A major California agriculture symposium sponsored by three of California's leading agricultural universities and several industry organizations will explore challenges and opportunities facing California agriculture on March 23 and 24, 2005, at the Arden West Hilton in Sacramento.

California Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura will deliver the keynote address to open a two-day discussion of forces driving California agriculture over the next decade and related challenges and opportunities. Featured speakers also will include Fresno County farm leader and agri-businessman Stuart Woolf, as well as other farm and industry leaders, government officials and university faculty.

Special sessions on public policy, technology, marketing and management will cover such topics as air and water quality, biotechnology, food quality and safety, environmental regulation, marketing new and specialty crops, international trade and policy, rural and urban interface issues, pest management, farm labor and water policy. There will also be poster sessions showcasing the latest agricultural research and a reception featuring a tasting of California wines and produce.

Symposium sponsors are the University of California Agricultural Issues Center, UC Specialty Crops Research Program, the California Institute for the Study of Specialty Crops at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and the Center for Agricultural Business at California State University, Fresno. The California Department of Food and Agriculture and agricultural industry groups are contributing as co-sponsors.

Organizers are encouraging early registration as space is limited to 300 participants. The $125 registration fee for the two-day event includes conference materials, meals and the California tasting. After Feb. 25, the registration fee will increase to $200.

For further information visit www.CalAgSymposium.org or phone (530) 752-1748 or (530) 752-2320.