PMA and United Fresh leaders announced the name and leadership of the new association formed after merging the two largest fresh produce organizations in the United States. The new association’s co-chief executives, Cathy Burns and Tom Stenzel unveiled the association’s new name, International Fresh Produce Association, which will officially begin operations in January 2022.
At a Zoom press conference attended by members of the Executive Committee, including the Board of Directors, the new name and work plans of the new leadership were announced. According to a press release, selecting and recruiting the Board was one of the first responsibilities of the newly announced Executive Committee.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead and collaborate with this Board of Directors,” said Bruce Taylor, Chair of the new organization and CEO of Taylor Farms. “This group, in partnership with staff, will help set the strategic tone and direction as we deliver against the seven strategic priorities shared when the new organization was announced in March. I can’t wait to get started.”
Building on a combined history of strong volunteer leadership, the Board of Directors will partner with experienced staff at the new association to provide guidance and expertise for industry members across the produce, and floral supply chains, said the association.
“In assembling this Board of Directors, we sought to strike a balance of those individuals who had strong prior experience from serving on United and PMA volunteer groups as well as emerging leaders who will bring new perspectives and insights to drive the new organization forward and create solutions to address industry challenges,” said Danny Dumas, UFPA Chair and President, of Courchesne Larose USA Inc.
When the new association was announced, PMA and United Fresh also shared the strategic commitments that will be the core priorities of the new association launching in January 2022.
Developed by board leaders from both associations, these priorities include a commitment to all sectors of the fresh produce and floral supply chains, a commitment to growing demand and profitability, and a commitment to global engagement. These priorities also were crucial for driving the selection and organization of the new Board.
“Because the new organization will reflect global fresh produce and floral communities, the new Board is organized to represent the many businesses we’ll serve in coming years as we work together to help our members prosper,” said Dwight Ferguson, PMA Chair and President and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.
At the press conference, Anita Grace of Abasto Media stressed the importance of the new association’s international focus. She asked the co-CEOs of the new association if they offer marketing and advertising assistance to its international members when they come to the U.S. to target either the English-speaking market or the Hispanic market whether those kinds of resources will be available.
Tom Stenzel and Cathy Burns responded that “Making sure that we are reaching our members around the world is going to be a critical factor. So the inclusion of international in the new brand was very intentional; we fully appreciate that our primary constituency is still North America, but that in no way excludes international. We see that the partnership can bring tremendous benefits to certain markets with Asia being one of them, and those same markets to your point are a very fertile export destination for North America as well.”
“To underscore our commitment to the internationalization of the new association, a quarter of the board representation comes from outside the U.S., and if you look at that, particularly in terms of the various committees, we have strong representation from those communities, so it is an international association,” the co-chief executives stressed.
In their response to Abasto, Stenzel and Burns added that the opportunity to provide information, whether it be on consumer trends to support their advocacy efforts, seeking information across countries and around the world, has been very important not only to their members in the United States but also to their members outside the country. So it will continue and expand as the new association seeks to expand its advocacy efforts around the world.
For a complete list of the new board of directors, click here.
Foundation for Fresh Produce is Launched with New Association
As a complementary philanthropic partner of the new International Fresh Produce Association, the Foundation for Fresh Produce will be launched with a vision to grow a healthier world through increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
According to a press release, it was previously announced that Wegman’s Vice President of Produce & Floral Merchandising Martha Hilton would serve as Chair of the Foundation and on the Executive Committee of the association.
“Our industry is positioned to provide solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges surrounding nutrition and hunger,” said Hilton. “The new foundation will focus on developing, nurturing, and leveraging strong relationships and strategic partnerships with our industry members and key organizations to improve access to fresh fruit and vegetables.”
The current foundations, United Fresh Start Foundation and the Center for Growing Talent will not continue under the new association, however, the work of each organization will carry through to the new association and foundation.
This includes the United Fresh Start Foundation’s work in nutrition policy and community outreach to drive access to fresh produce. Center for Growing Talent’s dedication to providing solutions to attract and develop industry talent will be a primary focus of the new association’s work. Members and volunteer leaders will continue to play a critical role in talent strategies and programming and interested members will have the opportunity to serve on the new Talent Advisory Committee; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; and Women’s Sub-Committee.
The new Foundation for Fresh Produce will issue a call for volunteers to serve on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Those interested should check the International Fresh Produce Association’s website for more information about how to become an association volunteer.
The Launch of the Floral Marketing Alliance is Also Announced
During the press conference, IFPA Executive Committee member Dwight Ferguson shared that the Floral Marketing Alliance will launch with the new association in January 2022.
“International Fresh Produce Association will be the association for the floral marketing community that has been growing since the 1970s,” said Ferguson, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. “In launching the Floral Marketing Alliance, we are furthering our commitment to the floral community and formalizing our role as an association representing our floral members across the supply chain by actively partnering with organizations who promote the consumption of mass-market floral.”
The Floral Marketing Alliance will be driven by the highly engaged Floral volunteers and will be an addition to the portfolio of programs, resources, and insights the committee generates for the industry. There will be further details for members on how to volunteer to support the programs and initiatives supporting the floral industry.
In addition, the floral community will be represented on the International Fresh Produce Association Board of Directors by industry leaders Carlos Oramas, CEO of Gems Group, Inc., and Debora Steier, Vice President of Floral at Albertsons Companies.
Floral members are encouraged to mark their calendars with at least 4 events in the coming year where the industry can come together and connect with new partners, hear about the latest research, and discuss industry efforts to address challenges facing the mass-market floral supply chain.
These events include:
- January 7 – Floral Buyer Sourcing Meetings
- March 29 – The Floral Conference, Anaheim, California
- May 24 – The Floral Conference, Miami, Florida
- October 27- 29 – The Global Produce and Floral Show, Orlando, Florida