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Advanced Search to Host HR Roundtable in West
August 01, 2008
Cynthia Hoffman

Western U.S. and Canadian agri-industry professionals and university representatives will have the opportunity to network and discuss methods for recruiting and retaining talent at the first-ever Western North American Ag and Food HR Roundtable.
“The roundtable is our way of helping ‘raise the bar’ in how we as an industry recruit, train, and retain talent,” said Eric Spell, president of “The Western roundtable will allow us to work collectively as a group, learn from one another, and gain a new perspective by listening to guest speakers from both inside and outside of the industry.”
Currently, the leading supplier of human resource services in the agriculture industry, hosts a roundtable in both the Midwestern U.S. and Eastern Canada, but has never hosted a roundtable in the West
Professionals from met with Western industry and university professionals July 22 at the Wilbur-Ellis office in San Francisco to discuss content ideas for a Western roundtable.
“Ever since we opened our California office in Spring 2005, we have been a growing connection for agriculture professionals and employers throughout eight western U.S. states, British Colombia and western Canada,” Spell said. “We are committed to our clients in the West and strive to provide the best service possible, which includes hosting an HR roundtable specific to the area.” hired a new marketing and sales associate in June to work in the Bakersfield, CA, office. With an additional staff member in the West and increased client relations in the region, Spell said it was time to explore the idea of a Western roundtable.
Many Western employers said they would benefit from a roundtable, because there is no event that offers the same type of opportunities and training.
“There is no other forum where university faculty and agriculture employers come together and discuss ways to improve recruiting strategies for students,” said Karol Pelletier, director of human resources at Farmer John. “This event would also help develop ties between western employers who share the goal of recruiting and retaining talent.”
 Pelletier is one of the few Western employers that have made the trip to the Midwest for the roundtable. She said she has learned from attending the Midwest event, but a roundtable that is catered specifically to the West will be advantageous for Western employers.
Melinda Friesen, marketing manager for Friesen Group, agrees with Pelletier. She said that while agri-industry human resource issues are similar across geographic regions, the application of the issues may vary from one location to another.
“From a marketing perspective, agriculture businesses in the Western U.S. and Canada share more similar business profiles and practices so an event specific to the West would be the most effective,” Friesen said.

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