Click on boxes to see session descriptions,  biographical info, and copy of presentention slides when possible.
Click here to jump to Feb 25 program of events

Monday, February 24, 2020

7:30 – 8:30

Registration, breakfast and visit with exhibitors

8:30 – 9:00

Opening Remarks

Robert Sakata, CFVGA President

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.

9:00 – 9:45


The Power of Produce 2019: A Look at the Produce Department Through the Shoppers' Eyes

The Food Marketing Institute has published the “Power of Produce” research every year since 2014. Conducted by 210 Analytics and sponsored by Yerecic Label, Burris Logistics and the Southeast Produce Council, this research is part of a broader look at the fresh perimeter.

The 2019 study included a consumer survey of 1,500 shoppers. Using this data, participants will gain a “shopper’s” view of produce planning, purchasing and consumption and come away with several actionable insights to grow their business. The study offers an understanding of the opportunities, habits, preferences and trends in the produce department by listening to the consumer’s voice and combining it with sales data from IRI and Nielsen.

John Cravens’ career spans over forty years in the food industry and covers a broad range of products including produce, meat, canned foods, and packaging. He received his BS Degree in Food Science from Purdue University and his MBA from the University of Colorado. He has worked in both corporate and non-profit environments and has held positions in sales, international marketing and food safety.

As an Account Manager for Yerecic Label, John helped develop the produce market for Yerecic. Using research, he demonstrated to growers and processors how to build produce sales by giving consumers additional information on the package.


9:45 – 10:00 

Exhibitor elevator speeches – see current list of exhibitors below

Hear exhibitors explain why you should visit with them in the expo

2020 Census
4Rivers Equipment
Agfinity Inc
AgPro Systems
American AgCredit
Aquatic Resources, LLC
BioSafe Systems
BlockApps, Inc.
Brandt Consolidated, Inc
CCOF Certification Services
Certis, USA
Colorado Ag Water Alliance
Colorado State University Extension
Community Food Share
Decade Products
Frost, PLLC
HNP Farm Services
Hollar Seeds
Hortau Simplified Irrigation
Inman Interwest
InterCrate, Inc.
Landmark Packaging
Landmark Packaging
Lavender Association of Colorado
Mas Labor H-2A, LLC
Nature Safe Fertilizers
NNZ J&J Supply
Phytech US, Inc
Salud Family Health Centers
Sandbox Solar
Seedway, LLC
TriEst Ag Group
USDA Farm Service Agency
USDA NASS Mountain Regional Office
Western SARE


10:00 – 10:30

Networking break

10:30 – 11:30

Breakout sessions

Labor - Are Growers Subject to 2019 Colorado Employment Law Changes?

Colorado employment laws have seen dramatic changes in recent years, including a complete overhaul of Colorado’s minimum wage law that takes effect in 2020. In this session, we will explore the most significant changes that affect you as an employer and will discuss potential changes that may be coming in the near future.

 PDF of slides

Jody Duvall is a Fort Collins attorney whose practice focuses on labor and employment issues. He represents employers before federal and state trial and appellate courts, administrative agencies, and in mediation and arbitration. He counsels clients on a wide range of issues related to their employment policies, and represents employers in labor negotiations and arbitrations; unfair labor practice proceedings; wage and hour class and collective actions; and wrongful termination, discrimination, and retaliation actions.

Business Development - What’s fresh: Emerging market opportunities for growers

What’s fresh in the marketplace?  Hear from buyers and distributors with new programs including school district local purchasing dollars, backhauling opportunities, purchasing of produce seconds,  food pantry purchasing and more.

Shelly Allen has been the Director of Nutrition and Warehouse Service since 2007 at St Vrain Schools. Prior to that the Assistant Director of Nutrition at Denver Public Schools. Enjoy implementing healthy eating and active living initiatives in the school district and have spent the last 10 years building a stronger Farm to School program within our school district.




Dave Maynard has been the VP of FreshPack since 2002. He is instrumental in developing high volume sales with local retailers and food service customers throughout Colorado. Dave worked closely with Colo Dept of Ag to promote Colorado Proud. He served on the Colorado Farm to School Task Force and worked side by side with the many of Colorado growers to help make their products available to Colorado consumers.



