Access flooding information on Disaster Resources.

July 20, 2017

Western Growers’ 92nd Annual Meeting: Las Vegas Event to Focus on Adding Value

For the 92nd time in its storied 92-year history, Western Growers will be hosting its Annual Meeting, a yearly opportunity for members to gather and reflect on the recent achievements of the fresh produce industry, and to chart a collective, sustainable path forward. Just as many of our members are looking for ways to add value to the products they bring to market, Western Growers is approaching the 2017 Annual Meeting event schedule and featured guests with a singular focus on adding value to the bottom line for our members.

Taking place from October 29th to November 1st at the Encore in Las Vegas, a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Resort, each of the 2017 Annual Meeting activities will be specifically designed to benefit Western Growers members in multiple ways.



The founding philosophy of Western Growers, that there is strength in numbers, continues to serve as the guiding force behind all of the work being done by our association, in particular when it comes to influencing public policy. In addition to the unpredictable forces of Mother Nature, our members must also deal with an unending onslaught of legislative and regulatory mandates, which place undue burden on the industry. Our teams in Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., fight for our industry on a daily basis, and their voices are effective because they speak on behalf of a powerful membership.


WG PAC Luncheon: “Off the Record” with PJ O’Rourke

In addition to our lobbying efforts, the Western Growers Political Action Committee (WGPAC) is instrumental in protecting the Western fresh produce industry by providing critical support to our elected officials. The Annual Meeting PAC Luncheon is an opportunity to raise funds to ensure that the WGPAC remains effective in advocating for the industry on tough issues like immigration, water supply, environmental overregulation and food safety.

Our PAC Luncheon keynote speaker will be PJ O’Rourke, author of numerous books on politics, international relations, and economics, as well as a host of other topics. His book about Washington, Parliament of Whores, and his book about international conflict and crisis, Give War a Chance, both reached number one on the New York Times best-seller list. He is a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard, H. L. Mencken fellow at the Cato Institute, a member of the editorial board of World Affairs and a regular panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! O’Rourke will help place our advocacy efforts in a global context.



Western Growers recognizes that the challenges facing our members in areas like labor and water are too complex to solve with public policy alone. The dynamics of the Western fresh produce industry are undeniably changing, and the long-term viability of our member operations will depend on the acceleration of innovation and technology, which is why Western Growers has committed substantial resources to initiatives such as the Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT). The WGCIT serves as a hub of collaboration between innovators and Western Growers members with the goal of revolutionizing how we farm.



As an extension of the Western Growers technology initiative, the third Annual Meeting installment of this innovation showcase (formerly called the Innovation Arena) will highlight some of the best and brightest minds at the intersection of fresh produce and technology. Those in attendance will learn about innovations and specialized services designed to help our members manage scarce resources, overcome marketplace pressure and deliver higher quality produce. Selected start-up companies will present new ideas in ag technology before a panel of judges, venture capitalists, and audience members.



At the root of Western Growers’ value proposition is its ability to provide timely information and resources to help members make more informed and better business decisions. The Annual Meeting workshops provide an unparalleled opportunity to explore trending topics that matter most to the membership. The goal is to gather experienced speakers to give idea-focused talks that foster learning and provoke conversations that move these ideas forward.



The cannabis breakout session will delve into the current growth of California’s marijuana industry and the role this commodity will play in the state’s agricultural future. Ultimately, the question of what the growing popularity of legalized marijuana means for the established agriculture community will be discussed.



Whether or not we’ll have clarity on repeal-and-replace, the fact remains that our healthcare landscape is ever-changing. The healthcare workshop will provide members with expert analysis on the current state-of-play and offer the latest guidance on providing effective and compliant health care benefits for their workers.



Immigration remains a critical issue for agriculture. For years, Western Growers has fought for a legal and stable workforce that not only supports the industry, but ensures those who have worked alongside our members are afforded the basic human dignity they deserve. The immigration session will provide up-to-date analysis on the prospects of immigration reform under the Trump Administration.



Arguably more than any other industry, the foundation of agriculture is built on relationships. The Western Growers Annual Meeting offers the opportunity for members to cultivate their networks by connecting with key players in the fresh produce industry. With a variety of events spanning from the opening Welcome Reception to the closing Golf Tournament—and everything in between—attendees will benefit from the chance to reconnect with old friends and discover future business partners, potential customers or valuable suppliers.



Above all, the Annual Meeting is a celebration of what makes Western Growers so successful and our fresh produce industry so special: the people.


Chairman’s Luncheon and Keynote

The Luncheon will recognize the superb year of leadership provided to Western Growers by outgoing Chairman Sammy Duda. His much anticipated Chairman’s Address will be followed up by a keynote speech from Kristen Soltis Anderson, a political writer and media personality, pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights, a research and analytics firm. She was one of TIME’s “30 Under 30 Changing the World” and has been featured as one of ELLE’s 2016 “Most Compelling Women in Washington.”


Award of Honor Dinner Gala

The Gala will honor one of the agriculture industry’s most distinguished pioneers, David Gill, as the 2017 Award of Honor recipient [see coverage of the award on pages 17–22]. The Award of Honor is Western Growers’ highest recognition of industry achievement and is given to individuals who have contributed extensively to the agricultural community.

“David’s compelling life story and incredible achievements are a testament to his commitment to agriculture,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “His drive and perseverance are inspiring, and his impact will echo throughout the industry for years to come.”

The evening’s entertainment will be courtesy of the King of Clean comedy, Jim Gaffigan.


For more information or to register, visit the 2017 Western Growers Annual Meeting website ( or contact Cheryl Hall (949.885.2268).