With a lively agenda and a renowned roster of speakers on hand, the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association’s Fifth Annual Conference is set for Feb. 25-26, at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel.
According to Association Executive Director Marilyn Bay Drake, the “not-to-be-missed” conference will be highlight by the keynote speech on day two delivered by David Magana, senior analyst for Robo
Bank. Magana’s speech will tackle not only trends but also threats and opportunities in global and fresh produce markets.
“Food safety, along with water and labor availability, will continue to be relevant challenges in the fresh produce industry,” Magana said. He went on to say that “higher consumer expectations for fresh, ‘natural’ fruits and vegetables present significant challenges and opportunities.”
Added to dynamics are advancements such as automation, Blockchain technologies, online grocery shopping and direct marketing that provides the opportunity for growers to tell their own stories and plant-based foods, all providing additional opportunities for reaching consumers.
Magana’s keynote will be followed by an update by Dr. Stephanie Mercier, who will explain some of “latest developments on agricultural trade and unpack elements of the 2018 farm bill impacting produce growers during its fifth annual conference.”
A senior fellow at the Farm Journal Foundation, Dr. Mercier served from 1997 to 2011 as chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Democratic staff. Before that she was team leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trade Policy and Programs within the Economic Research Service.
Dr. Mercier is quoted as saying, “The CFVGA conference is just a few days before the end of the 90-day ‘cooling off’ period agreed to by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Li JinPing last year to put a temporary halt to the U.S.-China trade war. We should have a pretty good idea by then if the Chinese are willing to concede to any of the president’s demands on protection of intellectual property rights and other trade-related matters.”
In addition, she will look at the agricultural labor shortage and possible administrative changes to the H2A program allowing farmers to bring in foreign guest workers on a seasonal basis when local labor is not available. Additionally, she will address environmental policies and how possible changes might impact the way growers operate.
Drake said, “Culminating the conference will be CFVGA’s second annual Tech Pitch. The four finalists selected to pitch their technology/idea to attendees are VisuGen, microbiological detection technology; SWIIM Systems, farm irrigation water use monitoring system; ToMarket, a local food logistics system; and GeoVisual, fresh produce production forecasting.”
And the popular grower-buyer networking session will be held on Feb. 25 beginning at 4 p.m. “Produce buyers not already registered can contact CFVGA or visit the conference website, https://cfvga.org.”
Adrian Card, CFVGA conference committee chair, said, “Some long-term relationships between produce buyers and farmers have been forged during the annual grower-buyer networking session. This session alone is worth the cost of registration for many growers.”
More information on the CFVGA conference, including sponsorship opportunities, is available at: https://cfvga.org. For questions or more information, contact CFVGA at 303.594.3827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.