The Bayer Museum of Agriculture has changed the way agriculture groups are meeting in Lubbock and the South Plains area. The Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center was made possible with funding from its namesake. The cotton organization felt like the Lubbock and South Plains areas needed a meeting center that caters to the agriculture industry, Mary-Jane Buerkle, PCG director of communications said. Since opening day in the fall of 2014, the center has on average 100 events annually.
Kirby Phillips, event planner for the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, said in five years she hopes to be at over 365 events a year.
Mary-Jane Buerkle said the event center is important to the agriculture community and to PCG themselves.
“We just feel it’s extremely important to support the ag museum and to support what they’re doing,” Buerkle said, “It just seemed the perfect fit for us.”
Making the Event Center Your Own
When you rent the event center, your guests will also have access to visiting the ag museum. Phillips said the museum stays open during events to increase agricultural awareness.
“I think it adds a touch of something special,” Phillips said.
When planning an event, one of the most important aspects is the venue’s staff. The staff help make sure everything runs smooth.
“The staff is another tremendous selling point, Buerkle Said. All of the staff and volunteers, they want so much for everybody who utilizes the ag museum to have the best experience possible. And as somebody whose planned many events, the person you work with is key to your success. You won’t find a staff that is more attentive to detail, friendly and accommodating,”
Not Just for Agriculture
The event center has many purposes. Although the original purpose was to give those in the ag industry a place to hold events and meetings, it is also a spot for those in love to tie the knot.
“It’s a blank canvas, it’s bare but I think that’s good,” Phillips said. “A bride could take that and run with it and make it their own.”
Lubbock currently has many other venues to host weddings and other events, but none like the Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center. Many other venues currently have themes intact such as a rustic or antique feel. The conference center does not. That’s what makes it so special according to Buerkle.
“Now we have our home, which is really good”
Not only can you decorate it to accommodate your event, you also choose the caterer of your choice, according to Phillips. Other venues and conference centers have either a handful of caterers to choose from or their own in-house caterer. They do have an interview process and contract to go through with the caterers.
“We have a long list of people we have worked with in the past, Phillips said. Anytime anyone comes in to plan an event we try and help them as much as possible with references.”
“The catering kitchen is first class,” Buerkle said. “You just have all of these things working together to create a premier place to have an event in Lubbock.”
Another extremely beneficial aspect of the conference center is the Lubbock skyline view from the pergola. When the sun sets it is an unexplainable breathtaking view, according to Buerkle.
Changing the Way People Meet
The event center is not only a game changer for brides, but for organizations, businesses and individuals in the agriculture industry.
“It has probably changed the mindset of some people who have wanted to have an event somewhere else,” Buerkle said. “They think ‘Oh well we could do that at the ag museum.’ That is certainly what we want to continue to move towards.”
The conference center is important for ag-based organizations, as well as those who are not as familiar with the ag industry. Event centers such as this one may be more important to those unfamiliar with the agricultural industry.
“We are becoming further removed from agriculture as time goes on,” Buerkle said. “This is just a great way to remind people of what we have in this area. In agriculture, we must be innovative with how we promote ourselves and with how we tell people who we are and what we do. This is just another innovative way to get people to the ag museum so that they can learn about the importance of ag not just in Lubbock, but the entire area.”
The Continuation of Agriculture
The Bayer Museum of Agriculture’s Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center changed the game for those in agriculture and other businesses in Lubbock and surrounding areas in 2014. One of the most challenging aspects for those in agriculture is educating those who are unfamiliar with the industry.
Buerkle hopes to continue to spread awareness of the conference center and agriculture one luncheon, wedding, and conference at a time.
“Before the ag museum, we were just meeting at different places in Lubbock,” Buerkle said. “Now we have our home. Which is really good.”