(Dec. 16, 10:50 a.m.) The University of California-Davis Postharvest Technology Research & Information Center is expanding its produce industry information offerings with a course titled “Fresh Produce Marketing Strategies.”

The three-day course, scheduled for March 24-26 in the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Theater, is designed to meet the needs of fresh produce industry managers and executives by improving their ability to develop and execute marketing strategies, said the center’s executive director Jim Gorny.

“Typically, no one gets a degree in produce, and then you learn through the school of hard knocks,” Gorny said. “That’s OK, but it limits your horizons.”

The new course is part of a strategy of building a portfolio of courses suited to the needs of the produce industry, Gorny said.

“There are a lot of challenges in the industry right now,” Gorny said. “This is not the time to cut back on marketing, so we’re arming people with tools to take back to their companies.”

Developed by Roberta Cook, marketing economist with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California-Davis, and other leading produce marketing professionals, the program includes case studies and practical discussions featuring classroom discussions and breakout sessions covering such topics as consolidation, channel blurring and evolving consumer preferences.

“(Cook) is a wealth of information, and she works very closely with the industry,” Gorny said. “We decided that with her expertise, it was time for a stand-alone course on marketing.”

Registration is under way, and space is limited to 45 participants.