Click on speaker boxes to see biographical info
Click here to jump to Feb 20 program of events

Monday, February 19, 2018

8:00 – 9:00

Registration, breakfast and visit with exhibitors

9:00 – 9:30

Opening Remarks

 

Robert Sakata, CFVGA President

Sakata2

Robert is a Colorado native and now owns Sakata Farms which was started in 1945 by his father. The operation has grown to 2500 acres growing fresh market cabbage, dry bulb onions, sweet corn, pinto bean, field corn and winter wheat. Robert served for 15 years on the state of Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission appointed by 3 different Governors. He also served as the Adams County Farm Bureau President and on the Adams County Open Space Advisory Committee. Currently he is on two local ditch boards, serves as the agricultural representative on the metro roundtable, is a member of the Colorado Ag Water Alliance and on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Water Congress.

After graduating Brighton High School Robert attended the University of Colorado Boulder and worked for AmGen in their molecular biology research department. Returning to the farm in 1989 Robert has worked to encourage the shrinking farm community to become more involved in the many issues that they face.

9:30  – 10:15

Keynote address

 

Colo Water Conservation Board and State Engineer’s Office: What and Who are New?
Kevin Rein, State Engineer and Director of the Colo Division of Water Resources

Kevin Rein is the State Engineer and Director of the Colorado Division of Water Resources, also known as the State Engineer’s Office.  Kevin directs the performance of the division’s responsibilities, which include administration of water rights in Colorado, issuing well permits, performing administrative approvals for water use, administering programs that ensure the safety of dams and the safe construction of water wells, managing compliance with interstate compacts, and providing information and education resources to the public.  He has worked at the Division of Water Resources for 19 years.

Becky Mitchell, Director of the Colo Water Conservation Board (CWCB)

Rebecca Mitchell (Becky) serves as the Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).  She is an accomplished water leader with over 14 years experience in the Colorado water sector and highly knowledgeable in the water laws of the State. Mitchell played a significant part in working with the State’s Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee, the public at large and CWCB staff in producing Colorado’s Water Plan.  Becky has worked in the public and private sector as a consulting engineer; she received both her B.S. and M.S. from the Colorado School of Mines.

10:15 – 10:45

Break and visit with exhibitors

10:45 – 11:45

Breakout Sessions

Food Safety

 

Best Practices to Keep Listeria Out of Produce Packinghouses
Dr. Laura Strawn, Assistant Prof and Extension Specialist of Produce Safety, Virginia Tech

Dr. Laura Strawn is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist of Produce Safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech. She holds three degrees in Food Science with food microbiology emphases, as well as minors in Epidemiology and Molecular Microbiology: a PhD from Cornell University, a MS from the University of Florida, and a BS from the University of California, Davis. Her research program focuses on the microbial safety of fresh fruits and vegetables along the supply chain. Additionally, Dr. Strawn works directly with produce stakeholders on current produce safety issues.

Labor

 

Worker protection standard updates  
Michael Rigirozzi, Pesticide Enforcement Specialist and Worker Protection Standard Authority/Program Manager, Division of Plant Industry, Colorado Department of Agriculture

Michael Rigirozzi has served as a Pesticide Enforcement Specialist CDA since 2012, enforcing the Rules and Regulations of Pesticide Applicator’s Act. In addition to his role as an Enforcement Specialist, Michael is the staff authority for the Federal Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and in this capacity; he oversees the assignment of WPS inspections and enforcement of the WPS Rules. Prior to 2012 Michael was an inspector, playing an integral role in promoting WPS and ensuring industries are in compliance.

Business Development

Markets for #2 Produce

Production

Soil Health for vegetable farms
Rudy Garcia, NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist (NM, AZ, CO, UT)

Rudy Garcia has worked for the USDA-NRCS for the past 28 -years and has served as the State Agronomist position for the last 10-years. In NM, the main agronomic issues that he has worked on are: irrigation water management, salinity mgt., nutrient mgt., cropping systems that build soil health (i.e., crop rotations, cover crops, high quality compost, hoop houses, subsurface drip irrigation, minimum-till, etc.). He accepted the position as Regional Soil Health Specialist for the states of Utah, Arizona, NM and Colorado since October 2016; in this new position, his major responsibilities are to facilitate the adoption of soil health management systems. This will require that he work with our NRCS State Offices/Specialists, conservation partners, producers,  PMC and others to identify training needs, keeping our staff updated on the latest soil health findings/assessments, tools, etc. The major emphasis will be to advance the art and science of building healthy soils through our NRCS conservation practices/management, by understanding how the soil resource ecosystem functions.

