In the produce industry, December represents shorter days, harvest heading south, shipping from storage, the lull after Thanksgiving, and time for vacations with family, just to name a few.
But it also represents the end of the year and is a great time to reflect and set strategy, both small and large.
From the Pacific Northwest in early December, an interesting strategy debate flowed.
At the annual Washington State Horticultural Association meeting in Wenatchee, Stemilt Growers president West Mathison discussed the apple and pear industry’s lack of focus and leadership to deal with complex issues such as labor and food safety.
He said this leads to an inability to get a consistent message out to consumers and legislators, but it also costs money because more people are involved in the task.
“I’ve seen industries with less economic influence but were better organized and created more influence than the tree fruit industry,” Mathison said.
Meanwhile, we can’t help but think all these issues and questions could be applied to the broader produce industry debate on whether it’s wise to have two associations represent members.
The Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association both have strengths, but it’s hard to deny the inefficiency of having two associations when lesser groups have one and can potentially create more influence.
Whether they remain separate or merge is the industry’s decision, but members of both associations should keep in mind that the associations work for them and their interests, not vice versa.
Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.