justin Magill, Legit Cannabis North

Manage Cannabis Aphid with Biocontrol

Suzanne Wainwright Evans, Buglady Consulting

Biostimulant Sessions:  This new area of biological tools is getting a lot of attention, but there’s still uncertainty about exactly what these products are and how to best use them in specialty crop production. Sessions at this year’s Conference will help you understand how biostimulants can enhance soils and produce higher quality crops in your field, orchard, and even greenhouse.

Biostimulants in the Greenhouse: How They Can Work for You

Nathan Nordstedt, The Ohio State University

Biofertilizers: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Mark Trimmer, DunhamTrimmer

How Biostimulants Can Improve Strawberry Health and Yields

Surendra Dara, University of California Cooperative Extension

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm

Break/Visit the Expo

3:15 pm - 5:00 pm

Breakout Tracks

Greenhouse Sessions: The greenhouse market has long been a leader in adopting biocontrol strategies, and that trend is as strong as ever. If you’re growing in a controlled environment, the Biocontrols USA Conference program will provide information on battling your toughest greenhouse pests with sustainable but effective tools, from biopesticides to beneficials to biostimulants.

BCAs: Best Practices for Biocontrol Success

John Sanderson, Cornell

Taking a Stab at IPM: Piercing and Sucking Pests

Jen Browning, BASF

Tips for Using BCAs and Pesticides Together Effectively in Greenhouse Production

Caroline Reid, Bioline Agrosciences

Organics Sessions: While biological products are a great fit in conventional IPM programs, you may not realize the extent to which they can also be an extremely valuable tool in organic production. This year’s Biocontrols USA Conference will dive deep into the ins and outs of using biologicals in your organic crop this season.

The Grower’s Take: How I Use Biocontrol in My Organic Program

Dan Rinke, Johan Vineyards

Understanding Bioherbicides: How Their Modes of Action(s) Can Work in Your Organic Cropping System

Dave Barcel, OHP

Best Practices: Biocontrol for Organic Production

Ben Bowell, Oregon Tilth & NRCS

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Networking Reception

You’ve learned a lot during sessions and in the Expo throughout Day 1. Begin to tie things together and make valuable new connections in the Biocontrols Networking Reception immediately following the end of Thursday’s sessions. Relax, grab some refreshments, and talk with speakers, knowledgeable exhibitors, and your peers who are tacking the same issues you are.

Friday, March 6 

7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Registration Open

8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Expo Open

8:30 am - 8:45 am

Conference Day 2 Opens: Welcome/Intro

8:45 am – 9:30 am
The Point You're Missing About IPM

Michael Brownbridge, Bioworks

9:30 am - 10:30 am

 New Product Showcase

Biological tools can be extremely effective no matter what crop you grow, and new biopesticides, beneficials, and biostimulants are available to help solve your most pressing problems. This popular session will showcase all of the new and upcoming biological product introductions you need to know for the 2020 season.

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Break/Visit the Expo

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Grower Panel Discussion and Q&A

Education means even more when coming from real-world experience. In this session, our panel of expert growers will explain how they are using biological solutions in the field, orchard, and greenhouse and we’ll take a look at where they see the next steps coming in the development and adoption of biological tools and techniques. We’ll also field questions from the audience to get the grower’s take on your most pressing biocontrol questions.

Kim Horton, Grimmway
Alex Traven, Peace Tree Farm
Dan Rinke, Johan Vineyards
Justin Magill, Legit Cannabis North

12:00 pm

Conference Adjourns

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Cannabis Workshop (Optional)
Managing Cannabis Pests with Biocontrol

Managing pests in cannabis goes beyond just spraying and releasing beneficials. There are many techniques that can improve your program and this popular workshop, led by Suzanne Wainwright-Evans of Buglady Consulting, will get down to ground level with applied lessons you can put to work in your operation immediately. This four-hour session will be broken into chapters, each covering information that will grow your IPM skill set and help you produce a high-quality crop more efficiently and effectively in 2020.

Cannabis Workshop Overview

  • How to take photos for identification
  • How to collect samples to send for identification
  • Environmental conditions for microbial products
  • How to test microbial products for viability and which ones can you test
  • How to apply microbial pesticides in cannabis
  • Common mistakes and myths
  • Pest update for cannabis
  • Q&A with the presenters