Nutrition and Health

Give your Sides a Makeover: healthy vegetable dishes using fresh, local produce
Cathy Schmelter, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Cathy is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Nutrition Consultant, and author of the book “Cutting thru the Nutritional Jungle – A Survival Guide to Feeding Kids” for parents of elementary school aged children. In the book, she promotes making fruits and veggies the “star of kid’s plates” and provides information about the benefits of choosing “real” and healthy food.

Currently, Cathy develops and implements sustainable food and nutrition education programs for middle and high schools, including the popular high school curriculum “Food for Thought”, a sustainable food system program and “You Are What You Eat” that promotes “real” food citizens.

She has a genuine passion for health and wellness and making a difference in the lives of kids and their families. Cathy has worked in the health and wellness field for over 18 years.

Previously, she was the Wellness Coordinator for Denver Public Schools where she helped close to 50 schools implement nutrition and physical activities, worked as a Director of Health Resources, where she assisted new and emerging Charter Schools in planning for health and consulted with SOAR Schools in Denver (an all-plant-based food menu school) on nutrition, physical activity, mental health and physical health.  She has also developed programs for community partners and pediatric sites.

She has appeared on several local news programs and has had articles published in Colorado newspapers. She has a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Foodservice Nutrition from California State University–Long Beach and completed a Dietetic Internship with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“My ultimate dream is to get kids to “love their veggies” and inspire youth to create a healthier food system for us all!

11:45 – 1:15

Lunch and CFVGA Member Meeting (all are welcome to attend)

1:15 – 2:15

Breakout Sessions Repeat

2:15 – 3:00

Break and visit with exhibitors

3:00 – 5:00 pm

Grower and Buyer networking session

5:00 – 7:00 pm

Free reception: heavy appetizers and cash bar

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

7:30 – 8:30 am

Registration, breakfast, networking, visit exhibitors

8:30 – 8:45

Opening Remarks

Robert Sakata, CFVGA President

Sakata2

Robert is a Colorado native and now owns Sakata Farms which was started in 1945 by his father. The operation has grown to 2500 acres growing fresh market cabbage, dry bulb onions, sweet corn, pinto bean, field corn and winter wheat. Robert served for 15 years on the state of Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission appointed by 3 different Governors. He also served as the Adams County Farm Bureau President and on the Adams County Open Space Advisory Committee. Currently he is on two local ditch boards, serves as the agricultural representative on the metro roundtable, is a member of the Colorado Ag Water Alliance and on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Water Congress.

After graduating Brighton High School Robert attended the University of Colorado Boulder and worked for AmGen in their molecular biology research department. Returning to the farm in 1989 Robert has worked to encourage the shrinking farm community to become more involved in the many issues that they face.

Dr. Amy Charnowski, Department Head of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Mgt, Colo State University

8:45 – 9:45

Keynote

Why they buy what they buy?

9:45 – 10:30

Are You Recall Ready?
Diane Mulligan, President, M and C Communications

Diane Mulligan, APR is president of M&C Communications, representing inspirational people, organizations, products, and services. M&C specializes in Insider Media Relations, branding and crisis communications. Clients include: Rocky Ford Growers Association, Colorado Chefs Association, Monarch Casino, City of Black Hawk, and more. Formerly, Diane was news director at Channel 7 during the Columbine shootings, senior news editor for NBC News and vice president of national communications for the National Stroke Association.

10:30 – 11:00

Break and visit with exhibitors

11:00 – 12:00

Breakout sessions

Food Safety

Is Your Farm Ready?  FSMA On-Farm Readiness Reviews
Cristy Dice, Produce Safety Rule Program Manager, Colorado Department of Agriculture

Cristy Dice is the Produce Safety Rule Program Manager for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, working under the FSMA Project Director, Steve Bornmann. Her role is to implement the Produce Safety Rule in Colorado by developing policies, goals, objectives and strategies for the program. She works closely with CSU Extension, grower organizations, and other states to create a program that is uniform and consistent with other programs in the nation and meets the needs of Colorado produce growers.

