June 28, 2012
In Today's Issue:
Supreme Court Decision on Arizona Labor Law May Impact Produce Industry Workforce

On Monday, the Supreme Court delivered its decision on Arizona’s SB 1070, a controversial immigration law passed by the state in 2010. The decision blocked several provisions on the grounds that they interfered with federal immigration policy, but upheld the provision that requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they have reason to suspect that the individual might be in the country illegally.

The Supreme Court’s ruling will likely lead to even greater labor force instability for produce industry employers in Arizona and other states that have similar immigration laws. This labor force instability could impact farm employers across the country because of the migratory nature of labor in the produce industry.

The Supreme Court’s decision underscores the immediate need for a comprehensive and practical guest worker program for agriculture to enable produce industry employers to remain viable and competitive. United Fresh will continue to work with Congress on this vital priority for the produce industry. 

For more information, please contact Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, at 202-303-3400.


United Fresh Offers Advocacy Scholarship to Develop Family Businesses

The Washington Public Policy Conference will welcome the newest crop of family produce business advocates as winners of the 2012 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program. Presented by the United Fresh Foundation, the program recognizes up to four family-owned United Fresh member businesses with complimentary airfare, hotel and registration to attend the association's annual public policy summit, October 1-3 in Washington, DC. Applications are now being accepted!

“United Fresh did a wonderful job preparing us to meet with members of Congress,” said 2011 scholarship recipient Tami Martin, Human Resources Manager for Black Gold Farms. “The information sessions educated participants on the issues that directly impact our business. When meeting with our nation’s lawmakers, I gained a much deeper understanding of how politics and policies shape our industry and the way we do business. This scholarship provided an opportunity to be engaged first-hand in the political process and ensure our industry’s voice is heard in DC.”

The Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship Program was established in 2001 through a generous grant from Frieda's, Inc. by Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins in honor of their mother, Frieda. The program, administered through the United Fresh Foundation, is designed to increase family business' involvement in government relations and produce industry advocacy.

“This program allows employees of family businesses to share their perspective on industry issues in a high-profile way,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation. “One-on-one meetings with policymakers are a key feature of this conference that really amplifies the voice of the industry, and I encourage anyone who is involved with a family business to apply and take advantage of this advocacy opportunity.”

Applications for the 2012 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Family Business Scholarship must be received by July 31. For more information about the scholarship program, contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405.


United Hosts Representative Costa to Highlight Produce Industry Priorities

United Fresh hosted a fundraiser breakfast for Representative Jim Costa (D-CA) yesterday, the first in a series of United FreshPAC events. Costa is currently serving his fourth term in Congress, representing parts of Fresno and Kern counties and all of Kings County, and is a member of both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. Representative Costa spoke with FreshPAC supporters on his goals for the produce industry and his upcoming reelection campaign. FreshPAC supporters were then able to engage with the congressman with an open question and answer discussion on current produce industry issues.

“It’s important to show support to candidates who share the fresh fruit and vegetable industry’s priorities,” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “Representative Costa was a key ally in securing funding for specialty crops in the 2008 Farm Bill and he continues to give voice to the needs of the industry.”

United FreshPAC is a voluntary political action committee that provides the produce industry the opportunity to help elect, and re-elect candidates who understand and take action on issues important to United members. For more information on the FreshPAC and how to make an investment to grow our industry, visit the FreshPAC website or contact Angela Tiwari, political affairs manager, at 202-303-3416.


Washington Public Policy Conference Brings Produce Message to Capitol Hill in Bold Way

Produce industry leaders meet with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (second from left) at the 2011 WPPC.

This year’s Washington Public Policy Conference will be the largest ever, offering attendees more face-to-face congressional meetings and insider events with leading policymakers. With congressional meetings always a highlight of the event, we’ve doubled our time on Capitol Hill, allowing members to focus on House visits one afternoon, followed by Senate visits the next morning. This allows for more time for serious conversation with each congressional office, and this is more important than ever since we’ll be in DC just one month before the November elections.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our industry to utilize the strong connections United Fresh has built in Washington, D.C.” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “We’re looking forward to the real impact we’ll have this year, especially with the Farm Bill making its way through the House. A lot of the success we saw in the 2008 Farm Bill stems from our grassroots advocacy efforts, and we’re excited to continue that.”

Attendees will also hear from key administration officials and participate in candid and constructive dialogue with the president’s executive team. Market segment education sessions will also provide industry stakeholders the opportunity to evaluate progress made on priority issues. Don’t miss the United FreshPAC Dinner, with breathtaking views from Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse rooftop terrace. United will also welcome former senator and top political observer Fred Thompson to deliver the closing keynote address with an insider’s look at the campaign process and the pivotal 2012 elections. 

