Some of the industry’s leading players are scheduled to address Florida grower-shippers at the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s 66th yearly convention Sept. 27-29 in Palm Beach, Fla.

Key industry leaders to address FFVA meeting

A traceability session features panelists including Gary Fleming, vice president of industry technology and standards for Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, William Pool, manager of agricultural production and research for Wegman’s Food Markets Inc., Rochester, N.Y., and Alan Newton, vice president of information services for A. Duda & Sons Inc., Oviedo, Fla.

 â€œThe traceability initiative on its own is a critical supply chain issue out in front of the industry now,” said Mike Stuart, FFVA president. “It ties in with some of the food safety legislation we have been monitoring and involved with in Washington.

“One of the lessons we have all learned with some of the outbreaks we have had is that having an effective way of getting to the root of the outbreaks as rapidly and as accurately as possible is critical and is the best way to mitigate potential downstream damage to the industry,” Stuart said.

Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Produce Association president and Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ vice president of strategic planning, science and technology, are set to discuss sustainability and its implications for agriculture during a Sept. 28 session.

Jim Mulhern of Watson & Mulhern LLC, Washington, is scheduled to lead a crisis planning and communications session.

On Sept. 29, Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., is scheduled as the meeting’s keynote speaker during its traditional Cracker Breakfast. Putnam, a congressman from Bartow, Fla., who is running for the state’s commissioner of agriculture.

At a Sept. 29 awards luncheon, Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise is scheduled to make his presentation on his space adventures.

A benefit auction supports the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation’s George Sorn scholarship.  The scholarship, named for the longtime former FFVA executive vice president, assists children of farmworkers pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

As of early September, Stuart said FFVA had 240 registered attendance, higher than the 230 that participated at last year’s event in Naples, Fla., where the convention is held every other year.

The convention schedule can be found here.