September 13, 2012
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh Rallies to Move Produce Priorities, Farm Bill Forward

David Masser, president and COO of Keystone Potato Products addresses the crowd at the Farm Bill Now Rally.

Representatives from United Fresh, National Potato Council, Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and Western Growers rally in front of the Capitol to urge lawmakers to take action on the Farm Bill.

United Fresh joined hundreds of agriculture industry allies at a rally in Washington, DC on Wednesday to urge Congress to pass a new Farm Bill before the current law expires on September 30. Organized by the Farm Bill Now Coalition, the event featured remarks from Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture; and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., on the importance of passing a Farm Bill.

David Masser, president and COO of Keystone Potato Products and member of United’s Fresh-Cut Processor Board, took the podium on behalf of the specialty crop industry to emphasize the importance of Farm Bill-funded research initiatives on specialty crops. “Research funded by the 2008 Farm Bill has helped producers fight pests and diseases that threaten to destroy crops and has helped improve their food safety programs,” he said. “As a farmer, I would never plant in the spring and leave the crop to rot in the fall. With the programs developed in the 2008 Farm Bill just beginning to see results, it would be just as irresponsible to stop their momentum. Many programs – such as research – cannot be turned on and off like a light switch; these long-term projects must continue uninterrupted in order to fully bear fruit.”

Other invited speakers, representing a variety of agriculture organizations, highlighted the broad implications of the 2012 Farm Bill on trade, energy, conservation, jobs and the economy. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Potato Council, Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance and Western Growers were also in attendance to show their support for a strong Farm Bill. 

“Pressure is mounting on Congress to take action on a Farm Bill,” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “The fresh produce industry could lose funding for several critical programs, including pest management, marketing, trade, nutrition and research programs, if a bill is not passed soon. We urge Congress to move forward with the legislation that the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee have crafted.”

Last week, United Fresh joined in a letter the Farm Bill Now Coalition sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The letter underscored the urgent need for a new Farm Bill and warned against the long-term negative effects of the House-passed disaster bill. The full letter can be read here.

“The Farm Bill Now rally is an important opportunity to unite the agriculture community and send a message that action is necessary,” said Guenther. “United Fresh members understand the importance of a Farm Bill and the resources it provides to strengthen the competitiveness of our industry. Now is the time for members to call their senators and representatives and let them know that this bill is a priority.”

For more information on the Farm Bill Now Coalition, please visit www.FarmBillNow.com.

 

Past WPPC Attendees Share How to Make an Impact on Capitol Hill

2011 WPPC attendees learn how to communicative effectively with Congress at Grassroots & Advocacy Seminar.

The final session of United's Summer Webinar Series previewed the Washington Public Policy Conference and delved into the most effective ways to share the produce message with Congress. As hundreds of industry leaders prepare to advocate for their businesses October 1-3 on Capitol Hill, the expert panel provided firsthand knowledge on how important WPPC is to ensure the optimal legislative and regulatory environment needed for produce industry success on issues such as labor, food safety, nutrition policy and the Farm Bill. 

“Congressmen listen to their constituents,” said Robert Guenther, United’s senior vice president of public policy. “This webinar is designed to strengthen the voice of the produce industry, so that whether we are writing letters, making phone calls, or visiting congressional offices at the Washington Public Policy Conference we are delivering a unified, effective message.”

Tony Freytag, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Crunch Pak Sliced Apples and Vice Chairman of the Fresh-Cut Processor Board, shared his experiences at WPPC, nothing that, “The event is the only time that policymakers see the diverse nature of the industry at once, advocating for common interests.”

Tom Deardorff, president of Deardorff Family Farms and Vice Chairman of the Grower-Shipper Board, outlined the congressional visits that will take place at the Washington Public Policy Conference and provided helpful hints to on how to make the most of interactions with members of Congress and the administration throughout the conference. He advised on the current outlook for several issues in Congress, including immigration reform, the Farm Bill, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program in light of economic and regulatory challenges.

The Summer Public Policy Series was a four-part summer webinar series that featured Washington’s top policy experts and industry leaders sharing important trends, observations and insights into critical federal topics. For more information on the series or to access archives or recorded sessions, click here or contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

 

Charlie Cook Delivers Fresh Campaign Insights at WPPC

Charlie Cook, noted political pollster, will share fresh insights about this pivotal presidential election at WPPC.

Charlie Cook will kick off the final day of the 2012 Washington Public Policy Conference. As editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report and columnist for the National Journal, Cook is one of the nation’s most respected authorities on U.S. elections and political trends. During the Wednesday morning General Session Breakfast, Cook will share his unique insights on all things politics, including the 2012 presidential election.

