|April 26, 2012
|2012 Farm Bill Looks Favorable for Specialty Crops
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
As the fresh produce industry prepares for United Fresh 2012 in Dallas, the Senate is moving forward on the 2012 Farm Bill. United Fresh Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther has been on the front line of the debate and reports favorable specialty crop provisions.
On April 20, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee Debbie Stabenow released her “committee mark” on the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. This effort begins the process of formally rewriting the bill, which is set to expire on September 30, 2012. The legislation will set policy for United States agriculture for the next 5 years. Consideration of the 900-page bill was set to begin early this week, but the committee suddenly postponed the mark-up. It has been rescheduled to take place this morning, April 26.
“The committee hasn’t given a clear explanation for why the mark-up was delayed, but there is speculation that it is tied to issues related to securing support from some members of the committee and working out amendments that may be offered during the mark-up,” said Guenther. “The bill is expected to pass, but we’ll be watching the margin by which it passes. A solid majority ‘yes’ vote puts pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and on the House to take action sooner rather than later.”
After a thorough review of the Senate Farm Bill, there are several specialty crop highlights:
- Specialty Crop Block Grants funding is increased from $55 million to $70 million per year. It includes a multi-state component that allows for programs around food safety, pest and disease, and commodity-specific programs. The base grant for each state increases from $183,000 to $233,000.
- The Specialty Crop Research Initiative establishes funding from $25 million in FY13 to $50 million in FY17.
- MAP is fully funded at $200 million and TASC is funded at $9 million.
- Pest and Disease will be funded at $60 million in FY13-16 and $65 million in FY17. The SNACK program is fully funded at $150 million.
The House Agriculture Committee will be holding a series of hearings here on Capitol Hill on the Farm Bill this week. Today (April 26), Dave Bell with the Wild Blueberry Commission in Maine will be testifying about Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance recommendations on the conservation title. On May 8, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on specialty crops and nutrition priorities in the Farm Bill. These hearings come after the Committee wrapped up a series of field hearings last week. The House Agriculture Committee is aiming to mark-up their version of the Farm Bill sometime in June, but that timing is subject to change depending on the outcome of the Senate efforts.
For more information, please contact Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy at 202-303-3400. To lend your voice to the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, please visit strongeragriculture.org.
|United Fresh 2012 is Only 5 Days Away! Plan Your Customized Trade Show Experience!
The United Fresh 2012 trade show floor opens in just 5 days! As you’re packing your bags to head to Dallas, don’t forget to plan your trip to ensure the greatest value to you and your company. With so much to see, more than 30 hours of educational sessions and 1,200 exhibitors covering 1 million square feet, United Fresh has several resources that will make planning your route along the show floor a bit smoother.
You’ll always have a schedule of events at your fingertips with the United Fresh App. The app is available for download on iPhone, Blackberry and Android and features a detailed schedule of education sessions and workshops. The United Fresh App is free to download via iTunes, Blackberry App World and Google Play. Just search for United Fresh and click “Get App.” Don’t have a smart phone? Just visit m.unitedfresh.org on your internet-capable mobile device.
With an ever-growing list of exhibitors, you’ll want to be sure to catch the newest products and the latest cutting-edge technology. Visit our online Exhibitor List for booth location, more information and to add must-see booths to your exhibitor plan.
The Official Show Guide is now available online. Attendees will receive a hard copy at registration, but the online format makes flipping the pages an easy way to preview all the exciting events that will be taking place in Dallas.
And of course, United Fresh 2012 will be a social media-driven affair! We’ll be tweeting live updates from the show floor on Twitter with the #UnitedFresh2012 hashtag, so feel free to join the conversation. Share photos of your favorite exhibits and networking events with other attendees on Facebook. If you miss any big events, tune in to UnitedFresh.TV for recaps and exclusive insights.
|Final Taste of Dallas Winners Announced!
Thank you to our promotional sponsor, FreshPoint Dallas and the 50 Dallas restaurants who participated in our Taste of Dallas giveaway! In the weeks leading up to United Fresh 2012, United drew three lucky winners from the registered attendee list to receive a $100 gift certificate to one of Dallas’ finest restaurants. All of the winners will experience Dallas in a bold, flavorful way!
