2019 HI Ag Conference


By Christina O’Connor  – Reporter, Pacific Business News
Sep 27, 2019, 6:01pm EDT

More than 500 farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders are expected to gather Oct.15-16 at Hawaii Convention Center for this year’s Hawaii Agriculture Conference.


Hosted by the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaii, the conference will feature keynote speakers, more than 30 breakout sessions on a range of topics, and networking opportunities — all centered around this year’s theme, AGdaptation: Hawaii’s Growing Opportunity.


“What we’re really trying to do is create a platform for people to talk about how do we remain relevant as an industry, particularly for the state of Hawaii,” Taylor Kellerman, president of the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaii, told Pacific Business News. “The question is, how do we adapt? How do we remain relevant and weather all these changes that are coming our way?


“We’re looking at how we as an industry can be adaptive in simple things, like adopting new technologies or even just looking at new markets or diversifying economies,” he added.


Some of the workshop sessions include marketing and branding to build business, strategies for women farmers, innovation in small farms and more.


Overall, Kellerman said that he hopes the conference gives farmers and ranchers “the tools to be business savvy” and “a sense of a greater community and a greater resource pool.”


“I think that we as an industry have not put as much focus as we really should have in the last 20 years or so on making sure that farming and ranching is an economical business that can actually create a decent living,” he said. “We want to make this is an industry that is not only going to attract new people, but also keep them here by enabling them to support their family.”


While much of the conference content is geared toward those directly involved in agriculture, Kellerman said that it’s also relevant to “auxiliary businesses that impact the business of agriculture, whether it be landowners and managers, lenders, grocers, and even those in the packaging world.”


The conference also will feature a Grower Buyer Meetup session, which provides a chance for both entities to connect with new customers. Growers will share their product lists and samples with buyers, who will in turn share their product needs, delivery terms and requirements for volume. There’s also the AGxChange, which offers a platform for businesses, government agencies and nonprofits to exchange innovatitve practices and resources with one another.


These networking sessions, Kellerman said, are one of the key aspects of the event.


“We are segmented as an industry in the sense that we all grow different things, some of us use different tools, some of us are on different islands,” he said. “So this gives our industry the opportunity to get into the same room, to network and to learn about something that is going to carry us forward.”


Registration for the Hawaii Agriculture Conference costs $350. To register or for more information, click here.

Article: https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2019/09/27/agriculture-conference-aims-to-help-industry.html

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