It is a rare day when there is a knock at the door and the stranger says “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help” – and they actually mean it in the terms that business people can grasp! That knock came recently when the USDA re-chartered the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.
“The Secretary plans to appoint a diverse group of up to 25 individuals who work as growers, shippers, wholesalers, brokers, retailers, processors, fresh-cut processors, foodservice suppliers, state agencies involved in organic and non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables at local, regional and national levels, state departments of agriculture and trade associations” according to the press release.
I would encourage any stakeholders to seek nomination to the Advisory Committee. Both the public and private sectors have a lot to learn about the other side. It was very interesting to have worked on the ‘Tomato Metrics’ in 2007-2008 with a number of excellent representatives from both camps. With a staggering amount of brainpower in the room, all representing diverse interests, we were able to get to a consensus of best practices for the safe growing and handling of tomatoes.
This is a rare opportunity to have many otherwise quiet voices heard around a table of industry influencers. While you never know what the outcome will be, what is for sure is that you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take. Get into the game and have your voice heard!