Recap of EconAlliance 2018 Ag Forum “Growing Possibilities”
On Friday, February 2, 2018, nearly 300 northern Santa Barbara County agriculture and economic stakeholders gathered at the Santa Maria Fairpark for the third annual “Growing Possibilities” Ag Forum (held previously in 2014 in Lompoc, 2016 in Santa Maria). The event was organized by an Ag Forum Planning Committee led by 2018 Chairperson Lorena Chavez, DL Farm Management and L&G Farming, past-chair, California Strawberry Commission. The biannual Ag Forum is coordinated through the EconAlliance Ag Initiative Team, co-led by George Adam, Innovative Produce and Steve Jordan, Baroda Farms.
The 2018 Ag Forum Keynote presentation Envisioning an Agricultural Renaissance was given by Orange County grower A.G. Kawamura, former Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture. Other speakers and participants included: Santa Barbara County Ag Commissioner Cathy Fisher on Agriculture: 2017 Revisited, Roland Fumasi, PhD, giving a “deep dive” presentation into the strawberry sector (Forces Impacting Central Coast Strawberry Industry), and Moderator Claire
Wineman, president, Grower-Shipper Assn. SB and SLO Counties leading a panel discussion (Ag Opportunities & Challenges) with panelists Alexandra Allen (Main Street Produce/Freshway Farms), Carolyn O’Donnell (California Strawberry Commission), Andrew Rice (Reiter Affiliated Companies), and Jim Stollberg (Growers Ag Labor/Maverick Farming Company).
The Ag Forum celebrates Northern Santa Barbara County agriculturists, and helps educate the public about the ag community and its many benefits to the County (including that of being the County’s #1 economic sector!) since Northern Santa Barbara County agriculture is characterized mostly by family farms, each Ag Forum event also recognizes the legacy and contributions of a particular North County ag sector and the pioneer families that developed it. The 2018 Ag Forum recognized the Strawberry Sector and the pioneer families with 35 or more years in continuous strawberry production.
See links below for presentations, Awardee stories, and other 2018 Ag Forum materials!