The California Tree Fruit Agreement (CTFA) will host its second annual educational symposium February 26 at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center.

The program, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will provide information from retailer insight, to policy updates, to the next generation of food safety in fresh produce.

Lunch will be provided, with California Secretary of Agriculture A.G. Kawamura the invited guest speaker.

“The symposium is an excellent opportunity to discuss key topics affecting agriculture and specifically the fresh California peach, plum and nectarine industry,” said Sheri Mierau, CTFA president “We are excited about the program and the respected guest speakers scheduled to present.”

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Then at 10 a.m. the first session will open with a retailer panel discussion and an agricultural labor update by Barry Bedwell, president of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League.

The afternoon program will begin with two breakout sessions from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Session A features technology advances in the stone fruit industry, presented by Kelly Kirschner, of Sinclair Systems International, LLC, and Kelvin Farris, of Aweta-Autoline Inc. Session B features marketing resources and tools available to the industry, presented by CTFA staff.

The symposium will conclude with a next generation food safety session from 3-4 p.m. Trevor Suslow, University of California, will present information on commodity-specific good agricultural practices for stone fruit. Charles Sweat, president of Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, will discuss catalyzing change, the next generation of food safety in fresh produce.

“Food safety is a current issue that can largely impact an industry,” said CTFA Research Director Gary Van Sickle. “It is important that the stone fruit industry remain proactive to continue to provide consumers with a fresh and safe food supply.”

The 2008 symposium is free to growers, industry members and interested parties. Please contact CTFA to RSVP at (559) 638-8260.