September 10, 2010

In Today's Issue:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to the new Inside United Fresh! It's a new design for the produce industry news you expect from United Fresh. Plus, we've introduced a weekly profile that showcases the many interesting people who comprise United's volunteer leadership. Please feel free to share comments about the newsletter with Patrick Delaney (pdelaney@unitedfresh.org) or Ray Gilmer (rgilmer@unitedfresh.org).
 
WPPC Preview: House Ag Committee Chair Peterson Looks at 2011 Farm Bill as WPPC Gets Rolling

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) helps kick off the 2010 Washington Public Policy Conference on Wednesday morning, September 15 with a discussion of the role of the specialty crop industry as the House Agriculture Committee moves to address and reauthorize the Farm Bill in 2011.

"United Fresh and the produce industry have worked collaboratively with the House Agriculture Committee for so many years and, with Chairman Peterson's support, our industry has built a foundation for long-term progress on Capitol Hill," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "We are honored to welcome him to this year's WPPC and look forward to his insights on how the fruit and vegetable industry can work with him and the committee on the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization."

Representing Minnesota's 7th Congressional District since 1991 and a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats, Chairman Peterson was a cosponsor of the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act of 2005 (AgJOBS).

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: Minority Leader Boehner Highlights Wednesday PAC Dinner

Contributors to FreshPAC, the United Fresh Political Action Committee, will be treated to an evening of laughter and insight Wednesday night as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) joins popular political comedy troupe Capitol Steps on the rooftop at Charlie Palmer Steak overlooking the United States Capitol. Boehner will give a behind-the-scenes perspective on the upcoming election and how it will affect the produce business.

"The need for open communication between the produce industry and political leaders has never been more critical," said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. "This is always a fun event and we've got such a great location this year - with arguably the best view in the city - so we are looking forward to a great turnout to help further the goals of produce on Capitol Hill!"

A former chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Minority Leader Boehner continues to shape issues that affect not just the produce industry but the entire country. As a key leader in the Republican Party, Boehner has appeared in many venues and across all of the major national media outlets discussing his party's views on issues ranging from national security, energy, business, taxes, and health care.

The annual FreshPAC event provides members of the produce industry an opportunity to help elect, and re-elect pro-produce congressional candidates through personal contributions. For more information please contact United Fresh Policy and Grassroots Manager Angela Bezon Tiwari at 202-303-3400, ext 416.To sign up online, please click here or fill out a registration form and return by fax to Angela’s attention at 202-303-3433.

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: HHS Secretary Sebelius, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan Headline Busy Thursday at WPPC

Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan will lead off a busy Thursday of business at WPPC, followed immediately by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Both leaders will address the Thursday Morning Breakfast and General Session.

One of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World," Deputy Secretary Merrigan oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA's many programs, including the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" effort as well as USDA's other local food initiatives. Under these efforts, Merrigan pushes USDA to more simply connect farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems. In her address, she will explore how produce companies, regardless of size, factor in to this new discussion of locally grown.

During her remarks, Secretary Sebelius will discuss the federal commitment to improvements in child nutrition, food safety and health care, as well as the role the produce industry has in these initiatives and their impact on the larger business community.

"The produce industry has always been defined by solid, visionary leadership, and having these leaders address our Washington conference is a great asset for those in attendance," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "Both of these leaders have shown a steadfast commitment to a healthier American public and a healthier American business environment, and we look forward to welcoming them next week."

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: Pulitzer Prize, Peabody Award Winners, National Press Club President Add to High-Power Thursday Lineup

As part of Thursday's "Fresh Press" media roundtable, six of the nation's top journalists covering agriculture and related industries including a former Pulitzer Prize winner, a Peabody Award honoree and the sitting president of the National Press Club will join their colleagues and sources to discuss the value of open and transparent communication in coverage of the produce industry.

"These journalists help shape the public's perception of our industry and the government's farm and nutrition policies," said Patrick Delaney, United Fresh communications manager. "There is great value in reaching out and fostering more better relationships with these leading mainstream media reporters."

The panel will include National Public Radio Health Editor April Fulton, McClatchy Newspapers Regional Correspondent Michael Doyle and Reuters agriculture reporter Christopher Doering, as well as Des Moines Register food and agricultural policy correspondent and 20-year veteran of the Associated Press Philip Brasher, Bloomberg agricultural policy reporter and National Press Club President Alan Bjerga, and Tribune Company’s Andrew Zajac, part of the reporting team at the Chicago Tribune that was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. The panel will be moderated by Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of communications and former television news reporter/producer.

