2023 Produce Labor Conference

Join us Thursday, December 14, 2023 at the Pueblo Convention Center
for a solutions focused event with lunch featuring Colorado produce

When: Thursday, December 14 from 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Where:  Pueblo Convention Center, 320 Central Main St., Pueblo, CO 81003

Lodging:  Book by Nov 29 at $115 per night with Courtyard Mariott Downtown Pueblo in the CFVGA room block.  This hotel is attached to the convention center for easy access to both spaces.  

Meals:  Breakfast is on your own.  Lunch and breaks are included.  

Registration:  Click here. $50 member/$70 non-member.  First time grower members receive FREE annual membership and save $20.  First click here to claim your free membership. Use code first-timer on payment page.  Then register for the conference with the link above.

Registration will remain open however we cannot guarantee lunch after Noon on Wednesday, December 6 (meal count is due to the kitchen on Dec 6).  

Exhibitors spaces available:  Three hours of business networking time.
Set up afternoon of December 13.

Sponsors:  Free to Platinum and Gold.  $75 Silver.  $100 Bronze.   

Non-sponsors:    $125 member/$260 non-member.  $105 non-profit. 

10′ x 8′ booth with 6′ table and chairs.  Electricity $100.  FREE Wi-Fi.  

Contact:  Registration and Exhibitor questions?  Marilyn Drake, CFVGA ED, admin@coloradoproduce.org  | 303-594-3827

Exhibitors Include:

Wednesday, December 13

1:00 – 5:00 pm:  Primary Exhibitor Set Up 

Thursday, December 14

Breakfast on your own.  Marriott Bistro opens at 6:00 am

7:00 – 8:15 am:  Final Exhibitor Set Up.  Registration and networking with coffee and tea.

8:15 – 10:00 am:  General Session –  Updates, Labor Research, and Compliance:  Federal and Colorado News

Jason Resnick, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Western Growers, provides overview of the Biden Rule, AEWR Rule, Dept. of Labor and Dept. of Homeland Security proposed rules to enhance worker protections, and a proposal to increase petitition fees.

Join Francisco Avelar for an overview of an emerging opportunity with an H-2A program from El Salvador.

Join Dr. Ali Hill, Assistant Professor of Extension, UC Berkeley (formerly Associate Professor in the CSU Dept of Ag and Resource Economics) with a report on “Projected and Actual Impacts of Labor Factors for Colorado Farmers and Ranchers” with a focus on produce farms.

Join Eric Yohe (Labor Standards Outreach Manager, Division of Labor Standards & Statistics) and Evan Grimes (FAMLI Policy Unit Manager) from Colorado Department of Labor and Employment with Colorado State Treasurer, Dave Young, as they provide updates to:

Exhibitors take the stage and offer a pitch with why you should come visit their booth.

10:00 – 10:30 am:  Networking Break with coffee, tea, water and grab and go snacks, served

10:30 – 11:30 am:  Morning Breakout Sessions

New to H-2A and need tips from the pros?  Join Kerri Owens, Foreign Labor Certification Specialist from Colorado Department of Labor, and Arnulfo Hinojosa, Vice President of FEWA

With farm workers at high risk of developing low back pain due to awkward, sustained postures and repetitive, manual material handling the use of exoskeletons in agriculture is starting to be explored. A review of the research conducted on low-back exoskeletons in agriculture will be presented along with the results of three pilot studies Pinnacol Assurance conducted testing the HeroWear Apex exoskeleton in manufacturing and construction operations. A demonstration of the HeroWear Apex exoskeleton will be provided and attendees will have the opportunity to try one on. The Total Worker Health approach recognizes how work influences worker health, which in turn has an effect on work outcomes.  This approach prioritizes efforts to protect workers by eliminating or controlling workplace hazards (i.e. workplace safety). Also, it considers all aspects of work through integrated efforts that collectively advance worker health and well-being. Presenters: Kevin Simonton & Jon VonderHaar, Pinnacol Assurance

As you prepare for the upcoming growing season, join Tom Bortnyk as he takes a deeper dive into the recent H-2A program changes and how to best navigate these new rules within your operations. Tom is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for másLabor, as well as the Vice Chair for the CFVGA Labor Committee. Topics for this session include best practices for the new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) methodology, the new limitations on joint employment, and the Biden Administration’s proposed worker protection rules.


11:30 – 12:00 pm:  Lunch featuring Colorado produce!

12:00 – 1:30 pm:  Networking with Exhibitors with afternoon water, coffee and tea at 1:00 pm

1:30 – 2:30 pm:  Afternoon Breakouts

Need new tools and strategies for reducing worker fatigue and increasing worker efficiency? Join us for an exploration of farm tested and emerging mechanization that can make the tasks easier and require fewer labor hours to complete.  Presenters:  Eric Hanagan, Hanagan Farms and Michael Moss, Kilt Farm

Are your time clock and payroll systems ready for tracking overtime and generating payroll reports for new Colorado laws?  Hear from companies with products that may be a fit for your business.  Presenters:  Mariah Kurpuis from FieldClock and Jason Titterington from Datatech

As an employer, are you familiar with the CDA’s new program, which curates a list of services, many of which are available ONLY to ag workers, that can be used to attract and retain a local workforce? Might this program provide a positive alternative for workers to meet with key service providers via cell calls or texts?  Join Aldo Parra, Manager of the Ag Workforce Services Program.

2:30 – 3:30 pm:  Closing session – Emerging Strategies for Business Management and Compliance with Overtime Rules

How are produce farmers planning to navigate overtime wages in 2024 and beyond?  What worked in 2023?  Are staffing changes, automations, machines, and production efficiencies the answer?  Hear Colorado farm employers discuss proven and emerging tools and strategies that can help you contain payroll costs while meeting your business goals.  Panel moderated by Emily King, CFVGA Labor Committee Chair, Fagerberg Produce.  Panelists:  Michael Hirakata, Hirakata Farms, Bruce Talbott, Talbott Farms, and Chris Thompson,  DiTomaso Farms, and Chuck Hanagan, Hanangan Farms

3:30 pm:  Adjourn

4:00 – 5:00 pm:  Continued Networking at Brues Ale House, 120 E Riverwalk, Pueblo, CO 81003

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