Unlike cultivation facilities of a few decades ago, indoor farms and weather-respondent greenhouses are more machines than building, always running from the day production begins. Facilities that do not create a culture of sound operations and preventative maintenance do so at the peril of their business. Better understand the operational limits of lighting, fertigation systems and HVAC. Understand how to develop SOPs beyond cultivation tasks. Learn programming tricks for your climate controls from experts with decades of experience. Secure your cultivation data and information systems. Reduce short-cycling of equipment and learn how to even wear and tear, while developing tracking for equipment usage, maintenance, repairs and inventory. Discern what maintenance and repairs are best done in-house versus service agreements with third parties.
Topical areas include:
Climate control programming optimization and equipment usage tracking
Operational conditions and limits of cultivation equipment
Developing SOPs for inspection, maintenance and repair
Tracking software for facility upkeep and inventory
Service agreements and extended warranties
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Rob has over 30 years of experience in plant growth facility management, plant research and commercial production. At Purdue University, he brought online and managed a computer- controlled 40,000 ft 2 research facility, made up of 25 greenhouses and over 60 growth chambers and grow rooms. He was responsible for hundreds of CEA studies involving flowering, food and medicinal species. He served on design teams for greenhouse projects and one of the first automated machine-vision phenotyping centers in the country. In his consulting role, he supported major hydroponic produce growers AeroFarms and Bright Farms; Big Ag companies Dow AgroSciences, Novozymes and Indigo Ag; and several cannabis operations including Clade9. He wrote cultivation plans for cannabis licenses awarded in Missouri and West Virginia.
Rob’s protocols for optimizing greenhouse production have been downloaded over 70,000 times in 104 countries. He participated in the publication, A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses, recognized throughout the world as a primary resource for safe production of genetically modified crops. In 2016, he was a member of the International Committee for Controlled Environment Guidelines that published Guidelines for Measuring and Reporting Environmental Parameters for Experiments in Greenhouse Facilities, the seminal document of quality assurance protocols for plant science research.
In his free time, Rob enjoys gardening, growing microgreens under LEDs, baking and winning croquet matches against his three grown children.