June 6, 2013
In Today's Issue:
Senate Moves to Wrap Up Farm Bill

The Senate is expected to hold a final vote on the Farm Bill early next week.

United Fresh applauds today’s cloture vote in the Senate to move the Farm Bill forward. The cloture vote limits debate on amendments and paves the way for the Senate to hold a final vote on the Farm Bill as early as Monday of next week. The bipartisan vote of 75-22 sends a strong message that this legislation is vital and should be passed as soon as possible.

The bill addresses many priorities critical to the specialty crop industry, and includes programs supporting essential research, market promotion and nutrition, and continues the support of specialty crops that was established in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Specialty Crop Block Grants funded at $70 million per year
  • Specialty Crop Research Initiative funded at $25 million (FY2014); $30 million (FY2015-2016); $65 million (FY2017); $50 million (FY2018)
  • Coordinated Plant Management Program funded at $60 million (FY2014-2017) and $65 million (FY2018)
  • Market Access Program and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops fully funded at 2008 Farm Bill levels
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program fully funded at 2008 Farm Bill levels
  • Section 32 specialty crop purchases funded at 2008 Farm Bill levels
  • DoD Fresh program fully funded at $50 million per year consistent with 2008 levels

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

Time Is Now to Take Action and Support Immigration Reform

Produce industry leaders phone Congress from the Immigration Call Center at United Fresh 2013.

Comprehensive immigration reform is within reach, and this may be the last chance for the produce industry to ensure that this critical issue is addressed. United Fresh is helping lead the charge to secure the stable and legal agriculture workforce that is necessary to the success of our members.

But we need your help. Contact Congress today and let them know that a stable workforce is critical to the survival of your business. We need you to turn this opportunity into reality! We need you to join the effort to make sure Congress knows a viable guest worker program must pass now.

Take action today at www.unitedfresh.org/labor.

The full Senate is expected to consider their bill in mid-June, setting the stage for meaningful action on immigration reform that is long overdue. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved language on May 23, which includes a new agriculture worker program that provides for a market-based federal program to ensure a steady and experienced agriculture labor force. The new agricultural workforce framework was developed through negotiations between the Agriculture Workforce Coalition, of which United Fresh is a founding member, key senators and agriculture labor.

The bill could go a long way in easing the burden on agricultural employers – if it passes. In meeting after meeting on Capitol Hill, United Fresh is hearing that the opposition is sending a tremendous number of letters, emails and making phone calls to defeat the legislation.  In spite of intense opposition, passing comprehensive immigration reform containing a new agriculture guest worker program is still possible – if supporters make sure that congressional offices know there is a real need for this legislation.

For more information, please visit www.unitedfresh.org/labor or contact Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy, at 202-303-3400.


Registration Now Open for the 2013 Washington Public Policy Conference

Join hundreds of fresh produce industry leaders on this year’s March on Capitol Hill to help shape a better business future.


The annual Washington Public Policy Conference, September 30 – October 2, is the only event where the produce industry's most prominent and influential executives connect with key members of Congress, their staff and top regulatory officials for strategic, face-to-face dialogue on critical issues: immigration, food safety, Farm Bill, research, health care, nutrition, and more. Bring your team to DC and unite with one strong voice and make a powerful impact on Capitol Hill – where lawmakers are making decisions that affect your business.

United Fresh is leading the charge to shape the conversations about key issues, such as immigration reform, but we need your team to share real-world experiences about how a shortage of labor threatens the survival of your business. Register today and join your colleagues in Washington to make a real difference on produce industry priorities and help shape a better business future.

This year’s event features:

  • Two days of Congressional meetings focusing on the produce industry’s goals and priorities.
  • An FDA Forum with administration officials on how FSMA and other regulatory issues will impact your business.
  • Education sessions with expert speakers and policymakers that address your top business needs.
  • Networking events that connect you to hundreds of fellow industry executives with the same goal as you: success for the produce industry.
  • United FreshPAC Dinner hosted by former White House Executive Chef Walter Scheib and spectacular views of the Capitol and Washington, DC.

Early Registration Discounts Available Until June 20. Register Today!

For more information, please visit www.unitedfresh.org/wppc or contact Angela Tiwari, United Fresh political affairs manager, at 202-303-3416.