Larry Martinez is the Executive Director of the Denver Inner City Parish. He has worked at DICP for 17 years. He joined the staff as the Office Manager and Community Resource Coordinator in 2002. He was promoted to Associate Director in 2011 and became Executive Director in 2018. Larry has played a critical role in the development of many DICP programs and facilities. He is an advocate for social-justice and has been a part of many collective-impact groups like the Colorado Food Pantry Network, Food Exchange and Resource Network, Full Lives Full Pantries, Closing the Hunger Gap, and several others.

FoodMaven is transforming the food system to support the people who make our food, help feed the hungry, and protect the planet for future generations. Hear from CEO Ben Deda about innovative solutions to sell into food service and market your products. Ben will address the challenges for producers and suppliers that lead to waste and how marketing local products and #2s as more sustainable can increase your sales.




Ian Navarro is a passionate foodservice professional who has traveled the globe meeting farmers, chefs artisans and producers. Navarro joined What Chefs Want in 2012 as Director of Gourmet Foods and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Colorado Division. Working closely with award winning chefs, high volume hotels and resorts, independent restaurateurs, healthcare units and beyond in the across the several states, Navarro understands what top caliber chefs, restaurateurs and foodservice professionals expect. What Chefs Want is positioning itself as the premium foodservice provider in the region and bringing on demand ordering to thousands of kitchens. He has had an impact throughout the company including curating their digital presence, producing industry leading events, co-chairing the new web and app roll out, installing state of the art customer service technology, handling the What Chefs Want brand and more. Navarro has assisted with 14 acquisitions during his tenure with What Chefs Want, specializing in the What Chef culture. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and resides in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two kids and two dogs.

Production - Staying Up-to-Date with National Organic Program Standards Changes to Organic Certification for Colorado Growers

Learn about the process of organic certification and working with a certifier and hear about changes to the National Organic Program including inputs for organic production. Topics of interest in organic certification including container production and hydroponics will be presented, as well as information on the upcoming “Strengthening Enforcement Rule” which may have new rules for organic imports and exports and certification requirements for handlers of organic commodities. Additional information resources will also be provided.

PDF of slides

Renee Delaney is the Director of Farm Programs at CCOF. Renee grew up on a farm in Central Illinois, raising cattle, hogs and 400 acres of corn and soybeans. She studied plant biology at Southern Illinois University where she graduated with honors. Renee has been working in organic certification for over eleven years. CCOF is a nonprofit organization founded in California more than 40 years ago. Today its roots span the breadth of North America, and it is internationally recognized.

Janis Kieft is the Organic Program Manager for the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture. She joined the CDA in August, 2017 and has worked with organic growers, companies and suppliers since 2000. Prior to her current position, Janis worked in the seed industry for 20 years. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Horticultural Science and an MA in Agricultural Education.

Small Farms - The Price is Right: Understand different pricing methodologies and how you can price products for profitability

Pricing is one of the key challenges for food enterprises.  This session will seek to use improved understanding of the key drivers of prices in differentiated markets, as a means to consider and choose among the alternatives for pricing strategies.  Although enterprises may still consider themselves price-takers in the market, this session will challenge managers to consider new market innovations that may support stronger or more stable prices to support their bottom line.

PDF of slides

Dawn Thilmany has been a Professor of Agricultural Economics since 1997 and Associate Director of Engaged Research at CSU since 2019.  She specializes in economic development related to differentiated food market supply chains, as well as market analysis and consumer behavior. Her work on agricultural diversification also includes work with agritourism in Colorado and the Western US.  She is past chair of the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council (COFSAC), and has co-led CSU’s Food Systems and Community Development Extension teams.


11:30 – 1:00

Lunch and CFVGA annual meeting – all are welcome

1:00 – 1:30

Networking break

1:30 – 2:30

Breakout sessions


Labor - Being an employer of choice


Many organizations pay lip service to being an “employer of choice,” but what does it really mean? In simple terms, it means being a great place to work. It means being able to attract and retain the best employees and having a competitive advantage over your competitors in a tight labor market. In this session, we will discuss the “secret sauce” for elevating your business to an “employer of choice.”


Jason Resnick joined Western Growers in 2003 as a staff attorney. Today as Vice President and General Counsel, he has responsibility for overseeing the organization’s legal affairs and serves as Western Growers’ corporate secretary. As a member of the Western Growers’ executive team, Jason provides advice and counsel on various legal, business and policy matters. Jason also manages Western Growers H-2A Services, which serves as a full-service H-2A agent exclusively for Western Growers members.

Jason is a frequent speaker and magazine contributor on employment law and ag labor issues. He serves as secretary on the board of directors for the Agricultural Personnel Management Association (APMA), is on the board of iFoodDecisionSciences, and is a past co-chair of the Agribusiness Committee of the State Bar of California.

