United States Lavender Conference 2023


The United States Lavender Conference is a multi-track conference, which means we are able to serve a variety of attendees at different stages of their business. You will be able to select your topics on-site and freely join any session in progress.

There are so many great educational opportunities at USLC 2023. While some topics are still being confirmed, here are some of the topics waiting for you at the conference! 

*To learn more about the speakers for these sessions, visit our speaker page. View the schedule here.

Keynote Session: Lavender Biology: How Understanding Your Plants Can Help Your Lavender Farm Succeed
Keynote Speaker: Clive Larkman

In this fast-paced, information-packed keynote address, Clive Larkman, owner of Larkman Nurseries, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia, will delve into the biology of the genus Lavandula. Using a Powerpoint format he will discuss various species, their basic genetics, and their geographical distribution and climate demands and limitations. He will also talk about the origins of commercial varieties and their distribution, including some new introductions and current breeding projects. Throughout, his emphasis will be on how to take advantage of the basic biological properties of lavender to optimize planning and opportunities. For example, because farmers outside of southern France know that a lack of calcium (and not the pH) is the key growth-limiting factor for lavender, they can take steps to balance their soil profiles. Furthermore, since these growers are aware that calcium moves in water and not through osmosis they understand why lavender suffers in high humidity and can apply calcium at the best time. Clive points out that, historically, most farmers grew up on their land and had a natural "feel" for it and what they raised. They didn't study science, they just "knew" what to do. Today, however, most lavender growers are newcomers to farming and are growing unfamiliar plants that are often outside their natural distribution area. Instead of struggling for perhaps several decades to acquire the expertise needed, Clive suggests that modern-day growers can make up for their missing know-how with science. Understanding the biology of lavender, he says, is the real path to lavender growing success. 

Is Fertilizer In Your Lavender Farm's Future?
Workshop with Keynote Speaker Clive Larkman

For decades the conventional wisdom has been that lavender doesn't require fertilizing. But is this widely-held view correct? In this fact-filled Powerpoint session, Clive Larkman, consultant to the Australian lavender industry and owner of huge Larkman Nurseries (which propagates 2 million plants annually), will discuss the recent studies and emerging information on what the "correct agronomy" for lavender should be. He will discuss how growers can optimize lavender production using fertilizer products while managing costs and land health. He will cover the basics of plant nutrient absorption, then talk about the key nutrients lavender requires and when to and when not to apply them. He will also talk about the balance of nutrients to be added relative to what crops are being grown. Attendees will take away enough understanding of basic plant biology to decide what, where, when and how to fertilize their lavender crops. The session will include some discussion of the issues involved in organic lavender farming. 

Scents & Sensibility--Pacific Northwest and Other Recent Lavender Cultivars, Plus Trends in the Lavender Trade
General Session Speakers Christine Mulder & Andrew Van Hevelingen

In this session two well-respected, long-time lavender growers, Andy Van Hevelingen, owner of Van Hevelingen Herb Nursery, and Chris Mulder, owner of Barn Owl Nursery, share their more than 50 years of experience and knowledge of lavender cultivars. They step back to make sense of all the recently introduced lavenders in today's marketplace--highlighting Pacific Northwest introductions and other new lavenders in order to evaluate the best cultivars for various uses. Attendees will gain a valuable, unique perspective of a wholesale grower and a retail nursery owner and learn about the trends they are both seeing in the business. The session will include evaluations of lavender cultivars and their attributes for the best application, as well as the possible challenges (such as hardiness, humidity, rainfall, etc.) of growing these cultivars nationwide. As an added special bonus, attendees will get to see carefully collected samples of an impressive array of the cultivars discussed during the presentation.

Lavender Distillation - Taking It To The Next Level
Speaker: Dr. Michael Lemmers

Geared for attendees with prior lavender distilling experience, this lecture-demonstration session will address selected biological, chemical, and physical factors that affect the lavender distillation process and outcomes for essential oil and hydrolat. Taught by Dr. Michael Lemmers, MD, proprietor of RavenCroft Lavender, the session will give attendees deeper insight into the properties of essential oils and apply that knowledge to the distillation of a lavender biomass. Attendees will also learn to recognize and exploit opportunities for manipulating the distillation process to achieve specific goals, such as selective fractionation or improved yields or quality. They will also participate in exercises demonstrating important aspects of distillation, as well as some olfactory assessments of lavender oils and hydrolats.

To Bee or Not to Bee - Are Honey Bee Hives a Good Fit for Your Farm?
Speaker: Carolyn Breece, Honey Bee Lab, OR State U.

Carolyn Breece, Senior Research Assistant at Oregon State’s Honey Bee Lab, will present a Powerpoint while covering all the basics of beekeeping, including relevant honey bee biology. Attendees will learn the steps involved in caring for hives and keeping the bees healthy, as well as the time, money and equipment needed. They will also gain insights into whether renting hives or raising their own bees is a better option, and about utilizing native bees and enhancing their farm habitat. 

Culinary Photography & Farm Photography
Speakers: Nancy Baggett & Michael Shay

Nancy Baggett, author of The Art of Cooking with Lavender, and Michael Shay, one of Portland’s premiere photographers and owner of Polara Studio, team up to provide a wealth of practical tips, demonstrations and insights into how to take the compelling photos attendees need for their websites, promotional efforts, and social media posts. Nancy will show a short Powerpoint of her lavender recipe “beauty shots,” while explaining the steps involved in propping and styling food photographs. She will also hand out a list of tips on readying food for the camera. Then, Michael will share his knowledge gained over 40 years on all aspects of photography, including lighting, equipment, techniques, aesthetics, dos and don’ts and much more. Attendees will come away with numerous tips and a greatly enhanced ability to take pleasing photographs of their recipes, products, gift shops and farms. 

