July 23, 2009

In Today's Issue:

Vilsack to Headline Washington Public Policy Conference

Secretary Vilsack
Secretary Vilsack and a student inspect collard greens in the White House vegetable garden.

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will deliver the keynote address at United's Washington Public Policy Conference in September.

"Secretary Vilsack is a staunch supporter of fruits and vegetables, and we couldn't be happier to introduce him personally to our members at this fall's conference," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "Secretary Vilsack is in a unique position of helping guide the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase consumption of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. From the first lady's personal encouragement to eat more fresh produce to the many new programs such as WIC fruit and vegetable vouchers and the school snack program that USDA is currently implementing, this administration is positioned as never before to truly drive increased consumption."

The secretary has long been a proponent of fresh fruits and vegetables, showing support as Iowa Governor for the nationwide expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program. During his announcement of the People's Garden on the grounds of the USDA headquarters in Washington, Vilsack said, "If we can get people to focus on fruits and vegetables and more healthy foods, we'll be better in terms of our health-care situation."

The secretary's keynote address adds to an already-busy schedule of events at the annual conference, September 9-11 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, providing attendees the opportunity to engage in a wide range of policy-oriented activities, including visits to more than 140 congressional offices and a private town hall meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

For more information about this year's Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, please contact United Fresh Policy and Grassroots Coordinator, Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3400 ext. 407, and for more on the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400 ext. 416.

Chairs, Ranking Members of House and Senate Ag Committees Top List of Honorary Co-Hosts for 2009 Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill

Fresh Festival
New Jersey Department of Agriculture's Logan Brown(left) educates staffers from the offices of Reps. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Tim Holden (D-PA) on peaches from the Garden State during the 2008 Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill.

House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairs Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ranking Members Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Frank Lucas (R-OK) are among the eight honorary congressional co-hosts for this year's Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, September 9 in the historic Cannon Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building.

As the opening reception for the 2009 Washington Public Policy Conference, United's Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill gives the produce industry a time to shine. The Fresh Festival is the premier fruit and vegetable industry event on Capitol Hill, bringing together members of Congress, congressional staff, administration officials and friends of the produce industry to sample fresh fruit and vegetable products from across the country, as well as discuss issues impacting our industry with key Washington decision makers.

Additionally, honorary co-hosts for the festival include Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL).

For more information about this year's Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, please contact United Fresh Policy and Grassroots Coordinator, Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3400 ext. 407, and for more on the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400 ext. 416.

NLGMA Proponent Group Solicits Comments, Support from Industry Stakeholders

In a June 8 proposal to USDA, United, Western Growers Association, Produce Marketing Association and nine other state and regional entities aimed to foster a more transparent and engaging process as the industry begins to develop a national marketing agreement for the leafy greens sector.

It is expected that USDA will publish a notice of public hearings on the new National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA) in the Federal Register sometime in August with public hearings taking place nationwide the following month.

To build awareness and solicit feedback, the group has established www.nlgma.org where industry members can find copies of and submit comments on the draft agreement, find a copy of the request letter to USDA and some frequently asked questions on the NLGMA and previous agreements, as well as sign on as supporters of the agreement.

21 Companies Sign On for United's Inaugural Management Resource Center

WPPCNearly two dozen of the leading solutions providers in the fields of traceability, food safety, logistics, public sector and more have signed on thus far to participate in the first edition of United's Management Resource Center at the Washington Public Policy Conference.

With the confirmation of its first group of participating businesses, The Management Resource Center looks to provide produce industry business leaders and managers with solutions to challenges in traceability, food safety, sustainability and other business areas increasingly shaped by public policy. Industry leaders can now not only learn about the issues likely to affect their business in the future, but also find solutions for dealing with those issues.

A variety of companies have signed up to participate with informational exhibits. They include:

  • Accu-Label, Inc.
  • AgWorks Solutions, LLC
  • Bayer CropScience
  • Blue Book
  • CHEP
  • Delta Technology & Software, LLC
  • DuPont Qualicon
  • HarvestMark
  • IFCO Systems
  • iGPS
  • International Paper
  • John Deere Agri Services
  • KPG Solutions, Inc.
  • Moss Adams, LLP
  • Produce Careers, Inc.
  • RedLine Solutions, Inc.
  • Sensitech
  • Spokane Software Systems, Inc.
  • USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service
  • USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • Videojet Technologies

The Washington Public Policy Conference is expected to attract 350 produce industry business leaders from throughout the entire supply chain. Concurrent with the event, United Fresh Produce Association's Board of Directors and its four market segment boards serving the grower-shipper, wholesaler-distributor, fresh-cut processor, and retail-foodservice sectors will all meet. Also holding meetings will be the Government Relations Council, Food Safety & Technology Council, and Supply Chain Logistics Council.

For more information about the Management Resource Center, please contact Jill Grigg at 202-303-3400 ext. 420, and for more on the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400 ext. 416.