Jason received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and his JD from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Business Development - Emerging Market Opportunities in Denver: a 2020 update

Speakers will provide updates on Denver and Colorado’s latest policies and efforts to create new market opportunities for fruit and vegetable growers. This is a 2020 update to the 2019 session and will focus on: CO HB1132 (incentives for schools to purchase Colorado grown products), Double Up Food Bucks, the Good Food Purchasing Program (Denver’s values-based procurement efforts), Healthy Food for Denver Kids, and the National Western Center’s 1909 stadium arena market development plans.

PDF of slides

Dr. Becca Jablonski’s research and extension program is comprised of two primary components: 1) evaluating the farm and ranch profitability impacts of sales through non-commodity markets (e.g., local food markets, certification, or other product differentiation strategies); and, 2) assessing the community economic impacts of food system policies, investments, and programs. Dr. Jablonski holds a PhD from Cornell University.



As the director of food systems, Wendy Moschetti leads the development and implementation of LiveWell Colorado’s strategies related to food systems, food access and food promotion.
After moving to Colorado in 2005, Wendy researched healthy food access initiatives for the National Convergence Partnership while also serving as project coordinator for the “Gardens for Growing Healthy Communities” research project with the University of Colorado-Denver and Denver Urban Gardens. She joined the consulting firm Civic Results in 2007 to help staff the healthy schools and food access teams of the Metro Denver Health & Wellness Commission. Wendy launched her own firm, WPM Consulting, in May 2009. Since then, she has collaborated with numerous organizations—including LiveWell Colorado, LiveWell communities across the state, Colorado State University, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Hunger Free Colorado, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment—to work on a variety of projects aimed at leveraging our food systems to improve equitable access to healthy foods.

Matt Barry serves as Chief Development Officer at the National Western Center Authority leading new business development and building local, regional and global partnerships with organizations to deliver programming in service of its mission to advance global food solutions. Formerly, Matt served as Chief Impact Officer at Gary Community Investments where he was responsible for developing strategy and advancing a data-driven, impact investment strategy through the measurement of social impact and risk across philanthropic and market rate investments. He also co-led the design of the organization’s innovation practice, including the development of a local ecosystem to support entrepreneurs and ventures focused on addressing social issues.

Marion Kalb is the Institutional Food Program Administrator for the City of Denver. She promotes the adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program through coalition building and policy initiatives. Previously, she was the Food Systems Coordinator for Jefferson County Public Health where she facilitated the Food Policy Council. Ms. Kalb has worked with Council members to educate legislators about how the Farm Bill impacts Jeffco residents and in supporting municipal ordinances favorable to urban agriculture. Prior to working with Jefferson County, Ms. Kalb successfully launched the first statewide organization for food pantries, the Colorado Food Pantry Network, working with Hunger Free Colorado. Marion is a Co-Founder of the National Farm to School Network and helped draft legislation creating the USDA National Farm to School Competitive Grant Program. Ms. Kalb was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon, Central Africa and has a M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA.

Production - Biological pest control for fruit and vegetable crops

There are several types of commercially available biological controls that can be used to help manage insect and mite pests of Colorado fruit and vegetables. Each of these has potential benefits, and limitations.  This session will review the status of biological controls available to Colorado producers and how they can be most effectively integrated into production.

PDF of slides

 Whitney Cranshaw is a Professor and Extension Specialist of Entomology at Colorado State University.  For the past 37 years he has developed a research and Extension program to address insect pest management problems affecting horticultural crops grown in Colorado, including vegetables, small fruit, landscape plants and turfgrass.

Small Farms - Developing and implementing a farm food safety plan

Learn the ins and outs of building your own on-farm food safety plan from our panel of experienced growers and get some tips on creating a plan that helps you organize your on-farm practices and gain more control of food safety on your own farm.   

