Thank you for another great conference!

If you attended the conference, there are Conference Resources for you including presentations, handouts, photos, Virtual Farm Tour link, recipes, and evaluation form link.

Conference Resources (password protected)


Thank you to our sponsors of USLC 2019


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Donna Maria dMDonna Maria (dM)
Keynote presentation: The Community Economy
Donna Maria (dM) is founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, an entrepreneurial coaching and training company that has helped transform the lives and businesses of entrepreneurs in numerous countries, the US, and around the world.
A highly sought-after author, speaker, and entrepreneur mentor, dM is an expert at helping small business owners build sustainable businesses while enjoying the freedom, flexibility, and fun that entrepreneurship offers.


Lela BarkerLela Barker

Keynote presentation: Laser-Focused Branding: Crafting a Compelling Brand Narrative
Lela Barker from Lucky Break Consulting has a unique perspective on entrepreneurship because she sits on both sides of the table: She’s built a small business empire and she wakes up every day excited to help thousands of her clients do the same.
She’s a successful entrepreneur with 15 years of experience building a creative business. Since launching her bootstrapped apothecary brand in 2003, Lela has guided Bella Lucce’s growth to include 1500+ wholesale accounts, generating more than $12 million in revenue.
Lela is also a business strategist who’s wildly passionate about helping creative entrepreneurs bring their products into the marketplace. Through Lucky Break Consulting, Lela helps makers and designers navigate product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy.


Nancy BaggettNancy Baggett
• Product Research Results: Lavender Products – What Sells!
• Successful Culinary Lavender Products: Ideas, Inspirations, Tastings
Nancy Baggett is an award-winning cookbook author and food writer with seventeen cookbooks and hundreds of food articles for national publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Eating Well, Country Gardens, and The Washington Post. Her latest cookbook is The Art of Cooking with Lavender, a beautiful, full-color 80-recipe work that recently won an Independent Publisher “Books for Better Living” award.
Nancy teaches classes and demonstrates on cooking and baking with lavender at festivals, herb and lavender farms, farmers’ markets, and garden clubs around the country. She was the Keynote Speaker at the US Lavender Growers 2017 convention. She has also guested on numerous regional and national TV and radio shows, including Good Morning America, Today and NPR’s All Things Considered. She tends a small lavender patch that features 12 kinds of culinary lavender in central Maryland and shows off her lavender cookbook, photography and recipes at She blogs at She is also active on social media.


Mary and Tim BergstromMary and Tim Bergstrom
• How to Start a Lavender Farm
Mary and Tim Bergstrom have Southern Hills Lavender, an agritourism lavender farm in Greer, SC. They planted in 2015 and had their third u-pick this year. Mary writes a regular column for the USLGA newsletter, assembled the Organizing Committee to build the USLGA, served as the Founding President, served on the Board of Directors and several committees. Mary was the 2015 recipient of USLGA’s LIFT Award. She has a business, training and technology background with a Masters of Internet Technology. Tim has an agriculture, regulatory, and training background with a Masters of Forestry.


Ricardo Federico Besel
• Harvesting and Debudding Equipment – Panel Discussion
Ricardo Federico Besel was born and raised in a German colony in Argentina, with his Wolgandeutscher father and his Belgium mother. He grew up in an agricultural environment surrounded by farm equipment and infinite fields of different crops. Ricardo attended technical school and worked at his grandfather’s shop since he was a child. His grandfather was an import agent and a tractor /farm equipment dealer. No doubt that was the best school for him. At the age of 20, he met a Scottish engineer who was one of the first lavender growers in La Cumbre, a small town in middle of the Argentine’s mountains. Since this time, he was focused in the idea of having his own lavender farm. After Mr. Besel came to the USA, he opened his own CORP in Florida, then moved to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho where he designs and fabricates lavender processors machines.


Daniel Callen
• Harvesting and Debudding Equipment – Panel Discussion
• Planning a Lavender Festival: The Customer Journey
Daniel Callen has 15 plus years of Product Management and Marketing experience. Daniel has worked in the laser industry from manufacturing to engineering to business development. He also has spent 5 years as a lavender farmer with his wife Nicole Callen as the business owner. Dan and Nicole own Norwood Farm in Tualatin, Oregon. Nicole served as Social Media manager for Oregon Lavender Association (OLA), and Dan is serving on the board of directors for OLA Marketing.


Kevin Dunn
• Making Lavender Soaps: Hands-On Workshop
Kevin Dunn is the Elliott Professor of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College. His first book, Caveman Chemistry, brought him to the attention of handcrafted soap makers. His second book, Scientific Soapmaking, explores the chemistry of soap at a deep, but accessible level. Professor Dunn’s ongoing research continues to uncover fascinating details of the behavior of fats, oils, soaps, scents, and synthetic detergents.


