Western Growers Named Technology Sponsor for Inaugural Organic Grower Summit

The Organic Grower Summit (OGS) has announced Western Growers will serve as the Ag Technology sponsor for this year’s inaugural event. As the Ag Technology sponsor, Western Growers will help coordinate the attendance of technology companies as exhibitors, and help facilitate elements of the technology area at the event.
The first ever OGS, a joint production between California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Organic Produce Network (OPN), will bring together organic growers, producers and processors for two days of education, information and networking opportunities with organic production supply chain and service providers. The event includes a series of educational sessions, keynote presentations, variety of meal functions and a trade show floor.
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico.  Members and their workers provide over half the nation's fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America's fresh organic produce. Western Growers launched the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT) in Salinas, CA. The Center was created to help identify industry priorities, discover technologies to address those priorities, set up testing, facilitate industry feedback and communicate progress to California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico fresh produce farmers.
“Western Growers welcomes the opportunity to participate as the Ag Technology sponsor of the inaugural Organic Grower Summit.  Our involvement in this visionary event reaffirms our commitment to driving innovation across all segments of the fresh produce industry, “said Matt McInerney, senior executive vice president for Western Growers. “We look forward to working with the event partners, CCOF and OPN, as we mutually help the organic produce industry amidst challenging regulatory and marketplace demands, both now and into the future.” 
To date, OGS has secured over 50 sponsoring companies, with only nine exhibitor booths remaining on the trade show floor. Among participating exhibitors are leaders in the fields of seed, packaging, soil amendments, food safety, and ag technology, who will be connecting with organic field production staff, supply chain managers, pest management advisors, and food safety experts.
Educational session panels at OGS will range in topics including farm soil management, environmentally-sustainable packaging, advances in agricultural technology, and issues facing organic farming. Among confirmed speakers are Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator at USDA-AMS. Additional keynote presentations and speakers to be announced in the coming weeks.
“Over the past 25 years, I've seen the rapid growth in the demand for organics. We fully support the Organic Grower Summit, as this will be an excellent resource for our growers to learn new and important information that they can bring back to our farms,” said Jeff Huckaby, President, Grimmway Farms.
Additionally, in advance of the opening reception kicking off OGS, a half-day continuing education outreach program for Pest Control Advisors, PRC, and Qualified Applicators will be held December 13 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey.  The program, offered by the Monterey County Ag Commissioner, will afford attendees two hours of approved continuing education credit.
The half day event will feature invited guest speaker Brain Leahy, Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and will be hosted by Monterey Ag Commissioner, Eric Lauritzen.  Among the subject areas to be covered are: new requirements for pesticide application near schools, farm worker advisory committee and worker protection standards. The event is limited to 100 people and registration is available on a first-come first serve basis by calling the Monterey County Ag Commissioner off duty line at: 831-759-7340.  
This article was submitted by the Organic Produce Network. The Organic Produce Network (OPN) is being designed as the voice and go-to resource for all things related to organic produce. The company's mission is to inform and educate through a strong digital presence with an emphasis on original content, and complemented by engaging live events which bring together various components of the organic food community. 
OPN is an informal online network providing critical and timely information such as news, updates, statistics, and historical benchmarks to those in the organic fresh produce business. OPN will also provide live and online learning and networking opportunities. The OPN target audience is organic producers, handlers, distributors, processors, wholesalers, foodservice operators, and retailers.