PDF of slides

Meg Caley, Sprout City Farms

Claudia Ferrell, Berry Patch Farms

Michele Marquez, Hirakata Farms

2:30 – 4:00

Grower and Buyer networking session:  open to all registrants

Buyer companies attending:

Albert’s Organics/UNFI Produce
Albert’s Fresh Produce
Alfalfa’s Market
Care and Share Food Bank
Cherry Creek School District
COAST Produce
Colo-Pac Produce
Colorado State University
Community Food Share
Denver Inner City Parish
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver Public Schools
Douglas County Schools
Food Bank for Larimer County
Food Bank of the Rockies
FreshPack Produce
Green Chef
Growers Organic
LiveWell Colorado
Russ Davis Wholesale
Sprouts Farmers Market
St Vrain Valley Schools
University of Denver
Weld County Food Bank
What Chefs Want
Whole Foods Market

Grower farms attending:

Black Mountain Land Company LP
Clark Family Orchards
DiSanti Farms
Elevation Mountain Grown Herbal Tea
Fagerberg Produce
Fair Farm Colorado
Farm 49
Farmer Johns
Green Barn Fruit Co
Grow Girl Organics
Hirakata Farms
Hoffman Farms
Honey Rock
Infinite Harvest
Jalin Farms, LLC
Josserand Farms
Kilt Farms
Kiowa Valley Organics dba Golden West Farms
Kokopelli Farms, Inc.
Lavendar Association of Colorado
LB Cattle Company
Milberger Farms
Monroe Organic Farms, LLC
Petrocco Farms, Inc.
Rogers Mesa Fruit Co
Rossi Dairy/Produce, LLC
Sakata Farms
Sandbox Solar
Strohauer Farms
Sweet Cheeks Organic Peaches
Talbott’s Mountain Gold
Trinidad Benham
Tuxedo Corn Co.
Worley Family Farms

4:00 – 6:00

FREE Reception: heavy appetizers and cash bar

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

7:00 – 8:00 am

Registration, breakfast, networking

8:00 – 8:20

Opening Remarks

Robert Sakata, CFVGA President; Jennifer Benson, CDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program Coordinator


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.


Jennifer Benson works as a Marketing Specialist for the Colorado Department of Agriculture and is the Colorado state coordinator for the USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program. Prior to coming to CDA, she worked as the Western Campaigns Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition, leading strategic policy campaigns in Colorado and New Mexico. She completed her Juris Doctor degree at the University of Colorado Law School and is a licensed Colorado attorney. Jennifer comes to Colorado by way of her hometown of Monroe City, Missouri where her family operates a family farm and grain elevator.

8:30 – 9:30

Breakout sessions

SCBGP - Colorado Specialty Crop Block Grant Program project reports

8:30-8:45am Introduction to the CSU Specialty Crops Program Mark Uchanski
Specialty Crops Program Coordinator Mark Uchanski will describe the research, demonstration, technical support, and other synergies that come from connecting CDA funded projects around Colorado.

8:45-9:00am Ornamental Perennial Production and Propagation Sean Markovic
Applying plant growth regulators on herbaceous perennials to determine effect on production of propagation materials.

9:00-9:15am CPAC Soil Health Jane Stewart
This presentation will discuss microbial community changes with different potato cropping systems.

9:15-9:30am Double Up Food Bucks Colorado Wendy Peters Moschetti
Wendy will discuss Double Up, which is an incentive for participants of the SNAP program to purchase more Colorado-grown produce, an initiative that operates in over 30 different counties across the state.

Food Safety - Produce Safety Rule 20-20

This session will provide growers with information about the tools and resources available to them to help them prepare and comply with the Produce Safety Rule. Growers will learn about what an On-Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) is, how they can prepare and request one as well as lessons learned from the OFRRs that have been completed.

PDF of slides

Cristy Dice is the Produce Safety Extension Specialist for Colorado State University. Cristy focuses on delivering outreach and education to producers around the state, and creates resources for farmers to help them comply with the Produce Safety Rule. She leads on-farm produce safety efforts and coordinates activities with the Colorado Department of Agriculture so that education and outreach around produce safety remain a priority for Colorado growers.



Duane Sinning- Colorado Dept. of Agriculture, Produce Safety Program Manager
Duane is graduate of South Dakota State University with degrees in Agricultural Business- Horticulture, and Commercial Economics. H began his career as a farm manager in Iowa before moving to Michigan as an operations manager. Since moving to Colorado in 1987 Duane has worked in regional and international sales, variety evaluation and marketing, including 15 years of international business development. He worked two years for Cargill overseeing greenhouse facilities in GMO and traditional variety development before joining the CDA in 2014.

Production - Made in the shade: High-value colored pepper production in Colorado

In this presentation, participants will review production capacity, costs, and returns of high-value colored peppers grown in shade tunnels. The session will provide a comprehensive look at 5 years of research at CSU’s Arkansas Valley Research Center in Rocky Ford and will examine aspects of tunnels design, construction, variety selection, and other production issues.

