RIT to Host Food Processing Conference Highlighting New York Agriculture July 25

Event to focus on economic growth, job creation in Finger Lakes region

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A. Sue Weisler

RIT will host the Finger Lakes Food Processing Cluster Initiative Conference on July 25.

Capitalizing on New York state’s agriculture to spur economic growth and job creation in the nine-county Finger Lakes region is the focus of the Finger Lakes Food Processing Cluster Initiative Conference, a half-day gathering on July 25 at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Speakers in a business-leader panel and breakout sessions will also discuss food-waste-to-energy initiatives, innovative packaging, buying/selling local, exporting, supply chains and the agricultural benefits of the region. The conference runs 8 to 11 a.m. in Golisano Hall auditorium.

Speakers and topics include:

Patrick Hooker, director of agribusiness development, Empire State Development: New York state’s role in leveraging regional assets and resources to encourage food-industry companies to locate in the state

Chris Suozzi, vice president for business development, Genesee County Economic Development Center: Opportunities coming to the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, Genesee County

Bob Blyth, president, CH4 Biogas: Challenges and opportunities in the development of a state-of-the-art anaerobic gas digester to process food and agriculture waste into electricity

Tim McCall, Rochester branch director of the U.S. Commercial Service, Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration: Opportunities in importing and exporting goods and services

Garry Koppers, Wegmans: The company’s philosophy and approach toward buying local and how it remains strategically committed to supporting the regional food cluster

Dan Johnson, RIT professor and chair of manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology/packaging science: Opportunities with packaging innovations that support food safety, sustainability, access to markets and competitiveness

Roger Parkhurst, director of North American operations, Alpina Foods: Regional agricultural benefits of the Finger Lakes and why Alpina chose the Agri-Business Park

The conference, targeting those affiliated with or interested in the food industry in New York, particularly small-business owners, is free and open to the public.

For more information on the initiative and conference, go to www.rit.edu/gis/flfpci. The conference is sponsored by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute and the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, both at RIT; the U.S. Department of Labor; the U.S. Small Business Administration; and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.


WHAT: Finger Lakes Food Processing Cluster Initiative Conference (free, half-day conference targeting small-business owners)

WHEN: 8 to 11 a.m. July 25

WHERE: Golisano Hall auditorium, Rochester Institute of Technology

INFORMATION: www.rit.edu/gis/flfpci or ejccims@rit.edu