My farm roots, more merger talk and the threat of juice - The Packer

My farm roots, more merger talk and the threat of juice

07/24/2012 01:59:00 PM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom KarstFormer Packer editor and colleague Donna Vestal now works for Harvest Public Media. She recently interviewed me for a "My Farm Roots" feature. Check that out here, and the Harvest Public Media home page here. More "Farm Roots" features are coming, Donna says.

My  farm roots are tied to family, and I am grateful for my step-dad's gracious and steady hand as I worked with him on his Nebraska farm for several years as a teenager.

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I saw a post from Perishable Pundit Jim Prevor about the failed United-PMA merger. Prevor seems to be carrying PMA's water on the merger issue, in my view.

Again, it is my feeling that both PMA and United's boards should not have let the leadership issue linger until the end. If it was a deal-breaker, let it be early rather than late.

One industry leader I visited with said PMA and United should not  "belly up" to the merger bar anytime soon.

Why not? The source invoked Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Secret meetings, closed door negotiations, terse updates to members - that approach should not be trotted out again.

All I can say at this stage is that association leaders have a more realistic picture of the challenges facing Congress and government regulators. Shouldn't it be easier to forge a compromise with like-minded leaders of the same industry than it would be for 535 members of Congress?

Don't be so chagrined the next time Congress turns a cold shoulder on long-sought legislation that benefits the industry. You know exactly how tough it is to deliver at crunch time.

One source posited that the industry would be better off if the association not involved with representing the industry to Capitol Hill leave the Beltway and set up shop in California. I guess the thought is that the temptation to "speak for the industry" is too much of a power trip and is best to be avoided by removing staff from proximity to Washington, D.C.. Thus, such a move would eliminate what to some is all-too-obvious overlap between the groups. A captivating but doomed idea...

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Leaving merger talk behind (for now), check out the new Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group poll question,


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