Western Growers 86th Annual Meeting offers both fun and informative experiences with an agenda of hot topics facing agriculture today, as well as a menu of internationally themed cuisine that will not disappoint. From genomics and alternative energy to retention strategies and retail marketing, the meeting in San Diego has something for every attendee.

Featured speakers include WG’s President & CEO Tom Nassif, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, who will speak on world affairs; top political pundit Dick Morris; genomics expert Juan Enriquez; Bravo TV’s Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey; and a special award ceremony honoring former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura.  

With his unique background as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs and as an ambassador for President Ronald Reagan, Nassif will provide his insight into how world affairs and the global economic crisis are shaping the present. Nassif will speak at a luncheon Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m. as will Western Growers’ 2011 Chairman Tom  Deardorff II of Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard, Calif. Political consultant Morris will give attendees a taste of the current political scene during Western Growers’ Political Action Committee luncheon Nov. 8 at 11:30 a.m. Continuing in the success of Western Growers compensation and benefits survey, a workshop Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. will help agricultural businesses unlock the secrets of today’s cutting-edge recruitment and retention strategies.

Probing the major issues of the future, Western Growers is hosting some of the leading forward-thinkers from around the country. Enriquez, hailing from Harvard, will discuss why farming is at the absolute forefront of genetics. He will speak at a genomics workshop Nov. 8 at 9:45 a.m. An alternative energy workshop Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m. will highlight the future of energy and especially how agriculture can help play a role. Rodeo champ turned chef Malarkey will put his culinary skills to the test as he showcases his favorite recipes using fresh produce at an interactive cooking demonstration Nov. 7 at 10:45 a.m.

Finally, Western Growers will celebrate one of California’s leading forces in agriculture by presenting Kawamura with its Award of Honor. In addition to his former role with the state, Kawamura is also a former Western Growers Chairman, a farmer, innovator and inspiration behind Western Growers Foundation’s School Garden program.

For more information, visit Western Growers’ Annual Meeting website.