USDA Announces 2010 Food Safety Conference

USDAUSDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Monday that it will co-host a food safety education conference in Atlanta, Ga. March 23-26, 2010, titled "Advancements in Food Safety Education: Trends, Tools and Technologies." As part of the Obama Administration's continuing effort to protect the public from foodborne illness, the conference will provide an opportunity to share the most recent information and ideas for general and at-risk populations among a wide variety of those interested in food safety - especially public health professionals and health care providers, educators, industry professionals, communicators, trade and health associations and consumer groups.

For more information, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/Atlanta2010.

Highlights from United Fresh 2009 Available Online

United Fresh 2009Highlights from United's 2009 convention and expo can still be found online here. Highlights include videos and special presentations from throughout the show, educational slideshows, networking and education photos, awards ceremonies, PowerPoint presentations and more. Log on to www.unitedfresh.com for more information.


Just 24 Hours to Apply For Family Business Scholarship Program

Family BusinessTime is running short for those employed by a family business to apply for the 2009 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program.

This unique program is designed to increase family business involvement in produce industry advocacy by expanding opportunities for representatives from family businesses to attend United Fresh's Washington Public Policy Conference, September 9-11 in Washington, D.C. The program was established in 2001 and is made possible through a generous grant from Frieda's, Inc.

Up to four scholarships for employees of family-owned businesses will be awarded in 2009. Scholarship recipients will receive complimentary airfare, 2 nights hotel accommodation, and registration for the conference.

To apply for a 2009 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship, participants must complete an application form and written submission detailing why they want to attend the WPPC and what they hope to gain from the experience. Applicants for the scholarship must be employed by a family business that is a United Fresh member company in good standing. The application can be downloaded here and must be received by July 24.

For more information about the scholarship program, please contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400 ext. 408, and for more information about the WPPC, or to register today, contact Angela Bezon.

United Welcomes Packer's Tom Karst to Washington Headquarters

Tom Karst
Karst (right) discusses industry priorities with President Tom Stenzel (center) and Vice President of Communications Ray Gilmer (left) during a visit to United Monday.

United Fresh communications and senior staff rolled out the red carpet in welcoming The Packer National Editor Tom Karst.

Karst, who was in Washington to meet with United Fresh, FDA, USDA and several others, sat down with staff including President and CEO Tom Stenzel, Vice President of Government Relations and Legislative Affairs Kam Quarles, Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, Vice President of Food Safety and Technology Dr. David Gombas, and Vice President of Communications Ray Gilmer.

"Having the opportunity for each of our departments to sit down with Tom one-on-one was very beneficial to our overall goal of raising awareness of our work here in Washington," said Gilmer. "From food safety and card check to nutrition, we were able to touch on nearly all of our programs, and we look forward to continuing a great relationship with Tom and the rest of the staff at The Packer."

Highly Rated Recall Workshop Scheduled for West Palm Beach

RecallUnited's popular product recall training workshop Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire will return October 27-29, in West Palm Beach, Fla. United Fresh  and Syngenta have teamed up again to help the produce industry take control and learn how to minimize the impact of a recall with this unique and critically beneficial course.

SyngentaThis specialized training program is a two-day course that focuses on helping attendees understand the fundamentals of a product recall, including individual and corporate responsibilities, the role of the FDA, how to limit individual and corporate liability and manage customer expectations.  It also takes an in-depth look at how to build a customized communication plan in the event of a recall, and how to effectively communicate to the industry, customers, consumers and the media.

In addition to the two-day training course, United Fresh is offering a separate, customized media training session immediately following the recall training.  Designed to prepare attendees for the stresses of a real-life interview, program staff will stress the importance of adeptly navigate an interview, deliver the necessary messages and stay on point.

Those interested in attending may reserve limited space in the training program by clicking here.  For more information, contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education coordinator, at 202-303-3400 ext. 405.

What Our Members Are Saying about the Washington Public Policy Conference

Charles Hall
Executive Director
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Association

"When attending the Washington Public Policy Conference, the biggest impact that I see every year is the one made on the members of Congress themselves," says Charles. "When they come to speak and we've got 300 to 400 people in the audience representing the many different sectors of our industry, it really leaves a mark. That lasting impression is further driven home when we take those 300 to 400 people to the Hill and into their offices. We show ourselves as active constituents and it puts forth the produce industry in a very positive light."

For more on the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400 ext. 416. 

New Member Welcome

Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:

  • AIB International, Manhattan, Kan.
  • CKE Restaurants, Carpinteria, Calif.
  • Marvel Farms, Harrington, Del.
  • Organically Grown, Eugene, Ore.
  • Public Health Institute, Oakland, Calif.
  • Vego, Zichron Yaacov, Israel
United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the Association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you.  For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Jeff Oberman or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3400.

Upcoming United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events

News & Views


News and Views

Farm Service Agency has new boss after dairyman's exit

Johanns sounds warning about impact of cap-and-trade on American agriculture

USDA sees climate bill yielding long-term benefits for agriculture

California's Central Valley water shortages not affecting tomato supply

Card check appears dead for now, but coming back in another guise may lead to same result


60% of arable Jamaican land not in production

Wales needs a food champion

Illegal farms thrive in Saudi Arabia

Consumers to meet growers at Australian conference

New fruit and vegetable supplier launched in United Arab Emirates

Tell a Friend About Inside United Fresh, or tell us how we can make it better.