United Fresh Member Gills Onions Steps Up to Reduce Food Waste

Burleson Smith, United Fresh, discusses the importance of public and private cooperation to end hunger at US Food Waste Challenge event hosted by USDA.

In advance of World Environment Day, June 4th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. United Fresh member Gills Onions was recognized as partners in the challenge, along with several other companies and organizations. The Challenge invites producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies to: reduce food loss and waste; recover wholesome food for human consumption; and recycle discards to other uses including animal feed, composting, and energy generation.

Burleson Smith, United Fresh vice president of environmental affairs & sustainability, presented information on behalf of Nikki Rodoni of Gills Onions who was unable to attend. He explained the activities that the vertically-integrated growing and fresh-cut processing operation are doing to reduce food waste, including a widely applauded food waste to energy project that converts 100 percent of the operation’s daily onion waste (up to 300,000 lbs) into renewable energy and cattle feed, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and saving in annual electricity costs.

At the June 5 event, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was joined by EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe to discuss the importance of public and private cooperation in the effort to end hunger in the U.S. while reducing the amount of food that ends up in the nation's landfills.  Other companies and organizations participating were Unilever North America, Feeding America, Food Marketing Institute, and Rock and Wrap it Up.


PTI Progresses with Walmart Plan

Walmart has set a timeline for implementing PTI recommended case labels, a major step for whole chain traceability.

On May 29, Walmart rolled out a plan to implement Produce Traceability Initiative recommended case labels. The move is expected to bring a new level of motivation to PTI implementation, which has seen slower adoption rates among retailers versus supply side trading partners.

“This announcement will definitely move the PTI needle for the entire industry,” said Dan Vaché, United Fresh vice president of supply chain management. “Multiple regional retailers and wholesalers have been waiting for a national buy side organization to move forward with the PTI to add weight to their requests for PTI labeled produce cases. The industry is now moving towards reaching critical mass in produce traceability in an organized manner.”

Many retailers have been making adjustments to their systems in preparation for PTI, but they face unique challenges in that there are many moving parts within their large corporate structures. Walmart has set November 1, 2013 as the date by which all fresh produce delivered to their distribution centers will be required to have standardized case labels, consistent with the PTI standards. A copy of the Walmart and Sam’s Club letter to their produce suppliers is posted on the PTI website www.producetraceability.org.

“The fresh produce industry is pleased to see whole chain traceability finally coming to fruition,” said Vaché. “And we expect that being PTI compliant could be a marketing advantage for some as end-to-end produce traceability might be featured as an enhancement in their marketing programs.”

For more information, please contact Dan Vaché, United Fresh vice president of supply chain management, at 425-629-6271.


Meet Class 19 of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program

Class 19 has a series of educational trips to look forward to, similar to this one to California that Class 18 experienced last year.

The newest members to take part in United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program will begin their journey this summer.  Members of Class 19 will engage in a series of trips that will include face-to-face meetings with leading industry players, exposure to all facets of the produce supply chain, hands-on training and education with top industry experts, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more.

Click here to read more about the twelve professionals in Class 19 of the Produce Industry Leadership Program:

Bob Biesterfeld, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
Brian Cook, San Miguel Produce, Inc.
Amanda Costa, Del Monte Fresh Produce
Hillary Femal, IFCO
Ryan Fukuda, Avocados from Mexico
Peter Hill, Alpine Fresh, Inc.
Duke Lane, III, Lane Southern Orchards
Sparky Locke, Apio, Inc.
Taylor Martin, FreshPoint – Charlotte
Rebecca Meyers, Stemilt Growers LLC
Bill Pollard, IV, Save-A-Lot Food Stores
T.J. Rahll, Jr., Edward G. Rahll & Sons, Inc.
The program is presented through the Foundation's Center for Leadership Excellence and sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection. It was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 200 program participants. For more information about the program, please visit the United Fresh Foundation, or contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3405.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Produce Inspection Training Program
Sept 16-20, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire
Sept 18-19, Embassy Suites Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

Washington Public Policy Conference
Sept 30 – Oct 2, Washington, DC

Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire
Nov 6-7, Hilton Hotel, Philadelphia, PA