 PDF of slides

Mike was born and raised on a small irrigated farm east of Pueblo, Colorado.For the past 29 years he has been the Vegetable Crops Specialist with CSU at the Arkansas Valley Research Center in Rocky Ford.  His responsibilities include research and outreach activities to support commercial crop production. His research has been centered on different aspects of crop production including irrigation efficiency, soil fertility, plasticulture (drip irrigation and mulches) and pest management.


Small farms - Creating and managing an effective farm team

You’ve assembled a workforce that is both coachable for team work and capable of reaching your farm goals.  How do you develop this team to be high achieving?   How do you provide rewards and reprimands, navigate interpersonal issues, and ensure workplace equity so that productivity and worker morale are maximized?  Join us for an exploration of managerial and leadership skills necessary for optimal human performance in your farm business.

 Alexandra Hill earned her Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis in the summer of 2019. Her dissertation and research interests revolve around understanding how U.S. agricultural labor markets function, how agricultural workers make decisions, and how agricultural employers can positively influence their workforce. At Colorado State University, her primary research and teaching areas include economic productivity, agricultural labor economics, agricultural business management, and econometrics. 

PDF of Dr. Hill’s slides


Meg Caley is the “founder and farmer-in-chief” of Sprout City Farms, an urban agriculture nonprofit building 1-acre urban farms across Denver. She managed their first site, the Denver Green School Community Farm, from 2010-2018, and now oversees operations, programs, staff, and finances for all of SCF’s farm sites. She sits on the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, Jeffco Food Policy Council, Denver Community Food Access Coalition, and the board of Mile-High Farmers.



After a career in restaurant management Michael Moss realized that the beginning of food production is critically important for our communities. Since 2008 he has continued to scale his skills and operation at Kilt Farm in order to help feed the Boulder Denver Metro Area.





Anne Cure, Cure Organic Farm

9:30 – 10:00

Networking break

10:00 – 11:30

Deep dives

SCBGP - Colorado Specialty Crops Block Grant Program project reports

10-10:15am Organic Weed Management Tyler Mason
This talk will focus on the evaluation of four herbicides (horticultural vinegar, Suppress®, Weed Slayer®, and Homeplate®) with regard to their weed control ability, cost/acre, and the percent weed control achieved.

10:15-10:30am Management of Potato Powdery Scab Chakradhar Mattupalli
The research project explores strategies for potato powdery scab management.

10:30am-10:45am Slow Food Youth Farm Stands/Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) Mikhaela Mullins
Join Slow Food Denver and DUG to learn more about the Youth Farm Stand program, which promotes fresh Colorado produce to Denver Metro communities while strengthening youth entrepreneurial skills.

10:45-11am Cool Season Grain Legumes Reza Keshavarz
In this project, we evaluated yield and quality of cool-season grain legumes including pea, lentil, chickpea, and faba bean at four locations in Colorado with diverse soil and climatic conditions. The results will be used to evaluate feasibility of growing these crops under dryland and irrigated conditions in Colorado. In this presentation, some of the findings in year 1 of this study will be shared.

11-11:15am CSU Viticulture and Extension Program Miranda Ulmer
The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board (CWIDB) & Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE) found it necessary to bring outreach & educational opportunities to grape growers across the state, thus, with the help of SCBG, the CSU Viticulture Extension Specialist position was born.

11:15-11:30am Final questions, discussion, and adjourn All Final questions, discussion, and adjourn

Food safety - Just clean it!

Cleaning and sanitizing are critical for farm food contact surfaces.  Learn the where, how, what and when.  

PDF of slides

Travis Chapin is a State Specialized Extension Agent for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences with statewide responsibilities in food safety and an emphasis on providing outreach to produce farms and packinghouses. Travis currently serves as Vice President of the Florida Association for Food Protection and Vice President of the Handling and Processing Section of the Florida State Horticultural Society.

Labor - Staying in compliance with H-2A rules

Join us for a update on how to apply for and succeed with the H-2A guest worker program.  Hear about updates to H-2A from current DOL rulemaking and from legislation.


Kerri Owen is the Foreign Labor Certification Coordinator at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and has worked in Workforce Development for 5 years. Kerri assists employers/agents with the H-2A and H-2B application process regarding job orders that must be placed in Connecting Colorado, housing inspections, and job referrals.

