The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) is pleased to have keynoter Dr. Stephanie Mercier bring attendees the latest developments on agricultural trade and unpack elements of the 2018 farm bill impacting produce growers during its fifth annual conference. Her address will be in the morning of the second day of the conference on Feb. 26, at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel. Mercier is a senior fellow at the Farm Journal Foundation, who served from 1997 to 2011 as chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Democratic staff. Prior to this she was team leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trade Policy and Programs within the Economic Research Service.
“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,” said Mercier. “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, Mercier will address the agricultural labor shortage, including possible administrative changes to the H2A program, which allows farmers to bring in foreign guest workers on a seasonal basis when local labor is not available. She also will address environmental policies and how possible changes might impact the way growers operate.
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.
The ever-popular grower-buyer networking session will take place beginning at 4 pm Feb. 25. Produce buyers not already registered can contact CFVGA or visit the conference website.
“Some long-term relationships between produce buyers and farmers have been forged during the annual grower-buyer networking session,” said Adrian Card, CFVGA conference committee chair. “This session alone is worth the cost of registration for many growers.”
The CFVGA is comprised of more than 250 members, including growers of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $485 million to Colorado at the farm gate and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 90,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production.