Senior agribusiness executives from throughout China will gather June 14-16 in Shanghai for an innovative business leaders’ symposium coordinated by the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis.

The three-day symposium, “Growing Agribusiness in China: Scaling Up and Staying Fresh,” is designed to be a practical, interactive experience, useful for executives in all aspects of the agribusiness supply chain from farming and food processing to retail.

It will be held at the state-of-the-art Jiading campus of the CHIC Knowledge Center of Excellence, created by CHIC Group, a global firm specializing in supply-chain management, domestic manufacturing and high-technology industries.

“Modern agricultural talents, are very scarce in China, according to the survey responses from members of the agribusiness club of the China Europe International Business School Association, especially the senior executives,” said Edward Zhu, the CEO of CHIC Group. “However, China is developing modern agriculture and urbanization, which requires a lot of high-end agribusiness talent.

“Entrepreneurs in the field of agribusiness in China can help boost advances in agricultural modernization and promote the development of agriculture,” Zhu said. “UC Davis has rich experience in cultivating the CEOs of agribusiness companies in the United States so we hope that the agribusiness program will be beneficial to the entrepreneurs and senior executives in China, helping them enhance the management and operation of their companies.”

“UC Davis is uniquely qualified to be partnering with the CHIC Knowledge Center of Excellence to offer what we believe is a first-of-its-kind series of executive education programs to bring our deep agribusiness knowledge and insight about the China, U.S. and global markets to the table,” said Steven Currall, dean and professor of management at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

“The combined expertise of our internationally ranked business and agriculture schools, located in the heart of California’s ‘gold country’ of global agriculture, will assist Chinese companies in scaling up and modernizing their agricultural practices,” he said. “As the Chinese market continues to evolve towards global standardization, attendees will find the lessons from this three-day event essential and directly applicable to the growth, success and innovation of their agribusinesses,” Currall said.

The symposium program will be delivered by leading industry and agricultural faculty experts with practical knowledge and proven track records of success in their fields, including case-study presenter Charles Sweat, CEO of Earthbound Farms. During more than 25 years, Earthbound has grown from a 2.5-acre farm to become the United States’ largest grower of organic produce and the first producer to successfully launch prewashed, packaged salad for retail sale.

“I am excited to be a part of this program at an especially exciting time for agriculture in China,” Sweat said. “There is tremendous opportunity for business-savvy agricultural entrepreneurs in China who are willing to commit to developing organic agriculture with integrity,” Sweat said.

“Those who make that commitment can be on the ground floor of building a thriving and trusted food-production system that can feed China’s growing population with healthy, organic food, while also encouraging international trade,” he said.

Four themes will be presented: scaling up with quality product, hiring and keeping the best talent, best practices in food safety, and global organic farming.

“China is the world’s largest agricultural economy and a very large trader in global food markets,” said UC Davis Professor Colin Carter, an agricultural economist and leading expert on China's grain markets who will be an active presenter during the symposium.

“With rising incomes and increased urbanization, food consumption trends are shifting in China,” Carter said. “This symposium is perfectly timed to help agribusiness firms situate themselves for the coming transformation of China’s food economy.”

The June symposium is designed to actively engage participants in developing a business growth plan through the use of personal assessments, small-group discussions and large-group idea sharing. Review materials and action-plan templates will be provided to participants, equipping them to create growth plans, during the symposium to take back to their businesses for implementation.

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management plans to offer additional CEO symposia covering topics relevant to other sectors of the agribusiness market in China and to launch an Agribusiness Certificate Program for senior managers of agribusiness companies in China to help further develop their business skills related to this market.

More information about the symposium series, including the program and speakers list, is available online.

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