NOGALES, AZ. – The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) BB #:144354 hosted a successful Spring Policy Summit on March 14-15, 2023, bringing together industry leaders, policy makers, and experts to discuss critical issues facing the fresh produce industry.
The summit featured a diverse range of speakers and panel discussions covering topics such as food safety, trade agreements, the economic benefits of trade, and reducing transit times for fresh produce shipments. Lance Jungmeyer, President of the FPAA, provided the welcoming remarks of the 2023 Spring Policy Summit.
The keynote address was delivered by Ambassador Doug McKalip, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representatives, who shared his insights on U.S.- Mexico trade and the economic importance of the relationship. Dr. Gary Williams, Emeritus Professor of the Argibusiness Food and Consumer Economics Research Center at Texas A&M University, addressed the state of the industry and its economic impact. FPAA Chairman and Vice president of Sales for Crown Jewels, Rod Sbragia, was the moderator for this topic.
Diego Ley of Del Campo Supreme, Lic. Margarita Velez, Sonora Economic Minister and Lic. Sergio Lugo of AALPUM discussed the numerous challenges importers face with timely border crossings and how the industry can work with regulators to address challenges in the supply chain. This topic was moderated by Georgina Felix, Director of Operations and International Affairs of the FPAA.
State Director for U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, Luis Heredia, reported on the opportunities and challenges in Congress that impact Southern Arizona and the produce industry.
One of the highlights of the summit was the panel discussion on how the produce industry and USDA can work together to enhance programs like U.S. marketing orders and grade standards. The panel featured a team of experts from USDA, including: Heather Pichelman, Associate Deputy Administrator of the Specialty Crop Division; Michelle Sharrow, Director of the Market Development Division; and, Ryan Wilson, Director of the Specialty Crops Inspection Division. The USDA team was joined by industry leaders Javier Badillo of Fresh International, Jorge Donnadieu of Terra Fresh and John Pandol of Pandol Brothers. Industry participants discussed how certain grade standards or marketing orders currently don’t take into account evolving consumer preferences and variety innovations, such as in the case of specialized table grapes including Cotton Candy and Jelly Berry, for instance.
The first day of the summit included a working luncheon for the North American Food Safety Group, where industry and government experts across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada discussed efforts that advance cooperation and increased food safety outcomes. Jeff Hall, from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, and Georgius Gotsis, CEO of Veggies From Mexico, moderated this group meeting.
The topic of food safety carried over to the second day as Dr. Mauricio Castelo of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and M.C. David Soriano, General Director of Aquaculture, Fisheries and Food Safety of SENASICA talked about their efforts to increase training, education, and other initiatives to help strengthen food safety efforts. FPAA member, Guillermo Martinez of Frello Fresh, moderated this discussion.
Participants at the summit also had the opportunity to learn from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on how the agency is using technology to improve the efficiency and security of moving commercial goods, including fresh produce, at land ports of entry. Chris Sullivan, Director of Cargo Conveyance and Security Division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and John Sagle, Deputy Executive Director from the Agriculture Programs and Trade Liaison, U.S. Customs and Border Protection shared insights on CBP visions for the future of trade facilitation,
The summit concluded with a closing cocktail party, providing attendees with an opportunity to network and connect with industry leaders.
“We are delighted with the success of our Spring Policy Summit, which brought together experts from across the industry to discuss critical issues facing the fresh produce industry,” said Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and policymakers to drive progress and promote the growth of the fresh produce industry in North America.”
The FPAA’s next big event this year will be our 54th Annual Convention under a new name and layout, the Southwest International Expo will be held November 2-4, 2023 in Tucson at Lowes Ventana Canyon. To learn more about memberships or upcoming events and/or obtain a booth and to register, please email or call Emmis Yubeta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-470-7356.
About the Fresh Produce Association of Americas
Founded in 1944 in Nogales, Arizona, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas has grown to become one of the most influential agricultural groups in the United States. Today, the FPAA provides a powerful voice for improvement and sustainability by serving the needs of more than 100 North American companies involved in marketing, importing, and distributing fresh produce.