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: Hot-Button Issues in Driver’s Seat for Wednesday Market Segment-Specific Education Sessions

The hottest issues in the produce industry - food safety, pesticides and local and regional food systems are on the docket Wednesday as the United Fresh Market Segment Boards host a series of tailored educational segments. Each session will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., and feature industry leaders exploring top issues within each market segment.

"All of these issues are of extreme importance to our industry," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "The breakout session format allows us to take the very tangible concerns that our members have about these issues and address them in a constructive, smaller-group setting."

The Market Segment Breakout Session titles and speakers are as follows:

Grower-Shipper Board: Getting Back to Real Science on Pesticide Residues
In light of the recent attention given to reports of detectable pesticide residues in fresh fruits and vegetables, Getting Back to Real Science on Pesticide Residues will examine  how produce shippers and buyers are managing concerns about residues. Speakers on the panel include Larry Elworth, chief agricultural counselor to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, David Barney, business development manager for Bakkavor’s United Kingdom prepared foods operation and Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for California Giant Berry Farms. The session will be moderated by Northwest Horticultural Council President Christian Schlect.

Fresh-Cut Processor Board: The Image of Fresh-Cut and Legislative/Regulatory Ramifications
While food safety has always been the top priority of fresh-cut processors, some consumer advocates argue that commingled cut produce may present greater risks than whole commodities, at times placing industry members on opposite sides due to marketing interests. This session explores what legislators and regulators think about this issue, and how the fresh-cut sector can address this challenge. Speakers include FDA-CFSAN Senior Review Chemist Dr. Paul South, Center for Science in the Public Interest Senior Attorney David Wayne Plunkett and Edith Garrett, vice president of quality and safety for Danaco Solutions. 

Wholesaler-Distributor Board: Wholesaler-Distributors as the Key to Regional Food Systems
The session will focus on the role of locally-grown produce and produce from regional farms in the overall industry, as well as growing public demand for fresh fruits and vegetables from nearby sources. Speakers at the session include USDA-AMS Agricultural Economist Dr. James Barham, Lancaster Foods Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Jerry Chadwick, Ben Vitale, executive director of the Central New York Regional Market Authority and president of the National Association of Produce Market Managers, and Mike Wise, vice president of operations for Horton Fruit Company. The panel will be moderated by Brendan Comito, Wholesaler-Distributor Board chairman and COO of Capital City Fruit Company.

Retail-Foodservice Board: The Role of Buyers in Assuring Small Farm Food Safety
The session will feature discussion leaders exploring the role buyers have in assuring that small, local or seasonal farms meet the same essential food safety standards as large commercial growers, and how government and industry are looking to buyers to help ensure the safest products available year-round. Speakers include Kent Killibrew, quality assurance manager for Ahold USA Corporate Brands Fresh Products, C. HaroldKing, Ph.D., senior manager for food and product safety at Chick-fil-A, New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray, and Pro*Act's Director of Food Safety Michael Jantschke.

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: Pollster, Author to Wrap up 2010 WPPC with Humor, Insight

As WPPC draws to a close Thursday, Political consultant, pundit and pollster Frank Luntz will deliver the keynote address, providing attendees with an inside look at public opinion and perception and its role in the polling and campaign process, as well as insight into the upcoming elections in November.

"The goal of United's Washington Public Policy Conference is to help business leaders make a difference by being involved in the public policy decisions that affect the produce industry every day. It’s important for each of our members to have a broad understanding of how Washington works," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "As a communicator and Washington insider, nobody breaks down the political process like Frank Luntz."

A key player in the formation of the Republican Party's 1994 Contract with America, Luntz has established himself as a master of the focus group, using small groups of potential voters to test the viability of candidates, issues and even specific words. Through his work with his focus groups, Luntz is credited with the re-characterization of terms like "global warming" and "inheritance tax" into voter-friendly terms like "climate change," and "death tax," among many others. Luntz is a Fellow at Harvard University's prestigious Institute of Politics and the author of two books on the New York Times Best Sellers list, including Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear.

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: 2010 WPPC Christened with Voyage for Salad Bars

The largest assembly of the produce industry in Washington will start with a little fun Tuesday night as produce industry patrons gather on the Cherry Blossom, a 19th century-style Victorian sternwheeler for a New Orleans-themed evening of jazz, dinner, drinks and a nighttime tour of the Washington, D.C. landmarks from the beautiful Potomac River. Proceeds from the cruise will fund the donation of multiple salad bars to schools in the Big Easy as part of United's A Salad Bar in Every School campaign.

