National produce expert Steve Lutz will visit Fresno State to discuss the abundance of new products in the fruit and vegetable produce industry and how it affects consumer purchase behavior at the 38th annual Agribusiness Management Conference

The conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Satellite Student Union (2485 E. San Ramon Ave.) at Fresno State. 

Lutz will be joined by six industry experts to address this year’s theme of “Data Decisions and Connectivity.” Lutz was named by The Packer magazine as its apple industry person of the year in 2000 and one of its top 25 industry leaders in 2015.

The conference provides a venue for the state’s agricultural business, economic, political and research sectors, as well as Fresno State faculty, staff and students to learn about issues affecting the Central Valley and beyond. 

Elliott Balch, chief operating officer for the Central Valley Community Foundation, will provide highlights from the previous week’s California Economic Summit that brings private, public and civic leaders from across the state to the two-day conference in Fresno. 

Julie Adams, vice president of global technical, regulatory and government affairs for The Almond Board of California, will speak on specialty crop international trade relations and tariffs. 

Daniel Royer, president and CEO of Great Oak LLC, will present on ways digital transformations can better connect food and agricultural technology providers and users.

The conference will also feature a water roundtable entitled “Understanding Water Myths: Are We Net Importers or Exporters of Water in the Central Valley?” Experts on the panel include Sarge Green, Center for Irrigation Technology project director; Gregory Kelley, former California Olive Ranch president and CEO; and Ken Ramos, Central Valley Community Bank executive vice president and market executive for its southern region. 

Dr. Dennis Nef, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, will deliver a data-packed and inspiring closing message entitled “Transformation Change: Appalachia of the West is Not Our Future.” 

Registration for the conference is $125 by Monday, Nov. 11. Pre-registered faculty can attend for $25. 

The Agribusiness Management Conference is one of the pillar events of the campus Food, Family and Farm Month that runs through Saturday, Nov. 23 and features more than 25 events hosted by Jordan College academic departments, campus farm enterprises, research centers and student organizations. 

For more information, contact the Institute for Food and Agriculture at or 559.278.4405.