Program Will Explore Area's Agribusiness Future


Ventura County's climate, its proximity to the Port of Hueneme and the Pacific Rim, and the skills of its farming community make it an attractive agricultural region.

The trick, industry leaders say, is taking full advantage of those attributes to keep ahead of the competition. And maximizing potential has been the purpose of a series of forums conducted by the Pacific Agribusiness Alliance, a collection of members of the local agricultural community.

The organization has scheduled another program, "Agribusiness--Year 2000 and Beyond," Sept. 9 at the Residence Inn near Marriott in Oxnard. The program is intended to educate the local agricultural community on the latest advancements in the industry and to boost the awareness of the general public about agriculture.

"Ventura County, even though it doesn't have the most acres in production in California, has the highest dollar return per acre of any county in California," said Betsy Chess, vice president of the Pacific Agribusiness Alliance and publisher of The Harvester, a Ventura County agriculture trade magazine.

"The alliance has come together to try to make people aware of the importance of agriculture to the community--people who might not think of themselves as tied in with agriculture," she said. "Bankers, people doing tissue culturing, people in the transportation business. What we are going to be talking about [at the forum] are things that are going to further this aim. We want to be the Silicon Valley of agriculture."

The Pacific Agribusiness Alliance program will include presentations by Fred Robinson, executive director for the Assn. of Retarded Citizens, who will discuss agriculture employment opportunities for disabled workers; John Slover of Primus Labs, who will discuss food safety, and Menelaos Athanassiadis of Underwood Farms, who will discuss innovations in marketing and packaging of produce.

General admission is $15, and the reservation deadline is Friday. Call 278-9559 for more information.

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