How to Connect and Collaborate to Grow Your Bottom Line
Speaker: Marilyn Kosel

Marilyn Kosel of Wayward Winds Lavender will share a variety of inspiring ways attendees can grow their bottom line through networking and collaborating with other farms, businesses, and community groups. She will discuss how to build relationships which benefit all parties involved, as well as how to identify, evaluate, and get involved in existing local and regional networks and groups. Enhanced with a Powerpoint presentation, the session will include many concrete and dramatic examples of collaborations that have had a synergistic effect and boosted the bottom line of all participants. It will also include special tips on connecting for those in isolated areas, as well as handouts including brochures created for various notable collaborations, including the Newberg Lavender Trail, the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival, and the Oregon Farm Loops. 

Best in Class--A Proven Formula for Teaching Lavender Wreath-Making and Other How-To Classes on Your Farm
Speaker: Beth Hammerberg

Veteran teacher and expert wreath-maker Beth Hammerberg of Down by the River Lavender Farm, will quickly show attendees, step-by-step, how to make a lavender wreath. She will then provide all the details involved in holding successful wreath-making classes: These include determining costs and class pricing; time and space requirements; and all the materials required. Finally, she will share a formula for planning any successful how-to class, whether it be wreath-making or blending oils for lotion making, or even pouring candles. With this formula, attendees will be able to offer classes that keep people coming back year after year.

How to Find the Workers Your Farm Needs
Panelists: Alice Marrin, Pleasant Valley Lavender; Julie Haushalter, White Oak Lavender, Kristen Sandoz Wayward Winds Lavender. Moderator: Joanne Voelcker, Mt Airy Lavender

Everybody’s facing the tight labor market these days. But the panelists in this session have come up with a wide array of practical, creative and highly successful approaches to finding both paid and volunteer workers for their farms. They’ll share on topics including: Arranging internships for students from high school through graduate school; budget-wise ways to use temp agencies, plus the Indeed website and certain free employment apps; and finding and teaming up with local school and community youth summer hire programs. The panelists will also cover nitty-gritty issues such as training and managing inexperienced and volunteer workers, and identifying and motivating those needing extra attention. In some instances, results have been impressive and inspiring. Says Ellen Karcher of Pleasant Valley Lavender in New Jersey,” Since 2012 hundreds of Jobs, Education and Training (JET) students have worked at our farm 3 days a week for 6 weeks each summer. Without their help we never would have been able to expand the way we have. This collaboration has yielded great benefits for the students as well as our farm.

Farming the Transition: Are You Jumping In or Bailing Out?
Panelists: Bruce McCloskey, Mike Neustrom, Kristi Hilliker, Tyler Saltonstall and Sarah Richards

Out with the old, in with the new!
Whether you’ve been farming for years, or just looking to start, our panel of 5 is here to help you transition in or out of a lavender farm. Unlike a home, there is so much more riding on the succession of a lavender farm. It is a home, a business, a passion, a livelihood, an adventure, a labor of love and so much more.
Come learn from the folks who have done it and ask them all your questions.
Our five panelists (who represent both old and new farmers) will be talking about all the questions that we didn’t have when we started. Including:
    • Lessons learned of what worked and what didn’t?
    • What are the secrets that you don’t even know to ask?
    • Do you know what succession planning is?
    • Do you worry about what will happen to your farm?
    • You are getting tired of your desk job and think you’d like to retire and buy a farm?
    • What are the ways to sell the farm?
    • Is there a marketplace to sell farms?
    • Does USLGA have help?
    • How can you sell off equipment and other assets such as product lines and formulas?

The speakers will be candid and bring differing perspectives. We all will face these issues someday. Join us and get a head start!

Let's Talk Terpenes: Knowing and Utilizing the Powerful Plant Chemicals Behind the Flavor, Aroma and Calming Properties of Lavender
Speaker: Dr. Concetta DiRusso

In this lively Powerpoint presentation, chemist Dr. Concetta DiRusso, PH. D, founder and CEO of Kennebec Analytical Services, will explain what terpenes are and delve into how these plant chemicals give lavenders their distinctive aromas, flavors and calming properties.
The session will also include comparisons of angustifolia and X intermedia lavender terpene profiles so attendees can understand how they differ and how to put each type to best use. Additionally, Dr. DiRusso will explain how knowing cultivar profile testing results can be put to great practical use: For example, attendees can select varieties with particular terpene levels to build in desired characteristics such as pleasing citrus and lemony notes in recipes and soothing, calming properties in personal care and aromatherapy products.
Further, Dr. DiRusso will discuss how the hard evidence from chemical analysis can provide not only terpene profiles but verify for both growers and their customers that their lavender is free of pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals. This session will also provide attendees with a unique and rare sensory opportunity to smell some of the most notable terpenes in lavender.

Additional Sessions

In addition to the above, we have many sessions still to come. To give you a preview, we are in the final stages of confirming the following sessions:

  • Non-Agritourism Farm Panel
  • Fungus, Diseases & Pests (Session followed by Panel)
  • Harvest & Post-Harvest Equipment & Processing Panel
  • Unique Products Panel
  • Large Farms Interest Group (Lunch & Learn)

Open registration is closed - contact us to see if any seats are still available.