Registration is open for United's Washington Public Policy Conference, October 1-3. The annual conference is the ONLY event where the entire fresh produce industry unites to make a real difference on produce industry priorities and help ensure a more profitable future. With produce industry leaders and our nation’s policymakers all in one place, the event strengthens the industry’s voice on issues such as food safety, farm labor, nutrition and consumption and the 2012 Farm Bill.

Register for the Washington Public Policy Conference now!

For more information, visit the Washington Public Policy website, or contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.


Leadership Class 18 Kicks Off the Year in California

Class 18 of the Leadership Program is all smiles after the Dole Fresh Vegetable tour.

The twelve members of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program Class 18 initiated their year-long journey with visits to United Fresh member companies throughout California this week.

The program, which is focused on developing future industry leaders, kicked off in Salinas and brought the fellows across the state to Fresno, finally wrapping in Bakersfield. The weeklong trip included a blend of professional development training along with meetings and networking with a myriad of produce industry leaders. By touring a range of growing, packing and processing facilities, the fellows were able to gain a better understanding of how other businesses operate and the challenges affecting different segments of the industry.

United extends a warm thank you to the many industry members who opened their facilities and shared their knowledge and hospitality with the leadership class, including Monterey Mushrooms, Driscoll’s, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, Dole Fresh Vegetables, Paraiso Vineyards, Steffanie and Andy Smith, Fowler Packing, Brandt Farms, Naturipe Farms, Pandol Brothers and Grimmway Farms. Special thanks to DuPont Crop Protection, sole sponsor of the program since its inception in 1995.

For more information about the leadership program click here or contact Shannon Young, education manager, at 202-303-3400.


Transporting Produce this Summer? Don’t Miss Best this Practices Webinar!

The North American Produce Transportation Working Group (NAPTWG) will host a webinar on produce transportation best practices on Wednesday, July 18 at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET. The session, sponsored by Sun World, will give an overview of the best practices in cold chain transportation and delve into the roles and responsibilities of the shipper, carrier and receiver in facilitating a seamless, safe, and sustainable global supply-chain. Speakers include industry veterans with varied perspectives: Dan Vaché, vice president of supply chain management, United Fresh; Doug Stoiber, vice president, L&M Transportation Services, Inc.; Jim Gordon, operations manager, Ippolito Fruit & Produce LTD.; and Doug Nelson, special services manager, Blue Book Services, Inc. A question and answer period will follow the presentation and the session will be posted on the website as a resource.

“As summer quickly approaches, the webinar will be especially valuable to anyone involved in the movement of perishables and refrigerated cargo via truck,” said Dan Vaché, vice president of supply chain management for United Fresh. “It’s vital that the entire industry be on the same page when dealing with the movement of fresh fruits and vegetables. We need to ensure the cold chain remains intact and to prevent complications in the distribution and delivery of our fresh and wholesome products.”

Registration is complimentary to all interested parties. Register now!

This is the first in a series of educational webinars the NAPTWG will hold. For more information, please visit the NAPTWG website, or contact Dan Vaché, vice president of supply chain management, at 425-629-6271.


Students and Schools Are Winners with Improved Nutrition Standards

A new study released this week concluded that updating national nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold in schools will result in kids eating healthier snacks, maintaining a healthier weight and increasing revenue for school food service. New nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages would also increase the availability of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in school vending machines, stores and a la carte cafeteria lines. USDA is expected to release the proposed regulation on new nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold in schools soon.

“The new standards will definitely improve the school food environment and will create sales and marketing opportunities for more fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. Fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in individual packages are very popular with kids and will be great items to include in school vending machines,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United’s vice president of nutrition & health.

The study “Health Impact Assessment – National Nutrition Standards for Snack and a la Carte Foods and Beverages Sold in Schools,” conducted by Pew Health Group and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that national nutritional standards for snack foods and beverages would encourage more students to participate in the school meal program. With many children eating roughly half of their daily calories at schools, new guidelines that limit high sugar and high fat options and encourage the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables will likely have a meaningful impact on student weight. The report also showed that school districts in states with nutrition standards for snack, a la carte foods and beverages saw total food service revenues generally increase after the guidelines were put in place. This is largely because more children will purchase school meals if there are fewer items competing for their lunch money.

“The evidence is clear and compelling,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe & Healthful Foods Project at Pew. “Implementing strong national nutrition standards to make the snacks and beverages our children consume healthier is something that schools and districts can afford. The USDA should do all it can to finalize and help implement strong standards.”

The full report is available here. For more information, please contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400.


New Member Welcome

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

  • AgraCo Technologies International, Dillsburg, PA
  • LeafTrack, LLC, Littleton, CO

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.

Summer Webinar Series: Food Safety Regulations
July 11, web-based

Summer Webinar Series: Nutrition
August 8, web-based

Produce Inspection Training Program
September 10-14, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

Summer Webinar Series: The Produce Message to Congress
September 12, web-based

Washington Public Policy Conference
October 1-3, Washington, DC