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Washington Conference to highlight benefit of government programs during pandemic

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Although this year’s Washington Conference by the United Fresh Produce Association BB #:145458 will be virtual, high profile government speakers are still scheduled, as are virtual hill visits with Congress members and staff.

In an August 27 webinar, Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, encouraged attendees to sign up for visits with Congress staff and explain their experiences over the past few months.

Produce attendees should be first prepared to talk about how they’ve benefitted from some of the government programs, and then tell their stories of struggles during the pandemic, he said.

Guenther said the produce industry has benefited from several government programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program, Farmers to Families Food Box Program and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

United Fresh reported that more than 2,800 produce companies have used the PPP to the total of $2.7 billion. Additionally, 176 produce companies have participated in the food box program, totaling $1.7 billion. Nearly 10,000 CFAP applications have been approved at an average of $49,000 per applicant.

Guenther said it’s important to explain how these programs should continue to help fresh produce companies get through these difficult times.

Invited speakers include Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue; political analyst Frank Luntz moderating a panel with representatives from the Trump and Biden campaigns; and U.S. Representatives from the House Agriculture Committee, Rodney Davis, R-IL and Jimmy Panetta, D-CA.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services