Texas association name change reflects Mexico focus

08/14/2012 04:01:00 PM
Mike Hornick

About 85% of Rio Queen Citrus Inc. commodities are shipped from the U.S.; the rest, mostly onions, come from Mexico.

Bret EricksonErickson“This volume growth is coming at the same time federal inspectors at the ports of entry are being stressed to the maximum, with no realistic hope for more personnel or laboratory capacity,” association president John McClung said in the release. “Meanwhile, the Food Safety Modernization Act, the necessary push to prevent the introduction of invasive pests, and the ongoing mission to keep out undocumented individuals and drugs, combine to make the government’s job all the more difficult, perhaps impossible.”

The Border Issues Management Program was conceived as a way to fight gridlock.

“The BIMP will play a crucial role in addressing the specific challenges our importers face, and help them be positioned for success in the future,” Bertaud said in the release.

“(BIMP) is a good way to raise money for the association to take care of these border issues — food safety, immigration, pest control — which seem to be getting bigger and more frequent as we go along,” DeBerry said.

In the last few years, Texas has become the largest importer of fresh Mexican produce, according to the association. In all, about two-thirds of the produce Texas supplies nationwide is grown in Mexico.

The Texas Produce Convention, sponsored by the Texas International Produce Association, Texas Vegetable Association and Texas Citrus Mutual, kicked off Aug. 15 in San Antonio. The event, which concludes Aug. 17, will be the last Texas convention for McClung, who is retiring after a transition period. McClung’s role will be filled by Bret Erickson, who was named senior vice president of the association in early August.

McClung told The Packer that a collaboration with the Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas was not an objective at this time.
"We are still 60% import and 40% Texas-grown produce, and we still have a different mission," he said.

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