Congratulations to the final Taste of Dallas winners! Our winners will savor the blend of industrial and lush elements at Del Frisco’s Grille, classic American fare with famous caviar at Nick & Sam’s and modern Asian dishes with a breathtaking sky-high view of Dallas at Five Sixty.
- Del Frisco’s Grille – May Yang, G.O. Fresh
- Nick & Sam’s – Duane Kingsbury, C & E Farms
- Five Sixty – Paula Lukin, Fresh Connect LLC
Congratulations to all of our winners! Don’t miss these fine restaurants while you’re in Dallas:
Charlie Palmer's - Joule Hotel
Del Frisco's Grille
Fearings - Ritz Carlton Hotel
French Room - Adolphus Hotel
Nick & Sam's
Pappa's Bros. Steakhouse
Pyramid Restaurant - Fairmont Hotel
Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
|United Fresh 2012 to Continue Sustainability Efforts Beyond Earth Day
Earth Day has come and gone, but sustainability is here to stay! United Fresh 2012 is offering several sessions featuring industry leaders in sustainability. The education sessions will feature lessons from successful sustainability programs and will cover the latest developments with the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops.
Sustainability in the Real World
Wednesday, May 2, 2:00-2:45 PM
FreshTech Learning Center
The term “sustainability” has become more commonplace, but is still hard to define. In this session, learn about how some producers are making real world applications of the concept in the field, how to get started with a sustainability program, and what obstacles and challenges you may encounter along the way. From California, to Idaho, to global facilities throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, produce operations are working to incorporate the principles of sustainability into their daily operations. Nikki Rodoni, Gills Onions; Bob Meek, Wada Farms; and Tom Young, Del Monte Fresh Produce; will discuss their experiences with “Sustainability in the Real World”.
Stewardship Index Pilot Programs to Measure Sustainability
Thursday, May 3, 1:00 PM -1:45 PM
FreshTech Learning Center
The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC) is recruiting growers to participate in a pilot program to test metrics intended to measure sustainability practices in production. The SISC pilot will help develop and refine the methods for measuring and communicating performance on key environmental indicators. This session will include a discussion of the SISC approach, and answer growers' questions about how they may participate in pilot programs. Jessica Siegal, Staff Director, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, will be speaking and will be available for meetings with attendees who are interested in participating in the pilot program. She can be reached via email at Jessica@StewardshipIndex.org.
For more information, please contact Burleson Smith, United’s vice president of environmental affairs & sustainability at 202-303-3400.
|Global Produce Standards Board Meets in Chile
The International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) met last week in Santiago, Chile to address ongoing progress in global standardization of product identification, supply chain information management and food safety. United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel chairs the IFPS Board, which consists of 15 produce associations from countries around the world. IFPS is the body responsible for assigning PLU numbers for global use, and is working on harmonization of standards to reduce duplicative and costly processes in the supply chain. The meeting was hosted by IFPS Chilean member ASOEX, the Asociación de Exportadores de Frutas de Chile. “It’s important to recognize that driving efficiency in the produce supply chain is a key to profitability,” Stenzel said.
For more information about the work of IFPS, please visit www.ifpsglobal.com.
|United Fresh Supports Effort to Enhance U.S.-Mexico Business Cooperation
Mexican President Felipe Calderon addresses the U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative.
Mexico President Felipe Calderon and representatives of the U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative, including United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel, came together at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday in Washington, DC to discuss recommendations in a new report to enhance the economic partnership between the two countries. United Fresh has participated in the Chamber’s U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative to ensure that agriculture and food policies in each country facilitate free and fair trade for all businesses in the produce supply chain.
“For agriculture, our focus is on building regulatory cooperation, transparency and science-based public policies, while reducing wasteful and inefficient administrative burdens,” Stenzel said. “We also appreciate President Calderon’s leadership and the U.S. Chamber’s support for a comprehensive immigration policy that would provide greater certainty for both employers and workers in creating economic growth for both countries.”
|New Member Welcome
Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry.
- FV&M North America, LLC, Mission, TX
- Jonathan Becker, Quebec Government Office, New York, NY
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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.
|Upcoming United Fresh Events
Join us for events designed to grow your business.
- United Fresh 2012
May 1-3, Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, TX
- Produce Inspection Training Program
May 21-23, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA
- UGA Hands-On HACCP for the Fresh-Cut Industry
May 22-24, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
- Washington Public Policy Conference
October 1-3, Washington, DC