WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee has a familiar face as its new chairwoman and new issues to consider.
During first of a two-day meeting here March 30, the committee voted Maureen Marshall, vice president of Torrey Farms Inc., Elba, N.Y., as the committee chairwoman and Michael Hollister, vice president of sales and marketing at Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville, Calif., as the vice-chairman.
Marshall, an 11th-generation grower, was the chairwoman of the first industry advisory committee, appointed by then-Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in February 2002.
“I’m excited to be back,” to fellow committee members. “I have a passion for this industry.”
The first day’s agenda included remarks by USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Rayne Pegg.
Merrigan led efforts to establish the fruit and vegetable advisory committee as USDA AMS administrator in the Clinton administration. She told the committee the agency is trying to figure the right way to proceed on a national leafy greens marketing agreement.
“We need to figure out the role of the small and midsize player,” she said.
Mike Durando, chief of the Marketing Order Administration Branch, briefed the committee on the status of the national marketing order. In addition, the committee heard an update on license fee increases for the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act by Bruce Summers, associate deputy administrator of the AMS fruit and vegetable programs. Summers described progress on clarifying trust protection for suppliers who enter into extended payment arrangements.
Jin Ju Wilder, (from left), president of Coast Produce Co., Los Angeles, Mike O’Brien, vice president of produce for Schnuck Markets, St. Louis., and Kathy Means,vice president of government relations and public relations for the Produce Marketing Association, discuss industry issues March 30 at the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee meeting.