"Healthy options in school are a must for kids nationwide, but in New Orleans, which continues to face so many challenges following Hurricane Katrina, the need is especially great," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "Through this special event, the Salad Bar in Every School campaign will receive the resources to donate salad bars full of fresh, healthy produce to New Orleans schools. As part of the Washington Public Policy Conference, we will take the message of nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables for children from this new event to Capitol Hill and beyond."

Salad bars will be donated during the United Fresh 2011 Convention and Expo, May 2-5 in New Orleans. Companies can demonstrate their support via several available sponsorship packages.  Individual tickets for the cruise are $125 and can be purchased at the United Fresh website or by contacting United’s Vice President of Business Development Claudia Wenzing at 202-303-3400, ext. 415. A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


WPPC Preview: Popular Fresh Festival Returns Wednesday Night

One of United's most talked-about events returns to Capitol Hill this Wednesday. The Fresh Festival, a perennial WPPC and Capitol Hill favorite, happens from 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. in the Longworth House Office Building Cafeteria. The event is the produce industry's yearly opportunity to bring fresh fruits and vegetables directly to the doorsteps of Congress.

"Year in, year out, Fresh Festival gives our members a chance to showcase their products in front of their elected representatives in such a grand setting," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "Fresh Festival is in lock step with the most important aspect of WPPC: the chance for attendees to stand shoulder to shoulder with members of Congress and talk about their business and their industry, all in a collegial, fun atmosphere."

Companies on display at Fresh Festival include produce companies, commodity commissions and state departments of agriculture, and exhibitors have the chance to educate members of Congress and congressional staff about their products, while portraying the industry in a positive light on Capitol Hill. 

A full schedule of events and additional information on the Washington Public Policy Conference can be found by clicking here, and last minute registrations can be arranged by contacting United Fresh at 202-303-3400 or by emailing United's Tressie Tillar.


Meet Your Board of Directors

Lorri Koster, Co-Chairman, Mann Packing Company

What values are most central to Mann Packing?

History: Where we come from matters.
Passion: For excellence in everything we do.
Quality: People, products and service.

Vision: Always innovating for the future.

How do the organizational dynamics of your business factor in to your operation, and how does it help you fulfill your company values?

Family members/shareholders work side-by-side with employees day-in and day-out. They don't work for us - they work with us. We are in the foxhole fighting the battle, just like them, not sitting back at headquarters sending the troops out to fight. The Ramsey family has three generations that work here every day - and my sister and I work closely together. It adds to the culture and work ethic. There's a long history of integrity here and that's something that must be earned everyday.

What are some of the challenges Mann Packing has faced in the past year?

Audit duplication adds unnecessary costs and pulls resources away from innovation and other areas critical to our future. We’ve worked hard on hitting the PTI milestones this past year.

In terms of new products, projects or processes, what are you working on?

I can't say, but I will put a plug in for our sweet potato fries. They are all over consumer media these days and on the menu and on trend - now let's get them on the shelf! Frozen sweet potato fries and casserole sales were up 32% compared with white potato frozens, which were only up 1.5% (according to IRI). Fresh needs to get our share of that!

Of the issues that we deal with as an industry (food safety, child nutrition, sustainability, labor, etc.), which strikes a chord with you the most and why?

I'd say childhood nutrition because I'm a mom and I see first-hand how kids get bombarded with advertisements for unhealthy foods and portion sizes. A small bag of Doritos should have one serving - not 3.2 servings.

How does Mann Packing interact with the surrounding community, both in a community service sense and in a business sense?

We contribute significantly to local non-profits and many of us serve on local boards and committees. Personally, I'm involved with the Salinas Valley Leadership Group, which is trying to get more 'business-savvy' and 'business-friendly' people elected to local office. My sister, Gina Nucci, is president of HELP (Healthy, Eating, Lifestyle Principles), which educates kids in local schools and parents in the workplace on healthy eating habits.

What is one thing that your industry peers don’t know about Mann Packing Company?

The majority of shareholders at Mann are women. We joke around that "Mann" Packing is actually now owned mostly by "wo-Mann." 


New Member Welcome

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

Welcome
  • AgraQuest, Davis, CA
  • Food Safety Corporation, Easton, PA
  • Sorma, USA, Exeter, CA
  • Symbology, Inc., Maple Grove, MN
  • True Organic Products, Helm, CA

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 at 831-422-0940 or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3410.


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