Highlights from The Washington conference – Day 1

This week, from September 26 until September 28, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) hosts The Washington Conference (TWC). This annual event addresses the most pressing public policy matters. This is a re-cap of the first day. 

Produce Economic Outlook Forum
In conjunction with the Economic Impact Report, IFPA hosted the Produce Economic Outlook Forum in D.C. yesterday.  The session featured respected authorities from inside and outside of the fresh produce industry, to provide context and points of discussion for IFPA’s Inaugural Industry Economic Impact Study.  

IFPA Chief Public Policy Officer Robert Guenther welcomed attendees and introduced the panel of speakers. Justin Cook, Consumer Products Research Leader, Deloitte Services, LLP, spoke on the topic: Fresh Food: Can Wellness Weather Inflation. Matthew Barry, Food & Beverages Insights Manager Americas, Euromonitor International, spoke about How Food Inflation is Affecting the US Economy.  

Wrapping up the forum, Patrick Vizzone, IFPA Board of Directors Secretary-Treasurer, Managing Director and Head of Agri-Food, Asia Pacific, Franklin Templeton, hosted a panel of industry guests including: Judy Clark, CEO, Fresh Texas; Mike Mallon, VP of Sales, American Packaging Corp.; Stefanie Katzman, Executive Vice President, S. Katzman Produce, Inc.; Tara Smith Vighetti of Smith Farms: Tony Mitchell, VP of Produce, Associated Wholesale Grocers. The panelists provided their unique insights on how the entire supply chain is managing and forecasting.  

“53% of U.S. consumers shared the higher cost of food is causing them stress, and 75% of global consumers are concerned about rising prices overall. However, 9 out of 10 told us fresh food makes them happy,” shared Deloitte’s Cook. 

Panelists Produce Economic Outlook Forum.

Produce Advocacy Bootcamp
IFPA Hosted the Produce Advocacy Bootcamp to help both first time and returning attendees to TWC learn how to engage in Congressional meetings, and speak on key issues on behalf of the industry.  “Not only is this session an effective professional development experience for staff, it provides staff with a look into Advocacy in Washington, while also providing a key networking opportunity with industry peers and high-profile leaders,” a statement from IFPA said. In addition to IFPA staff, industry volunteers joined the bootcamp as facilitators and experts. These leaders included: 

  • Adam Tarr, Legislative Counsel, Invariant
  • Mark Klompien, President/CEO, United Potato Growers of America (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Jackie Caplan Wiggins, Vice President and CAO, Frieda's, Inc. (Los Alamitos, CA)
  • Tony Freytag, Executive Vice President, Crunch Pak (Cashmere, WA)
  • Marissa Dake, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, DNO Produce
  • John Baillie, COO, Jack T. Baillie Co., Inc. (Salinas, CA)
  • Craig Fields, Vice President-Business Development-Emerging Channels, RPE, Inc. (Plover, WI)
  • Melissa Motejunas, Strategic Accounts Sales Manager, Native Maine Operations Inc (Westbrook, ME)
  • William (Bill) Nardelli Jr., Vice President, Nardelli Bros., Inc. (Cedarville, NJ)
  • Paul Newstead, Director of Business Development, Domex Superfresh Growers (Yakima, WA)
  • Jonathan Reed, Global Sales Director, PearlSort, LLC (Temecula, CA)
  • Case Samuel, Chief Sales Officer, Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruit Co. of California (Linden, CA)
  • Will Steele, President & CEO, Frontera Produce LTD (Edinburg, TX)
  • Jon Wall, Vice President of Operations, North Bay Produce, Inc. (Traverse City, MI) 

IFPA welcomed keynote speaker, Elaine Trevino, Senior Supply Chain Advisor to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.  This general session took place during yesterday’s lunch session, where all association volunteers participating in the volunteer committee and council meetings could hear about how the Administration is addressing short-term supply chain discontinuities and their effects on the fresh produce and floral supply chains.   

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