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IFPA releases Washington Conference agenda, speakers

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May 16, 2024 Washington, D.C. – IFPA’s BB #:378962 2024 Washington Conference, taking place from June 10-12, is a unique opportunity in a pivotal election year.

It brings together inspiring leaders and significant events designed to equip attendees with the tools and knowledge to influence the policies and perceptions of produce and floral on Capitol Hill. From powerful keynote speakers to vibrant celebrations showcasing the best of fresh produce and floral to the Advocate for Fresh on Capitol Hill Congressional Meetings. This is the fresh sector’s premier annual policy event, shaping the future of the industry.

“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 make the case for why policymakers must address the industry’s needs and share their stories with elected leaders making the crucial decisions shaping the food economy.”

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 co-chairs of the caucus 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 come together 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 and 3) Farm Bill & Agriculture Policy – Support specialty crops in the largest investment in food and agriculture.

Prepare To Tell Your Story
IFPA prepares attendees to amplify IFPA’s influence by telling their stories of fresh to public officials.
• Produce Advocacy Bootcamp: Whether a first-timer or seasoned advocate for produce and floral, this interactive experience provides attendees with an empowering foundation on the process and issues needed to advocate with confidence. Through presentations and role-playing with experienced advocates from the industry, attendees will gain useful, actionable tips, tricks, and takeaways to use in meetings with any policymaker.
• IFPA 2024 Policy Priorities Roundtable: Attendees will benefit from the wisdom and experience of IFPA’s Government Relations thought leaders and gain an empowering understanding of the three specific issues attendees will discuss with Congress, essential to the fresh produce industry. These actionable insights will come in handy on Capitol Hill and back home to strengthen their companies’ voice for fresh.
• Focus on Priorities Concurrent Education: Engage in concurrent sessions to gain an even greater understanding of the critical issues to advocate for on Capitol Hill.

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

Arlethia Brown, Senior Director, Camden NJ School Nutrition
Stephanie Johnson, Vice President, Government Relations, National Grocers Association (WIC rule)
Jacqlyn Schneider, Partner, FGS Global and former Deputy Staff Director, Senate Agriculture Committee (SNAP and general)
Lorren Walker, President & CEO, EliasWalker and former Chief of Staff, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (Procurement)

Labor & Workforce – Speakers from across the supply chain will share their perspectives on how IFPA’s Report on the labor crisis enables the industry to tell why a predictable, reliable, and affordable agricultural workforce is necessary for everyone.

Mike Laws, President, Laws Logistics
Stefanie Katzman, Executive Vice President, S. Katzman Produce

Farm Bill & Agriculture Policy – Speakers will explain how the largest investment in food and agriculture affects farm livelihoods and shapes how and what food is grown.

What’s New
Fresh additions to this year’s Monday June 10th schedule include
• Women’s Fresh Perspectives Networking Lunch: Forward thinking leaders join an already dynamic schedule and provides opportunity 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 continuing to maintain essential standards for food safety and preventing food waste? Find out more about what’s new, what’s next, and how IFPA is working to lead and shape the debate on sustainable packaging and helping 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 DC 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, as well as those new to the industry, to make your voice heard: advocate for fresh and help shape the decisions made in Washington that directly impact their businesses. More information and registration are available on IFPA’s website.

For more information on The Washington Conference, contact Angela Tiwari, IFPA’s Director, Strategic Policy Engagement, at (202) 404-3416.

About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)
The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)?is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to?take action?with purpose and confidence.

Contact: Ashley Sempowski, +1 (202) 303-3406