Get in the game and speak up for the industry

08/03/2012 09:43:00 AM
Tom Stenzel

Let me end my sports-as-life philosophy back where I started with Michael Phelps.

By any account, Phelps hasn’t had his best Olympics. He’s not the über-swimmer from another planet that he was in Beijing. He even lost his signature butterfly event by a touch.

But his vision of earning the most medals of all time came true, earning gold with the men’s 4x200 freestyle relay.

The event that put him over the top was no longer a singular achievement. It was a collective accomplishment with his friends, colleagues and often competitors.

That makes me think about our industry group coming to Washington, D.C., this fall to make their voices heard.

These are the leaders who come together not for individual success but to join with colleagues and competitors to help grow our industry in ways that no one can alone.

And that’s why an event like the WPPC is so important. Members of Congress see competitors coming together to push for policies that serve the whole industry, not just their narrow interest.

Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration or U.S. Department of Agriculture see companies from farm to retail across the supply chain teaming up to work together enhancing food safety and industry standards.

So this year, I hope you’ll all join the group of leaders from across the industry who are coming to D.C. to lobby for a strong farm bill, for nutrition programs that help grow produce consumption for kids, and for immigration reform and labor policies that will help us harvest and pack our crops.

I hope you’ll get in the game.

Tom Stenzel is president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.

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