For Immediate Release: March 4, 2020
More than 300 growers, allied industry companies, produce buyers and other produce enthusiasts gathered Feb. 25-26 in Denver for the Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) 6th Annual Conference.
Newly elected to the CFVGA Board of Directors were David Harold, Tuxedo Corn Company, Olathe, and Dave Maynard, FreshPack (soon to operate under the name What Chefs Want), Denver. Re-elected to the board were Bruce Talbott, Talbott’s Mountain Gold, Palisade, and Grant Mattive, Worley Family Farms, Monte Vista. Each was elected to a three-year term. In addition, Colorado State University Boulder County Extension agent and CFVGA founding board member Adrian Card was honored as the CFVGA Robert Sakata 2019 Member of the Year.
“The Grower-Buyer Networking Session that is always a popular feature of our conference brought in 32 buyer organizations to meet growers attending the conference,” said Card, chair of the conference committee. “It was a vibrant and active hour and a half structured like a speed-dating session to give as many growers and buyers as possible the opportunity to meet and see if they might pursue a business relationship.”
The opening plenary session was on produce marketing trends featuring the latest research findings, presented by John Cravens, Yercic Label. The closing session featured a panel on the pros and cons of produce growers raising hemp. In between was a full schedule of workshops, including sessions on agricultural labor, organic rule changes, produce pricing strategies, new market opportunities, biological pest control, produce safety and more. There also was an entire workshop track devoted to issues specific to small and beginning farmers.
“We were pleased to see a robust representation of growers of all scales and types of production at conference,” said Marilyn Bay Drake, CFVGA executive director. “The enthusiasm was high, with many new growers in attendance. The influx of new members is largely due to growers taking advantage of an initiative by the Board to waive the dues of first-time grower members and to offer a mentoring program.”
Another vital part of the conference were 40 exhibitors who showcased their goods and services to the produce industry. According to Robert Sakata, CFVGA president: “As a grower, I find it very interesting and beneficial to my operation to be able to see everything offered and to be able to visit with vendors about the goods and services they offer.”
The CFVGA is comprised of roughly 250 members, including produce operations of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $485 million to Colorado at the farm gate and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 90,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production.