PDF of Kerri Owen’s slides



Kerry Scott is Program Manager for MAS Labor, based in Lovingston, Virginia, the country’s largest supplier of H-2A and H-2B legal guest workers. MAS provides H-2 services in 46 states and in virtually every eligible agricultural and non-agricultural sector from apiculture to viticulture; landscaping to hospitality. Kerry originally made farm calls for MAS; advising clients on how to stay in compliance with the highly regulated H-2A program. Kerry’s responsibilities now include business development for MAS, reporting directly to the owners of the company. This work has him exhibiting and speaking to agricultural and horticultural groups all over the country. Recent participants have credited Kerry as being the first speaker to leave them truly understanding the H-2A program.

PDF of Kerry Scott’s slides

Small farms - Recordkeeping and farm management best practices

This session will be filled with practical advice on how to develop and incorporate record keeping and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for your farm. The session will cover general concepts for record keeping and SOPs, and then work to help each participant feel empowered to prioritize what specific information will benefit their individual farming operation. This session will be interactive so come ready to get to work.

 PDF of slides

Stephen Cochenour is a small-scale vegetable farmer growing food for Denver Public School. He has taught agriculture courses for FRCC and CU-Denver, as well as spoken at conferences across the country about agriculture, spirituality, and philosophy. Stephen holds a BS in Horticulture with a focus on Organic food crop production from Colorado State University and a MA in Transpersonal Ecopsychology from Naropa University.



Meg Caley is the “founder and farmer-in-chief” of Sprout City Farms, an urban agriculture nonprofit building 1-acre urban farms across Denver. She managed their first site, the Denver Green School Community Farm, from 2010-2018, and now oversees operations, programs, staff, and finances for all of SCF’s farm sites. She sitson the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, Jeffco Food Policy Council, Denver Community Food Access Coalition, and the board of Mile-High Farmers.

11:30 – 1:00

Awards lunch

1:00 – 1:30

Networking break

1:30 – 2:50

Exploring the risks and opportunities of the Colorado hemp industry

Hemp, hemp, hoorah!  We are indeed in the gold rush of cannabis in the US.  Thousands of acres were planted in Colorado in 2019.  How do growers produce a quality crop?  Where is the marketplace headed?  What do we know about the business risks to farmers?  And when the gold rush is over, who will be left in the market and why?  Join a panel of Colorado’s private and public sector leaders in the hemp industry for a candid discussion.

With more than 15 years of experience developing and commercializing technologies for human diagnostics, food safety and agriculture, Dr. Jon Vaught brings a diverse background with both a strong scientific and practical business acumen. As CEO and Co-Founder of Front Range Biosciences, Dr. Vaught drives the evolution of cannabis agriculture through science, improving efficiency for farmers along with safety and reliability for consumers.




With over twelve years of state regulatory experience, Hollis Glenn became the Director of the Inspection and Consumer Services Division at the Department of Agriculture in 2017. In this position, Hollis oversees a number of inspection programs across Colorado. The Inspection & Consumer Services Division is the hub of CDA’s consumer protection programs. Prior to coming to the Department of Agriculture, Hollis worked at the DORA’s Division of Real Estate, where he worked his way up from an investigator to Deputy Director. Hollis is a proud Colorado native and earned his MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver.



Dr. Brent Young serves as an Agricultural Business Management Economist with Colorado State University Extension (CSUE). Brent strives help farmers and ranchers manage risk through the development, delivery and evaluation of non-credit educational programming. Additionally, he provides information on Title 1 production support and Title 11 commodity insurance programs, crop and livestock enterprise analysis, financial management strategies, and commodity marketing.



Rick Novak is the Director of Colorado Seed Programs. He is the Manager of the Colorado Seed Growers Association and provides leadership and oversight to the Managers of Seed Certification, Agronomy Foundation Seed, and the Colorado Seed Lab.   He collaborates with the Colorado Department of Agriculture on seed related topics that affect Colorado agriculture.  He is also actively involved in the Association of Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA.




Jake Salazar was born and raised in Louisville Colorado a suburb of Boulder. He’s married with two children. Jake has truly earned his credibility in the Cannabis business over the last 10 years earing 20 cannabis cups for both THC and CBD as well as being named the as one of the most influential individuals in cannabis by High Times two years in a row. From his work building the MMJ America brands and Solari brands to his long list of political contacts along with high powered board positions. Jake has always made it his mission to understand as much about the plant as possible to truly understand how to build a successful business in this Industry.


5:30 – 8:00

Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture Reception at History Colorado Center

1200 N Broadway, Denver

 Registration required

Sponsors for the 2020 Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Annual Conference