United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association have got some 'splanin to do.
I was talking with an industry veteran the other day and he said that the groups owed the industry an explanation of what happened with the "merger" talks that have occurred and if those talks have led anywhere.
Given the length of time that has passed with no news on this front, those who favor a complete union of the two groups shouldn't get their hopes up.
In a newsy development, I see the delay in the mark-up of the farm bill was short-lived. Originally set for yesterday, the committee postponed the hearing after some farm groups asked for more time to read the farm bill draft.
But the committee issued a statement last night with the following details about the mark-up session, now on the calendar for today, April 26. From the release:
Washington, DC – Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, will convene a meeting of the full Committee for purposes of considering and marking up the 2012 Farm Bill on Thursday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Committee’s hearing room, 328-A of the Russell Senate Office Building.
The markup will also be streamed live on the Senate Agriculture Committee website at http://ag.senate.gov.
The text of the Committee Print of the 2012 Farm Bill is available to access and download on the Senate Agriculture Committee’s website at http://www.ag.senate.gov/issues/farm-bill.
The Committee Print will be modified and amended throughout this week’s meeting, beginning with a manager’s package of consensus amendments offered by Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts at the mark-up’s outset.
TK: The farm bill mark-up session could be interesting, particularly related to the scope of the amendments offered.
In other news, the USDA Economic Research Service issued a food price forecast that projected 2012 all food prices to increase between 2.5% and 3.5% this year. Fresh fruit and vegetable prices were projected to rise a modest 1.5% to 2.5% this year, with fresh fruit projected to increase 2% to 3% and fresh vegetables only 1% to 2%.
Through March, the USDA noted fresh vegetable prices were down 12% from a year ago, with tomato prices down a whopping 28.8%.