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Next generation is focus of Governor's Ag Forum

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There's no shortage of issues discussed among the public, media, lawmakers and industry when it comes to food production, and the 2016 Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture will take on many of these critical topics, all while examining the future of ag in the Centennial State.

In particular, this event will explore how Colorado can best prepare a next generation of top-notch producers, who will be tasked with feeding a rapidly growing population, and doing so with fewer resources while facing a number of challenges.

The 2016 Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture -- titled "Next Generation Agriculture" -- is set for 8 a.m. on Feb. 18, taking place at the Renaissance Denver Hotel (3801 Quebec Street). The event is open to the public and media. Anyone interested in attending can learn more and register at www.governorsagforum.com.

The Forum -- hosted by the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program -- will cover the future of Colorado's rural communities, labor availability challenges, succession planning for farmers and ranchers, working in multi-generational workplaces, the changing landscape for women in ag, Colorado's new cannabis industry, technology, biotechnology, social media and more.

The approximately two dozen presenters and panelists slated to take the stage at this year's forum include:

* Dr. David Brown, co-director of Cornell University's Community & Regional Development Institute, and international professor of Development Sociology

* Jason Resnick, vice president and general counsel with the Western Growers Association

* Juriana Sperandio, head of Organization Development with JBS LLC

* and a myriad of Colorado farmers and ranchers, Colorado State University faculty, and other experts and officials from the industry.

"Colorado's $40 billion ag industry is a top two or three contributor to our state's economy each year, employs thousands of Colorado residents, has been instrumental in leading us out of the recent recession, and most importantly, helps feed Colorado's 5 million people. Any conversations focused on supporting this industry and maximizing opportunities for the next generation of producers are absolutely worth having," said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

This is the 25th year of the Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture, which in recent years has been hosted by the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP). CALP, now working with its 12th class, is a nonprofit organization that develops and enhances the leadership capabilities of diverse men and women committed to the future of Colorado's agricultural and rural communities.

Once again this year, the Colorado FFA Foundation will host the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame reception and banquet immediately following the Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture, starting at 4:15 p.m. During this annual event, new inductees officially take their place in the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, while a "Rising Star" in the industry is also recognized. To learn more and register for that event, go to coloradoffafoundation.org.

Additionally, the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association will be hosting its annual meeting at the Renaissance Denver Hotel on the day prior to the Governor's Forum on Agriculture. To learn more, go to cfvga.org.

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