If you didn’t attend Western Growers 89th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas this past week, it’s safe to say you missed a lot. Festivities culminated yesterday with the Rabobank-sponsored golf tournament held at the TPC Las Vegas Golf Course. The tournament featured a Million Dollar Hole-in-One Opportunity sponsored by Taylor Farms of California. While numerous prizes were awarded to successful teams in the scramble-format tournament, the Hole-in-One proved elusive. The rest of the week, however, was filled with enough fun, entertainment and learning opportunities.
The week kicked off with the Welcome Reception on Sunday followed on Monday by traditional Annual Meeting activities such as the Board of Directors meeting, PAC Lunch and two educational workshops, one featuring Top Chef Louis Maldonado and the other featuring Google ‘s director of compensation, Frank Wagner.
The Board of Directors meeting addressed a variety of subject matter areas, including labor and water policy issues, immigration reform, and food safety. The Board also saw the changing of the leadership guard when Bruce Taylor (Taylor Farms, Salinas, California), passed the Chairman’s gavel to Vic Smith (JV Smith Companies, Yuma, Arizona).
Incoming and outgoing board members were also honored.
The PAC Lunch featured Michelle Malkin and Ruben Navarrette battling it out in a frank and spirited discussion about immigration reform. The day ended in spectacular fashion with the Supplier’s Event at the Bellagio’s Hyde Nightclub, affording attendees with a front row view of the hotel’s famed fountain show.
On Tuesday, two additional workshops were held. The Water and Cash workshop had experts discussing forecasts for ag capital and water resources, and the connections between both. A final workshop focused on leveraging wellness in the workplace and how that can effect a company’s bottom line. The Major Lunch gave attendees something to reflect on with Bruce Taylor’s inspirational farewell address, challenging members of the industry to focus less on competing with each other and more on cooperation that can improve revenues and help benefit the welfare of ag-dependent communities, improve public perceptions of agriculture and harness the opportunities of emerging technologies.
Finally, guests enjoyed the Chairman’s Reception and Award Dinner honoring Gary Pasquinelli (see related story) before legendary comedian and entertainer Jay Leno and closed out the day’s activities.
Western Growers would like to once again thank all of our Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Supplier sponsors who made this event possible. We’ll see you again next year at the Grand del Mar Resort and Hotel San Diego, California!
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