Date: Sep 14, 2009

IRVINE (September 14, 2009) – Western Growers’ 84th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, November 8 – 11, is loaded with educational opportunities and prospects for networking.

With registration kicking off Sunday afternoon, Western Growers Board of Directors will convene on the morning of Monday November 9, for the Board of Directors Meeting, which is followed by one of the convention’s headline events, the Major Luncheon. Western Growers Chairman Kevin Andrew will deliver the chairman’s address.

Attendees will then have the opportunity to take part in the first of three dynamite seminars: Retail and Foodservice: The Link between Producers, You and the Consumer. Join retail executives as they share their perspective on the issues most critical to the competitiveness and profitability of the specialty crop industry. Walter Robb, co-president and chief operating officer, Whole Foods Market, Inc.; Rich Dachman, vice president produce, Sysco Corporation; and Reggie Griffin, vice president produce and floral merchandising, Kroger Company are a few of the slated as panelists for this seminar.

During the Political Action Committee (PAC) Breakfast on Tuesday, November 10, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is scheduled to speak. Whitman follows in fellow Republican Steve Poizner’s footsteps, who spoke at last year’s convention in La Quinta, Calif. The second and third workshops are slated for Tuesday as well:

The Politics of Water. This seminar will cut through the emotion in the California water debate and get to the heart of the problem. The majority of the state's business and residents depend on this unique estuary for their water supply. A panel of experts will tackle the toughest questions. A partial list of panelists include: Laura Harnish, California regional director, Environmental Defense Fund, Steve Patricio, president and chief operating officer and former Western Growers chairman from Westside Produce and John Herrick, counsel and manager, South Delta Water Agency.

Wired to Wireless to Weird: The Technologies Shaping the Future of Ag
An eclectic panel of "futurists" will discuss how farming could look down the road. What role will technology play in changing the face of agriculture, including food safety, labor, packaging and harvesting? Panelists include Jeff Legault Associate Director of Business Development, National Robotics Engineering Center, Carnegie Mellon University as well as other invited guests from both the private and government sector.

On Tuesday evening, Western Growers will commemorate a specialty crop industry icon and former Western Growers Chairman, Martori Farms’ Partner Steve Martori and enjoy the musings of sports commentator and comedian David Feherty during the Award Dinner.

Western Growers’ annual golf tournament, bringing members, growers and suppliers together for optimal networking on the fairway and several dynamic tours are set for Wednesday, November 11. The Annual Convention will conclude with a Rat Pack themed Suppliers’ Event that evening.

Registration for the Annual Convention is ongoing at by contacting Western Growers’ Heather Holland ( at (949) 885-2392.

Western Growers is an agricultural trade association whose nearly 3,000 members from Arizona and California grow, pack and ship ninety percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and seventy five percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation’s fresh produce.

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