Labor

Fair labor practices

Business Development

The Consumer Wants to Hear Your Story:  How PR Can Work  For You
Jen Miller, Jen's Side Dishes

Jen Miller is a business owner and executive, a marketing and public relations pro, a collaborator, inspirer and dreamer. She co-founded Philosophy Communication in 2001 and led, managed and directed the boutique marketing and public relations firm to be one of the top firms in Colorado. With a focus on consumer marketing campaigns, she guided and developed creative communication initiatives for the firm’s most notable clients, including Colorado Proud, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Town of Frisco, Natural Grocers, T.G.I. Friday’s, Smashburger, Quiznos, Caribou Coffee, Nautilus Health and Fitness, Sub-Zero and Wolf, Denver Public Schools and Denver Center Attractions. Her work has made a tangible impact on clients’ customers, communities and stakeholders, and has won multiple awards and top honors from the community and her peers.

Jen recently left Philosophy Communication to pursue new business opportunities and passions in the food and ag industry. She’s started a blog and launched a pop-up dinner demo concept that’s still in the early stages of development. She’s always been an avid home cook, seeking out local, seasonal food products. Her new food business is a reflection of her belief that local, seasonal food not only tastes better, but is better for the community and local economy.

When she’s not cooking, you can find Jen searching for powder stashes and “kickers,” skiing with her boys, dreaming up an annual family adventure or perusing farmers markets, specialty grocery stores, cooking magazines, websites and blogs for her next culinary creation.

 

Diane Mulligan, President, M&C Communications

Diane Mulligan, APR, is president of M&C Communications, representing inspirational people, organizations, products, and services. M&C specializes in Insider Media Relations, branding and crisis communications. Clients include: Rocky Ford Growers Association, Colorado Chefs Association, Monarch Casino, City of Black Hawk, and more. Formerly, Diane was news director at Channel 7 during the Columbine shootings, senior news editor for NBC News and vice president of national communications for the National Stroke Association.

 

Jim Ehrlich, Exe Dir, Colorado Potato Admin Committee, Area II

Jim Ehrlich is the Executive Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. Jim has a B.S. in Agronomy from Colorado State University and has spent his entire adult life working in agriculture. First as a farmer, then as an agronomist for Coors Brewing Company, and now represents Colorado’s potato growers with a true passion for potatoes and potato growers. His mantra is potatoes are good for you.

Production

Convention and Organic Disease Control Strategies for Specialty Crops
Dr. Lindsey du Toit, Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist, Washington State University

Lindsey du Toit completed a BS degree in South Africa, and MS and PhD degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in plant pathology. She was a diagnostician at Washington State University from 1998 to 2000, and then hired as Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist in vegetable seed pathology at WSU. The focus of her research and extension program is on diseases affecting vegetable and vegetable seed crops in the Pacific Northwest.

12:00 – 1:30

Awards Lunch

1:30 – 2:30

Breakouts repeat

 

Concurrent roundtable discussions in ballroom

  • How Does the FSMA Produce Safety Rule Affect You? – (Steve Bornmann, CDA Inspection and Consumer Services) Learn the latest on the Produce Safety Rule and the educational opportunities coming soon for Colorado produce growers.
  • Resources to Help Your Business Succeed – (Wendy White, CDA Markets Division) Learn how the Colorado Department of Agriculture Markets Division can help you with business development, marketing and creating export opportunities.
  • Colorado Land Link Program- resources for beginning and transitioning farmers/ ranchers –  (Jennifer Visitacion, Exe Dir, Guidestone) Colorado Land Link is a program developed as a creative solution to overcome the crisis posed by an unprecedented number of farmers and ranchers with no next generation to take over their operations. Our referral and resource center connects land-seekers and landowners and provides access to a network of tools, resources, and technical services for the next generation of farmers. Colorado Land Link is a program of Guidestone Colorado whose mission is to grow a vibrant agricultural future through education, community building, and partnerships.
  • Young Farmers & the Future of Colorado Agriculture –  (Kate Greenberg, Western Program Director, and Cassidy Tawse-Garcia, Southwest Organizer, National Young Farmers Coalition) The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success. We are a national coalition of all ages tackling the most critical structural and economic issues that prevent motivated young and beginning farmers from entering into and succeeding in agriculture. Join NYFC to workshop challenges and opportunities facing the next generation of farmers and ranchers in Colorado, from land and water access and student loan debt to the issues you and farmers around you face. We will explore solutions through local organizing, policy advocacy, leadership development, and business services.
  • Farm to Institution

2:30 – 2:40

Break

2:40 – 4:00

“Meet Our Exhibitors” drawing and prizes

Produce Tech Innovation Pitch

Click here for the Request for Proposals

Up to four produce tech business innovators pitch live to conference audience.
Judges award one winner and audience awards the other winner.
Check back for names of businesses pitching and judges.

Sponsors for The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference

Event Sponsors