Andrew Harding, co-founder of the innovative wine brand Nocking Point Wines, will headline the 39th annual Agribusiness Management Conference that will be hosted by the Institute for Food and Agriculture at Fresno State in seven virtual sessions from Oct. 28 through Nov. 19.

Nearly 40 speakers will be featured in the online series that will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday or Thursday in the four-week window, except Veterans Day (Nov. 11). Presentations will feature professionals, alumni and Fresno State faculty and students sharing perspectives on the agricultural and food industries and consumer and research trends.

Harding’s wine company, which he started with ‘Arrow’ TV series actor Stephen Amell in 2012, is nationally known for its portfolio of premium wines and celebrity wine club members. Harding has infused a new flair for marketing into the wine industry from his career as a SourceAudio company co-founder, cable network program vice president and graphic designer.

Other notable presenters include Daniel Kowalski, CoBank’s knowledge exchange vice president; Nishan Majarian, Agrian by Telus (formerly Agrian) CEO and founder; Alison Seibert, The James Collective consulting services founder; Paul Wagner, Balzac Communications president emeritus; and Fresno State alumnus Vincent Ricchiuti, ENZO Olive Oil and P-R Farms director of operations.

Campus presenters include Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan, interim dean for the Craig School of Business and chair of Fresno State’s United Nations Global Compact committee, and Max Tsai, campus innovation architect and coordinator of digital transformation.

Seven esteemed faculty from the Jordan College will also share presentations related to research and industry: Dr. Serhat Asci (agribusiness), Dr. Jamie Levitt (culinology), Dr. Jiaochen Liang (agribusiness), Dr. Katy Tarrant (poultry science), Dr. Kyle Thompson (dairy science), Dr. Jacob Wenger (entomology) and Dr. Sharon Freeman (agricultural education).

Freeman’s presentation will also feature Fresno State students who are working to develop the new ARCS21 pathway program. The project is being funded through a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture research grant and will create a national high school and college level agricultural employability skills proficiency certification with guidance from administrators and ag educators statewide.

Session specific topics for each day include:

  • 28: Agricultural Economy Outlook – 2020 Perspectives and 2021 Possibilities
  • 29: United Nations Sustainability Goals – A Production Agriculture Perspective
  • 4: Crafting Leaders for the Future: Certifying Employability Skills through Experiential Learning
  • 5: Wine Sales Analytics, Economics and Consumption Changes; Adaptations Due to COVID-19
  • 12: United Nations Sustainability Development Goals – Food Security/Insecurity
  • 18: Providing The Food Experience in 2020
  • 19: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Agribusiness

“This year’s conference goals will bring a breadth of agribusiness topics to the industry, our community, students and faculty,” said Dr. Susan Pheasant, Institute for Food and Agriculture director. “We are eager for participants to experience these diverse and dynamic speakers who are thought leaders in their chosen fields and who are willing to share life experiences, stories, data, research and passion to look at current events as well as articulate a vision for our tomorrows.”

Registration for the conference is $125 for all seven sessions or $25 each session. Students from Fresno State and other universities can sign up in advance for free, as can Fresno State faculty and staff.

The Agribusiness Management Conference is one of the pillar events of the campus Food, Family and Farm Month that runs through Friday, Nov. 20 and features more than 25 events hosted by Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technoloy academic departments, campus farm enterprises, research centers and student organizations.

For more information, contact the Jordan College’s Institute for Food and Agriculture director, Dr. Susan Pheasant at