The ever-changing nature of trade between the U.S. and Mexico will be the focus of the fourth annual America Trades Produce Conference in March, with challenges of marketing the North America tomato crop as one of the planned agenda topics.
The Tomato Suspension Agreement will be about a year old when the March 12-13 event at the Tubac Golf Resort, Tubac, Ariz., gets underway, and produce consultant Martin Ley said in a news release it will be the perfect time to discuss the agreement.
The conference hosts are the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, Nogales, Ariz., and the Texas International Produce Association. For registration and agenda details, visit www.americatradesproduce.com.
Ley, owner of Fresh Evolution, is scheduled to discuss the tomato agreement with two other panelists, Eric Viramontes, former chief executive officer of Culiacan-based Asociacion Mexicana de Horticulture Protegida A.C. — AMHPAC who now owns Vision & Services, and Jim DiMenna, president of JemD Farms, which has growing operations in Canada and Mexico.
The Tomato Trends general session of the conference is also scheduled to include a presentation by Roberta Cook, University of California-Davis, who will discuss marketing shifts and other tomato developments, according to the news release.
Another topic on the agenda is “Best Practices for Removal from Detention Without Physical Examination.” Walter Ram, The Giumarra Cos., is set to moderate the discussion, which is scheduled to include Rod Sbragia, sales and marketing director for Tricar Sales, and Domenic Veneziano, director of import operations at the Food and Drug Administration.
The keynote speaker planned for the 2014 conference is Christopher Wilson, Associate at the Woodrow Wilson Institute’s Mexico Institute.
Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, said in the release that Wilson has followed the Mexican economy for years and is regularly called on to provide testimony and background to the U.S. Congress on trade issues.
Jungmeyer also said in the release that conference attendees will have a chance to see the nation’s “most advanced land port of entry for fresh produce shipments” if they register for a sneak-peak tour of the Mariposa Port of Entry. The border crossing is in the midst of a $200 million expansion.
“This is a chance to go behind the scenes and witness the agriculture inspection docks and other facets of what is going to be the nation’s most advanced land port of entry for fresh produce shipments,” Jungmeyer said in the release, adding that space for the tour is limited.
Also on tap at the conference is the presentation of The Packer’s Importer of the Year award.