This is a good time to piece together the failed negotiation to merge the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association.

The 18-month process was closed to most industry members, even members of both associations, as well as the media. So it’s natural to want to know what happened.

It’s also natural to look for who to blame.

Ultimately, the two groups’ boards made the decision, and we have to conclude it was the right one.

It’s right because if the two groups can’t agree to the same deal, there should no merged association.

But this is no time to be pessimistic about the fresh produce industry.

It has a lot going for it.

One thing we learned about the merger negotiation is that both boards, made up of well-known industry leaders, are happy with their associations’ missions and leaders.

Outside of that, fresh produce has been one of the stars of the farm bill debate in the Senate and House of Representatives. It’s not reliant on subsidies, and it’s increasing its presence in feeding programs.

It’s an industry that has bipartisan support and very few enemies compared to other large-scale food industries.

That’s just the good industry news coming from Washington, D.C., and nearby.

The fact that both association boards made their decisions with the best interest of the fresh produce industry ought to make hard feelings go away quickly.

Now all that effort and brainpower can get back to the business of selling more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.