Bill Jabs
• Harvesting and Debudding Equipment – Panel Discussion
Bill Jabs is a retired civil engineer. He and his wife Mary started Eagle Creek Lavender four years ago, and now have 22,000 plants on 12 acres with over 15 different varieties. Essential oil is a big part of their operation with 8 acres of Buena Vista lavender grown for oil production. Having difficulty finding labor and wanting to reduce harvesting costs, Bill began a search for mechanical harvesting equipment. Finding none available for small to medium farms at a reasonable price, Bill set out to design and build a single row harvester. A prototype was completed for the 2018 season, which proved to be very cost effective. Bill has now formed Starr Manufacturing, LLC, for the express purpose of building and selling harvesters. He will talk about mechanical harvesting in general, the features of the Starr Lavender HarvesterTM, and will discuss the economics and efficiencies of mechanical harvesting.


Dr. Steven Jeffers
• Phytophthora Update
Dr. Steven Jeffers is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University. He has statewide responsibilities for diseases of ornamental crops in nurseries, greenhouses, and landscapes, and he also works on diseases of trees in both urban and natural ecosystems. In addition, he teaches Principles of Plant Pathology to both undergraduate and graduate students. He came to Clemson in 1995 after 7 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working on fruit crop diseases and 3 years in private industry developing biological control products for post harvest diseases. He earned PhD and MS degrees in Plant Pathology from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Currently, Dr. Jeffers’ research focuses on diseases caused by species of Phytophthora, the topic of his presentation.


Dr. Cindy Jones
• The Art and Science of Distillation
Dr. Cindy Jones is a biochemist, herbalist and founding member of USLGA. She has been formulating and making skin care products for 15 years and has developed a reputation for formulating natural and botanical products. On her farm she grows a variety of herbs including lavender which she uses in skin care. She owns Sagescript Institute and makes her own skin care line called Colorado Aromatics.


Robert M. Jones
• Digital Marketing: An Important Link to Profitability
Robert Jones joined the Charleston Area Small Business Development Center as a Business Consultant in 2016. The SC SBDC has 17 Centers and four satellite offices in South Carolina.
As a Business Consultant, Mr. Jones meets with individuals who own businesses or want to start a business. He consults with clients on Business Plans, Financial Projections, loan opportunities and marketing plans. His business expertise is marketing and public relations.


Paola Legarre
• Dirt to Flower: An Overview of Growing Lavender Commercially
• Cutting Production and Propagation to Lavender
Paola Legarre is the owner of Sage Creations Organic Farm. Paola has worked in organic farming and marketing for the last 25 years. In 2001 she received her MBA in agribusiness from the University of Santa Clara in California.
Her love for herbs and looking for an alternate crop to tree fruit she wanted to explore growing lavender. Paola’s first lavender planting was in 2006. As her lavender fields grew, she extended her product line to include certified organic essential oils, lavender inspired home décor, bath and body products, and lavender plant starts. Sage Creations farms 10 acres and currently has 5 acres in lavender production and grows 3 species and 50 different cultivars of lavender.


Alice Marrin
• Product Research Results: Lavender Products - What Sells!
Alice Marrin and her husband Bill, are the owners of Lookout Lavender Farm, located just south of Chattanooga on the Georgia portion of the Lookout Mountain Plateau. In addition to lavender, the Marrins grow blueberries, apples and manage bees. 2018 was their first year of u-picks for both lavender and blueberries, with Alice spending most of her time branding, marketing, developing and selling lavender based products. They purchased the property in 2016 and attended the USLGA conference in Mesa where Alice and Bill were inspired to create a lavender centered farm experience. While the Marrins currently live in Atlanta, they travel back and forth each week, but hope to make the mountain farm their full-time home. In her pre-lavender life, Alice raised three daughters (now grown), and served as an elementary school librarian.


Mike Neustrom
• Harvesting and Debudding Equipment – Panel Discussion
• Distilling for Essential Oil & Hydrosol – Panel Discussion
After retiring from two careers, (twenty-one years in the U.S. Navy and as director of a rehabilitation agency for people with developmental disabilities), Mike started farming lavender in 2002. Mike and his wife, Dianne, own Prairie Lavender Farm in Bennington, Kansas.
Mike was one of several original members who started the organizing committee in March 2011 leading to the formation of the United States Lavender Growers Association. He was elected President in March 2015 and served two terms. He stepped down last March and remains active as the Chair of the Nominating Committee.
Mike along with Paul Krumm (Gyld Wynd), co-developed a bud stripping and cleaning combination of machines which are all hand fabricated and built to order. The production of the machines is now being built by Servicemen’s’ Agriculture Vocational Education (SAVE); a non-profit organization teaching transition skill to soldiers at Ft. Riley returning to civilian life. Ted Maciejewski, their project manager, will be manning Prairie Lavender Farm’s vendor table at the conference to demonstrate and answer questions about the machines.


