panel on the ways in which climate change, more frequent and severe droughts, and existing and potential regulatory policies will impact the future of fruit, vegetable and tree nut production in the Western U.S. Monday evening began with the VIP Sponsor Reception, an intimate event recognizing the premier sponsors of the Annual Meeting at the Diamond, Platinum and Gold levels, and providing them with dedicated access to the Western Growers Board of Directors and Executive Staff. Rounding out the evening was the main Annual Meeting social event, a beach ball-themed Party with the Partners, complete with lawn games, s’mores and the good company of Western Growers friends and family. Delicious gourmet barbeque food and cocktails were consumed long into the night. Tuesday started with an emerging fan-favorite tradition, the 3 rd Annual Diamond Breakfast in honor of our five Diamond Sponsors: alliantgroup, Bayer, Farm Credit, Kincannon & Reed and RDO Equipment. Hosted by Puglia, each Diamond Sponsor presented a corporate video and shared remarks in front of an audience of Western Growers Board Members and Executive Staff. The event concluded with a special trophy presentation in recognition of the generous contributions of each Diamond Sponsor. The morning got rolling with the 4 th Annual Western Growers/S2G Ventures AgSharks® Competition, which provided the requisite drama as five start-ups
vied for $250,000 in investment capital to support the growth of their business. Ultimately, 3Bar Biologics walked away with the coveted prize as its living agricultural microbe products captured the judges’ imaginations (and S2G Ventures’ pocketbook). During his outgoing Chairman’s Speech at the Chairman’s Luncheon and Keynote, Talley provided an earnest case for the importance of fathers in building strong homes and communities. What followed was an equally passionate keynote from Constitutional scholar and lawyer Timothy Sandefur in which he examined the concept of a permission society and illustrated how the freedoms of Americans are increasingly being treated as privileges by the government. Another hot topic was explored Tuesday afternoon during the final featured session on vertical farming, or controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Western Growers Vice President of Innovation Walt Duflock moderated a high- profile panel that covered the grower, retailer and investor perspectives on the future of CEA in the fresh produce industry. During the capstone event, the Award of Honor Dinner, trailblazing agricultural advocate Carol Chandler was recognized for her lifetime of service to Western Growers and the fresh produce industry. Emphasis was placed on Chandler’s enduring legacy of building a future generation of women leaders in agriculture. Capping off the magical evening was a nuanced, masterful comedy performance by The Greatest Average American , Nate Bargatze. WG provided attendees with an exceptional experience that exceeded expectations and looks forward to setting the bar even higher next year at the 96 th Western Growers Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.
Top: Cheryl Hall and Dana Davis at the registration desk. Middle: Keynote Kickoff speaker Magatte Wade. Bottom: Board of Directors meeting
JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2022
Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com
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