Over 225 policymakers, community and business leaders and ag and economic stakeholders attended the EconAlliance 2020 “Growing Possibilities” Ag Forum at the Santa Maria Fairpark February 6, 2020. The county’s lead economic driver, Santa Barbara County agriculture provides a $2.8 billion countywide economic impact and supports 25,000 jobs. EconAlliance, a nonprofit organization established to celebrate and support Northern Santa Barbara County’s key industries, hosts the Growing Possibilities Ag Forum every other year, in alternate years to the organization’s wine sector forum.\n\nHeadlining this year’s program was U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky, who stated that the Administration’s recent trade wins would help both strawberries and wine grapes, Santa Barbara County’s two top crops.\n\nA second program highlight was an update on California agriculture by Karen Ross, Secretary of California Food and Agriculture Department. Other presenters included Santa Barbara County Ag Commissioner Cathy Fisher, giving an overview of the County’s most recent crop report, as well as Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, who spoke on “The Art & Science of Food Safety”. A sector panel (“Land Use, Water, Housing and Labor”) was moderated by Kevin Walthers, Superintendent/President of Allan Hancock Community College. Panelists included Larry Ferini, President, Rancho Laguna Farms; Jeff Newton, President/CEO, Coastal Vineyard Care; Claire Wineman, President, Grower-Shipper Association, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties and John DeFriel, CEO, Central Coast Agriculture. Rounding out the program was recognition of the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau for its 100 years of service, and the honoring of over 20 ranch families who had been in the cattle business for 80 years or more.
See links below for presentations, Awardee stories, and other 2020 Ag Forum materials!
Click to View 2020 Ag Forum Program
Click to View Press Release
Click to View Flyer
Click to View PowerPoint