Ellen Reynolds
• Diversifying Your Lavender Business to Expand Your Revenue Stream
Ellen Reynolds and her husband Gregg own Beagle Ridge Herb Farm in Southwest VA. Although the farm is in a remote location and was originally only open on weekends seasonally for the first several years, she has developed a following, both at the farm and online. Now celebrating their 17th year in business, they have welcomed visitors from all 50 states and 26 foreign countries.
Ellen has been a lifelong gardener, Garden club member and a Master Gardener since 1992. She teaches a variety of classes across the southeast and at the farm. Although begun as an herb farm, the Beagle Ridge specialty is lavender.


Sarah Richards
• Distilling for Essential Oil & Hydrosol – Panel Discussion
Sarah founded Lavender Wind Farm in 2000, starting the first season with 400 plants. Now, 18 years later, the farm has about 6.5 acres in cultivation, growing 17 different varieties of lavender. She is a founding board member of the United States Lavender Growers Association, and currently serves on the Board of Supervisors of the Whidbey Island Conservation District.
In addition to starting and running the farm, Sarah created a manufacturing and retail facility in a charming 1916 bungalow located in the historic waterfront district of Coupeville in Central Whidbey Island. At this facility they manufacture many traditional lavender products such as soaps and lotions, sachets, culinary lavender products and other personal care and household items.


Kylee Seibert-Wongrowski
• Exploring Certified Naturally Grown
Kylee Seibert-Wongrowski is a farmer from Northwest Ohio. She is a member of Ohio Proud, USLGA and the Great Lakes Lavender Growers. She is a former employee of the USDA Farm Service Agency where she ran the Conservation Reserve Program. Her lavender business, Luckey Road Lavender Co., is in its second year. In 2018, her lavender became Certified Naturally Grown. This certification opened doors for new business opportunities. She’s excited to bring her knowledge and fresh perspective to the conference, sharing with you the added integrity of the Certified Naturally Grown title!


Steve W. Seymour
• Farm Law 101: Legal Considerations for the Lavender Farmer
Steven W. Seymour is an accomplished business litigator with an emphasis on labor and employment law as well as fiduciary litigation. Mr. Seymour serves as the municipal judge for the City of Mosier.
Steve actively builds community by serving on the board of directors for the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Gorge Grown Food Network. The Network promotes local foods in the Gorge and was recently recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Steve is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans. He is active in Mosier Post 55 of the American Legion, through which he serves veterans of the US military, and promotes patriotism in the community.
Steve operates a lavender farming operation at his home near Mosier, in the Columbia Gorge. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Lavender Association. He is a lifelong photographer, working with both digital and gelatin silver processing.


Sandra Shuff
• The Art and Science of Distillation
• Distilling for Essential Oil & Hydrosol – Panel Discussion
Sandra Shuff is a trained Aromatherapist and Distiller. As Positively Aromatic, she distills 48 different botanicals including those provided by her certified organic forest for steam distillation of Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, White Spruce and Yarrow. Hydrosol is distilled as a primary product in her distillery on Copper Alembic Stills. This low temperature, slow process allows the larger molecules to release and come through the distillation process to produce a high-quality Artisan Hydrosol and Essential Oils.
As owner and operator of a 50-acre USDA Certified Organic farm and forest she has a unique opportunity to grow, harvest and distill multiple aromatics in one location. Her farm Evening Light Lavender Farm, grows approximately 18,000 lavender plants in 41 varieties, a field of rose geranium and various herbs for distillation.


Jim Strohm
• To Bee or Not to Bee! All About Beekeeping
Jim Strohm is a Journeyman Beekeeper in the SC Master Beekeeper program; he is a member of the Charleston Area Beekeepers Association; a member of the SC Beekeepers Executive Committee, and the President of the Charleston Community Bee Gardens. He has been beekeeping in the Lowcountry for seven years. He maintains 16 hives for pollination at the Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston.


Dr. Curtis Swift
• Lavender: Soil Preparation, Irrigation and Nutrient Requirements
Dr. Curtis Swift has thirty-two years’ experience as a Colorado State University Area Extension Agent and has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Colorado State University. He has traveled the world in conjunction with USDA and CNFA to provide training on many areas, including: irrigation, soil management, onion value chain assessment, greenhouse producers, plant production, and fertility management. Dr. Swift retired as an Extension Agent in 2012 and started his retirement with his own business – High Altitude Lavender in Grand Junction, CO. He now produces high altitude lavender products which include artisan crafted essential oils and hydrosols, among other things!


Christine Teeple
• How to Make a Profit for Mid-Experienced Growers
Christine Teeple has been running the marketing, event planning, product development and production side of Red Rock Lavender located in Concho, Arizona since 1998. Christine is a Founding Member and former Board Member of the USLGA.



James Wetzel
• Digital Marketing: An Important Link to Profitability
Jim Wetzel joined the Charleston Area Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a Business Consultant in 2018 after a 40-year career in corporate Marketing and Sales where he held executive level positions managing domestic and global businesses. The SBDC has 1000+ centers Nationwide with 21 locations in South Carolina. As a Business Consultant, Jim assists in growing existing businesses and start-ups across the spectrum of ideas and concepts. He counsels clients on Business Plans, Financial projections, Marketing and Sales.