A trio of California water specialists will be among the headline speakers addressing pressing agricultural issues at the 33rd Annual Agribusiness Management Conference on Nov. 5 in Fresno.

This year’s event, “Issues and Outlook for 2015,” will focus on emerging issues and the outlook for California agriculture for the coming year. The program will host an array of economic, legal, water and industry experts.

Agricultural economist Terry Barr will lead the morning lineup of speakers by presenting his economic outlook for 2015, including the economic impact of the drought. Barr is chief economist for CoBank, a national cooperative within the farm credit system.

Lynnette Jacquez of CJ Lake, LLC will discuss the status of U.S. immigration reform and its impact in California and the Central Valley. Jacquez has experience in private law practice, government relations and the federal government, including counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under former Chairman Peter W. Rodino (D-N.J.) through the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and International Law. Jacquez had primary responsibility for drafting and processing the Immigration Reform Act of 1986.

Water continues to loom largest in most people’s minds, noted Dr. Mechel Paggi, director of Fresno State’s Center for Agricultural Business and conference chair.

“Our industry continues to face major challenges such as food safety and immigration reform, but surely the drought is the greatest threat to California agriculture today,” Paggi said.

Water panelists include Richard Howitt, professor emeritus in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis; Dane Mathis, senior engineering geologist for the California Department of Water Resources’ Division of Integrated Water Management; and Dan Dooley, senior vice president of the University of California.

Howitt will discuss the recent drought crisis report he co-authored, revealing California’s economy will lose $2.2 billion of income and 17,000 jobs this year as a result of the drought.

Panelists also will discuss legislative action being proposed in Sacramento.

The morning session will conclude with a discussion of “Food Safety Risks and Mitigation,” directed by industry leaders including Roger Isom, president and CEO of Western Agricultural Processors Association and the California Cotton Ginner and Growers Associations; David Acheson, president and CEO of the Acheson Group, LLC; and Martin Wiedmann, professor in the Department of Food Science and Cornell University.

George H. Soares, a Hanford dairy operator and founding member and managing partner in the law firm of Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP, will be the keynote speaker at the conference luncheon. Soares regularly appears before the California State Legislature and has helped to draft thousands of legislative and regulatory proposals affecting agricultural and other interests.

In addition to this year’s conference, leaders in California’s dairy industry will hold a mini-forum after lunch.

The conference will be held at the Hotel and Conference Center downtown (formally the Radisson). Early registration fee (by Oct. 25) is $100. Late or walk-in is $125. For more information, call 559.278.4405 or visit www.csufcab.com.

For more information contact Mechel Paggi at mpaggi@csufresno.edu.


(Copy by University Communications news intern Jodi Raley)