Get Ready for the IFPA’s Washington Conference

The IFPA’s 2024 Washington Conference will be held from June 10-12, offering a unique opportunity in a pivotal election year. The event aims to bring together inspiring leaders and significant events to equip attendees with the tools and knowledge to influence the policies and perceptions of produce and floral on Capitol Hill.

This event is the main annual policy gathering for the fresh sector, shaping the industry’s future. It is a significant occasion as it brings together influential keynote speakers and lively celebrations showcasing the finest fresh produce and floral arrangements, along with the Advocate for Fresh on Capitol Hill Congressional Meetings.

“The Washington Conference’s move to June in an election year creates the perfect opportunity for timely events, speakers, and opportunities, and that is exactly why industry leaders should be in the nation’s capital during produce week next month,” said Rebeckah Adcock, IFPA’s Vice President, U.S. Government Relations. “We are so honored to have influential leaders from the Congressional Specialty Crop Caucus, FDA, USDA and our allies set the stage for this year’s event. Attendees will explain why policymakers must address the industry’s needs and share their stories with elected leaders making the crucial decisions shaping the food economy.”

Related Article: IFPA Opens Registration for the 2024 Global Produce and Floral Show

#PowerofFresh Breakfast with Congressional Specialty Crop Caucus

This year, champions in the U.S. House of Representatives established the Congressional Specialty Crop Caucus to better coordinate legislation and support for congressional action that strengthens the sector. The caucus co-chairs kick off Wednesday, June 12, as they discuss their points of view on issues important to fresh produce and floral.

Congressional Specialty Crop Caucus Speakers:

  • Representative Jim Costa (CA-D)
  • Representative Elissa Slotkin (MI-D)
  • Representative David Rouzer (NC-R)
  • Representative David Valadao (CA-R)

Focus on Food Safety with FDA

Kick off Wednesday, June 12th with keynote speaker Dr. Donald A. Prater, Acting Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Immediately following, he will join an interactive roundtable where top FDA Human Food Program (HFP) officials and the fresh produce supply chain meet to discuss industry and administration priorities and top-of-mind issues within the new HFP. Speakers will showcase how industry and government can work together to enhance food safety – not just in times of crisis but with 365 preventive strategies.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration Speakers:  

  • Keynote: Dr. Donald A. Prater, Acting Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food & Drug Administration
  • Mark Moorman, Director, Office of Food Safety, Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition, FDA
  • Conrad Choiniere, Acting Deputy Center Director for Regulatory Affairs, Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition, FDA
  • Erik Mettler, Assistant Commissioner for Partnerships & Policy, Office of Regulatory Affairs, FDA
  • Doug Stearn, Acting Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Regulatory Affairs, FDA

Advocate for Fresh on Capitol Hill Congressional Meetings

Over two days, attendees take the #PowerofFresh to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to share IFPA policy priorities and the impact of fresh produce and floral on jobs, economic growth, and consumer demand for healthy food. Attendees will advocate for three specific issues:

1) Nutrition & Demand Creation – The importance of fresh produce in federal nutrition programs and policy.

2) Labor & Workforce- Demand a predictable, reliable and affordable agricultural workforce.

3) Farm Bill & Agriculture Policy- Support specialty crops in the largest investment in food and agriculture.

What’s New at the Washington Conference

Fresh additions to this year’s Monday, June 10 schedule include

  • Women’s Fresh Perspectives Networking Lunch: Forward-thinking leaders join an already dynamic schedule, providing opportunities to make valuable connections with the women and men leading and influencing food and agriculture.
  • Building a More Resilient Food System and Workforce Forum: USDA invests in areas of critical importance to our industry annually. These investments address immediate needs of rural business and economic development, supply chain infrastructure, and workforce development. Together, they lay the groundwork for the future by enhancing supply chain diversity and resiliency through regional food center development and climate-smart agriculture practices, which we will learn more about in our second session. Respected experts and industry insiders will detail policy issues critical to the fresh industry, why these issues matter to the fresh sector’s bottom line.
  • Packaging & Sustainability at the Crossroads Forum: In a combined issue update, panel discussion, and audience-engaging Q&A experience, join IFPA’s Chief Science Officer Max Teplitski and subject matter experts to discover where we are – around the world – when it comes to sustainable packaging. Working toward truly sustainable packaging for fresh produce and florals is everyone’s goal – but how do we get there while maintaining essential standards for food safety and preventing food waste? Find out more about what’s new and what’s next, as well as how IFPA is working to lead and shape the debate on sustainable packaging and help our members advocate for sustainable packaging with knowledge and confidence.

The Joy of Fresh on Capitol Hill

It is a time to celebrate the vast bounty that fresh produce and flowers provide for health, happiness, and the economy. Hundreds of D.C. policymakers and policy influencers will be on hand, including key congressional and administration staff, allied partners, consumer advocates, and fellow IFPA Washington Conference attendees.

The Washington Conference interactions and engagements impact the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain. IFPA encourages industry leaders and those new to the industry to make their voices heard, advocate for fresh produce, and help shape the decisions made in Washington that directly impact their businesses. More information and registration are available on IFPA’s website.