Industry experts present on food and agriculture trends in new, multi-session format

Fresno, CA – Andrew Harding, co-founder of the innovative wine brand Nocking Point Wines will headline the 39th annual Agribusiness Management Conference that will be hosted by the campus Institute for Food and Agriculture in seven online sessions from Oct. 28 through Nov. 19. The Conference kicked off today with the session “Agricultural Economy Outlook – 2020 Perspectives and 2021 Possibilities.”

Nearly 40 speakers will be featured in the series that will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday or Thursday in the four-week window, except Veterans Day (Nov. 11). Presentations will feature professionals, alumni and Fresno State faculty and students sharing perspectives on agricultural and food industry, consumer and research trends.

Institute for Food and Agriculture director, Dr. Susan Pheasant, explained that “this year’sconference goals are to bring a breadth of agribusiness topics to the agricultural industry, our community, students and faculty. We are eager for participants to experience these diverse and dynamic speakers who are thought leaders in their chosen fields and who are willing to share life experiences, stories, data, research, and passion to look at current events as well as articulate a vision for our tomorrows.”
Harding’s wine company, which he started with ‘Arrow’ TV series actor Stephen Amell in 2012, is nationally known for its portfolio of premium wines and celebrity wine club members. Harding has infused a flair for innovative marketing into the company from his former career as a cable network program vice president, program manager and graphic designer.

Other notable presenters include Daniel Kowalski, CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange VicePresident; Nishan Majarian, Agrian by Telus (formerly Agrian) CEO and founder; Alison Seibert of The James Collective; Paul Wagner, President Emeritus of Balzac Communications; and Fresno State alumnus Vincent Ricchiuti, ENZO Olive Oil and P-R Farms director of operations.

Campus presenters will spotlight Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan, Craig School Interim Dean and chair of Fresno State’s United Nations Global Compact committee; Max Tsai, Innovation Architect and Coordinator of Digital Transformation; and seven faculty from the Jordan College: Dr. Serhat Asci (agribusiness), Dr. Jamie Levitt (culinology), Dr. Jiaochen Liang (agribusiness), Dr. Katy Tarrant (poultry science), Dr. Kyle Thompson (dairy science), Dr. Jacob Wenger (entomology), and Dr. Sharon Freeman (agricultural education) who is developing the ARCS21 pathway program. Freeman is working statewide with administrators, ag educators, and campus students to help create a national high school and college-level ag employability skills proficiency certification. The collaboration is funded through a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture research grant.

Session specific topics for each day include:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 28: Agricultural Economy Outlook – 2020 Perspectives and 2021 Possibilities
  • Thursday, Oct. 29: United Nations’ Sustainability Goals – A Production Agriculture Perspective
  • Wednesday, Nov. 4: Crafting Leaders for the Future: Certifying Employability Skills through Experiential Learning
  • Thursday, Nov. 5: Wine Sales Analytics, Economics, and Consumption Changes; Adaptations Due to COVID-19
  • Wednesday, Nov. 12: United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals – Food Security/Insecurity
  • Wednesday, Nov. 18: Providing The Food Experience in 2020
  • Thursday, Nov. 19: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Agribusiness

Registration for the conference is $125 for all seven sessions or $25 each session. Students from Fresno State and other universities can sign up in advance for free, as can Fresno State faculty and staff. (registration link:
The Agribusiness Management Conference is one of the pillar events of the campus Food, Family, and Farm Month that runs through Friday, Nov. 20 and features more than 25 events hosted by Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technoloy academic departments, campus farm enterprises, research centers and student organizations.For more information, contact the Jordan College’s Institute for Food and Agriculture director, Dr. Susan Pheasant at


The International Agri-Center® is home to World Ag Expo® Online, February 9-11, 2021. An estimated annual average of 100,000 individuals from 65 countries attend World Ag Expo® each year. The largest annual agricultural show of its kind, World Ag Expo® hosts more than 1,400 exhibitors displaying cutting-edge agricultural technology and equipment on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. Plan your visit at

The Fresno State Institute for Food and Agriculture (IFA) plays a vital role in encouraging growth and innovation in California’s food and agriculture industry in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive world. The independent facility conducts research and training in food and fiber systems as well as market and policy analysis. Its partnerships with industry and the Jordan College’s nationally-recognized water, viticulture and enology research centers and academic departments offer a unique combination of expertise, services, outreach and resources. A key component of its reorganization from the formerly-known Center for Agribusiness is its industry advisory board of state agricultural leaders that help define important issues, collaborative research opportunities and industry support and partnership ideas. Learn more at