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The 2013 California Citrus Showcase, scheduled to be held Thursday, March 7, in Visalia, CA, will feature Greg Calistro, executive director of produce for Savemart Supermarkets, as luncheon speaker.

"He is going to give a keynote address entitled The Game Changers: Industry and Consumer Trends," said Bob Blakely, director of industry relations for California Citrus Mutual in Exeter, CA, which puts on the annual event.

calistroGreg CalistroDrawing on his 25 years of produce experience and looking forward, Mr. Calistro will talk about how the buying habits of today's more curious and educated consumer are shaping the produce industry, Mr. Blakely said.

The luncheon will be followed by a marketing workshop in which Mr. Calistro will participate along with a panel of "major industry marketers" still to be announced, Mr. Blakely said.

The morning portion of the Citrus Showcase program will consist of two workshops dealing with issues critical to the industry: California water regulations and the Asian citrus psyllid, a pest of great concern that has the potential to devastate the citrus industry in California as it has done in Florida and elsewhere.

A single psyllid was trapped in Tulare County in California's Central Valley a little over a year ago, and two more were found in the county in late December, one in Strathmore and one in Terra Bella. That resulted in "two restricted area eradication zones" being implemented by CDFA "here in Tulare County," he said.

The panel discussing the current status of the psyllid and what to expect now that it has been found in California's citrus-growing areas will consist of Prakash Hebbar, director of the nationwide citrus health response plan for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, and Nick Hill, chairman of the industry-funded Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee.

Speakers at the water regulations workshop will be Carl Rogers, assistant director for the Central Valley Regional Water Board, and Rick Hoelzel, assistant manager of water resources for Kings River Water Conservation District, along with a yet-to-be-confirmed agronomist.

The trade show at the Citrus Showcase will have "almost 100 exhibitors this year," Mr. Blakely said. The workshops and trade show are free, and luncheon tickets are available through CCM.