Two major challenges for Colorado produce growers — food safety and water — will be at the top of the agenda when produce growers gather for the Second Annual Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) Conference, Feb. 17, 2016, at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel.

Two major challenges for Colorado produce growers — food safety and water — will be at the top of the agenda when produce growers gather for the Second Annual Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) Conference, Feb. 17, 2016, at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Elvis Cordova and USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Specialty Crops Program representative Leanne Skelton, who is concurrently on staff with the Food and Drug Administration, will address the new FDA food safety rules implemented last November under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2015. In addition to discussing how the new rules will impact growers' operations, a question and answer time is part of the agenda.

"These new rules affect all produce growers, so we are pleased to have Ms. Skelton and Mr. Cordova at our conference to begin the dialog with growers," said CFVGA Food Safety Committee Chair Dominic DiSanti, DiSanti Farms, Pueblo, Colorado.

Also on the agenda is (retired) Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs, a renowned expert on Colorado water law and history. Currently the co-director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Program at the University of Denver School of Law, he has authored five books.

"The availability of irrigation water is a vital production challenge for Colorado growers, and we are so very pleased to have the expertise of Justice Hobbs at our conference," said CFVGA President and Water Committee Chair Robert Sakata, Sakata Farms, Brighton, Colorado. "Food safety and water are just two of the many issues that will be addressed at our conference. I encourage all produce growers to attend."

In addition, the conference will feature grower/buyer networking opportunities as well as resources for growers in the areas of labor, nutrition, business development and updates on current and future research. During the conference the CFVGA membership will participate in board of director elections and vote on other items of business. Early registration rates end Jan. 25. For more information and to register, visit http://cfvga.org.

The CFVGA is comprised of more than 150 members, including growers of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $300 million to Colorado at the farm gate and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 60,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production. For more on the CFVGA, visit http://coloradoproduce.org.