(Dec. 24) Striking a balance between returning members and new appointees, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman on Dec. 19 released the names of industry leaders tabbed for the rechartered Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.

Ten members of the original member board were reappointed, including the two leaders of the first committee: Maureen Torrey, vice president of Torrey Farms Inc, Elba, N.Y., and chairwoman of the first committee; and Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., and the original committee’s vice chairwoman.

Torrey said she is pleased the 24-member committee will have the continuity of returning members.

“We can keep on working on the initiatives we have. It was the desire of the groups that not everybody would go off (the committee) at the same time,” she said. All appointees will serve two-year terms.

United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association president Tom Stenzel, a member of the first committee, is not on the second panel.

However, Stenzel said in a United statement Dec. 19 that he believes the committee will be valuable tool for the industry and noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reappointed to second terms two United board members, Caplan and Jan Fleming, president of Strube Celery and Vegetables, Chicago.

Association and state agricultural leaders included among the new members of the committee are:

  • Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers, Irvine, Calif.

  • Charles Bronson, Florida agriculture commissioner, Tallahassee.

  • Mark Murai, chairman of the board for the California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville.


Torrey said she believes the top priority of the new committee will be providing input on the importance of fruits and vegetables in the school lunch program and the potential success of an expanded fresh fruit and vegetable pilot program.

The committee was first issued a two-year charter by the USDA in August 2001 and met three times to develop guidance to the department on a variety of issues. Some of the issues addressed by the committee included destination inspection service fees, nutrition policy, country-of-origin labeling and fruit and vegetable purchases.

In August, the USDA rechartered the committee for two more years.

The committee is represented by mostly fresh produce interests, though there are a handful of members that have processed industry ties.

One reappointed member, Mike Martin, sales manager at Rio Queen Citrus Inc., Mission, Texas, said he believes returning members will be able to assist new members in understanding what the issues and priorities are for the committee.

The USDA said the advisory committee’s next meeting is being scheduled for early 2004 in Arlington, Va.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INDUSTRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

RETURNING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

  • Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.

  • Dave Corsi, vice president of produce for Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.

  • Carl Fields, vice president of marketing for Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Watsonville, Calif.

  • Jan Fleming, president of Strube Celery and Vegetables, Chicago

  • Mike Martin, sales manager at Rio Queen Citrus Inc., Mission, Texas

  • Steve Martori, president of Martori Farms, Scottsdale, Ariz.

  • Dennis Parnagian, president of Fowler Packing Co., Fresno, Calif.

  • Alan Siger, president of Consumers Produce Co. Inc., Pittsburgh

  • Maureen Torrey, vice president of Torrey Farms Inc, Elba, N.Y.

  • Dan Wyant, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Lansing



NEW MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE

  • Charles Bronson, commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee

  • Dino Cervantes, general manager of Cervantes Enterprises, Las Cruces, N.M.

  • Steve Junqueiro, director of produce and floral for Save Mart Supermarkets, Modesto, Calif.

  • Jan Kerns, office manager of Kerns Rainbow Ranch Inc., Haines, Ore.

  • Todd Linsky, director of organic sales for Grimmway Farms/Cal Organic California Vegetable Co., Bakersfield, Calif.

  • John Loughridge, vice president of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., Coral Gables, Fla.

  • Susan Matsushima, vice president and general manager of Alluvion Nursery, Haleiwa, Hawaii

  • Matt McInerney, executive vice president of Western Growers, Irvine, Calif.

  • Todd Michael, owner of Michael Farms Inc., Urbana Ohio

  • Mark Murai, chairman of the board for the California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville

  • Paul Palmby, vice president of operations and agriculture for Seneca Foods, Janesville, Wis.

  • James Patterson, owner, Patterson Farms Inc., Chesterland, Ohio

  • Richard Allen Symms, principal in Symms Fruit Ranch, Caldwell, Idaho

  • Tim York, president of Markon Cooperative Inc., Salinas, Calif.