Jasper Hempel, a leading industry voice on health care, immigration reform and other hot-button issues, is retiring from Newport Beach, Calif.-based Western Growers.

Western Growers V.P. Jasper Hempel to retire

Hempel, Western Growers' executive vice president and general counsel, will retire at the end of year, ending a 30-year tenure with the association, according to a Western Growers news release.

“It has not only been fun, it’s been enormously satisfying and rewarding,” Hempel said of his career in the release. “I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work in this incredible fresh fruit, vegetable and tree nut industry.”

Western Growers’ president and chief executive officer, Tom Nassif, announced Hempel’s retirement at the association’s board of directors meeting July 30.

Hempel, 63, joined Western Growers as a labor attorney representing association members. In 1980, he opened the first full-time Western Growers government affairs office in Sacramento, Calif. Hempel was promoted to his executive vice president post in 2002. Matt McInerney is the association’s other executive vice president.

Hempel recently spent a month in Washington, D.C., lobbying Congress to protect the Western Growers Assurance Trust, which provides health care benefits to growers and their families.

Hempel also has played a key role lately in lobbying for the AgJobs program and other issues related to immigration reform.