Cook’s expertise has been featured on ABC, CBS, Good Morning America, TODAY, Nightline, Meet the Press, and This Week, and he is a welcome fixture on CNBC, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio. The Washingtonian had this to say about the political pollster: "There are political junkies, and then there's Charlie Cook – the man who knows more about everything political than anyone else."

Register today and join WPPC attendees for this informative and entertaining event with Charlie Cook, as he handicaps the races for Congress and the White House in this pivotal election.

For more information on the Washington Public Policy Conference, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

 

See How the Watermelon Industry Earned a Place in the Smithsonian, Only in Fresh Impact Magazine!

Fresh Impact is your essential preview for the upcoming Washington Public Policy Conference. Read it now and see why WPPC keynote speaker Fred Thompson would never consider running for United States president again and learn what legislation he tried to pass to make Congress work better.

Also in this issue:

  • Capitol Hill staffers cite the biggest mistakes constituents make when meeting with lawmakers
  • See how Farm Bill funding sparked a series of popular YouTube videos
  • Learn which presidential candidate won the most votes in United's exclusive Fresh Impact Produce Policy Straw Poll
  • See how the Smithsonian has honored the watermelon industry!

Read Fresh Impact Magazine Today!

And don't forget to register for the Produce Industry's Most Powerful Public Policy Event, October 1-3. For more information, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

 

United Fresh Signs Multi-Industry Letter to Warn Lawmakers Away from Fiscal Cliff

United Fresh is standing alongside 297 chambers and associations in calling for immediate action that “averts America’s impending fiscal cliff.” The multi-industry letter, signed by industrial, service, retail, transportation, food and agriculture groups as well as city and state Chambers of Commerce from across the nation, has been sent to the United States Congress and President Obama.

“Failure to address the automatic tax increases and spending cuts would reduce economic growth and could jeopardize economic recovery. The time to act is now,” the letter said. “We urge you to be mindful of the absolute necessity of addressing the long-term fiscal imbalance through comprehensive tax reform and fundamental entitlement reform, but think it is imperative that action be taken now to avert a potential crisis.”

The strongly worded statement continued to outline the legislation needed to restore consumer and business confidence in the economy. The immediate actions recommended included extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates for all taxpayers, extension of business tax provisions, alternative minimum tax relief and spending cuts to avoid sequestration.

“The fiscal cliff we are quickly approaching has the potential to devastate the economy, and the agriculture industry will definitely feel the effects,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO. “The industry has made undeniable efforts to be fiscally responsible, for example, the pending Farm Bill represents one of the few pieces of legislation to be crafted in this Congress with a strict adherence to budget concerns.”

The full letter can be read here.

 

United Affirms Safety of Conventional, Organic Produce to Dr. Oz Show

Agriculture groups agree that conventional and organic producers alike consider food safety a top priority.

With food safety on the forefront of producer and consumers’ minds, United Fresh received a request from the Dr. Oz Show for a statement regarding the safety of fruits and vegetables. United, along with several other agriculture groups, responded with a joint statement emphasizing that conventional and organic products are safe and that the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been found my many studies to have tremendous health benefits.

“The facts stand strong – the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (both conventional and organic) is well known and well documented,” stated the letter, signed by United, the Alliance for Food & Farming, Produce Marketing Association and Western Growers. “Produce farmers are committed to providing safe and healthy fruits and vegetables to consumers. Our organizations represent both organic and conventional farmers and we strongly affirm the safety of both production practices.”

“Regardless of whether the product is grown organically or conventionally, the producer is always focusing on providing a safe, healthy product,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO.

The Dr. Oz show is expected to air a segment on pesticide use in the produce industry in the coming weeks.

 

Former United Fresh Chairman Doug Gamble Passes Away at 87

Doug Gamble, President and CEO of Pacific Gamble Robinson Co. passed away September 4 at the age of 87.

Mr. Gamble was born in Iowa and graduated from Peacock Military Academy in 1942 and Williams College in 1946. He received his MBA from Stanford University in 1949. He served with distinction in the United States Navy on a destroyer in the Pacific during WW II. Mr. Gamble’s business career culminated as President and CEO of Pacific Gamble Robinson Co. in Seattle, and he was also a member of numerous boards including the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco and served as president of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association in 1984.

“Doug and his wife Jane were good friends to so many people in the fresh produce industry,” said United President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “We are all saddened by his loss and send our condolences to the entire Gamble family.”

Mr. Gamble is survived by Jane, his wife of 49 years, his brother, three sons, three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.

 

Upcoming United Fresh Events

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

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

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

2013 Produce Executive Development Program 
March 10-15, 2013, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
 
United Fresh 2013
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA