Tom KarstIf a visitor from outer space came to earth and examined the tax documents of the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association, what conclusions would that alien draw? Could a visitor from beyond our world - let's call him Marty the Martian - possibly assist in helping to see the synergies of the two trade associations and facilitate a merger?
By the way, check out the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group poll on the potential United-PMA merger here. The question is, “If PMA and United Fresh don't end up merging, it will be because ...”
Back to Marty. Our scenario assumes the visitor would know how to decipher tax forms. Granted, that's a big “if.” Most earthlings are clueless about their tax code.
One of the first things “Marty” might do is try to find out what the organizations are all about. As he looks at the tax forms for both associations for the year 2009, his eyes are are drawn to Part I, question one: Summary: Briefly describe the organization's mission or most significant activities:
PMA answered the question like this: "To connect, to inform, to deliver business solutions that enhance members' prosperity." We do this through three vehicles - products, events and services. We offer a small product line that includes training modules for employees to guides that help our member(s) do their day to day jobs. Our events offer educational offerings that include the entire supply chain which includes an exposition component so that our members can showcase their products and services while making new contracts in the industry. We offer services such as our information resources center that allows our members to contact us and get answers to various questions.
In Part I, question one: United Fresh simply said: "Trade association for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry."
But wait, our extraterrestrial pal has more to go on than that. The government wasn't done asking about the mission of the associations and the associations are far from done in reciting their accomplishments.
Part III of form 990 is called a "Statement of Program Service Accomplishments: Question one asks the organization to briefly describe the organization's mission: