Cherry Marketing Institute earns seat on USDA Fruit and Vegetable Committee | Michigan Farm News

Cherry Marketing Institute earns seat on USDA Fruit and Vegetable Committee

Category: Crops

by Farm News Media

Michigan’s tart cherry growers which account for 75 percent of total U.S. production, will be represented by the Cherry Marketing Institute’s, Julie Gordon.

Julie Gordon, CFO and Export Marketing Director at Cherry Marketing Institute, located in Dewitt, Michigan has been appointed to the USDA’s recently reestablished Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC).

Gordon is one of 24 individuals appointed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and will serve up to two-years beginning immediately and ending March 26, 2020. The appointees were selected from nominations received in May 2018 resulting from an earlier announcement to re-establish the committee and a request for nominations, according to Michigan Farm Bureau Horticulture Specialist, Kevin Robson.

“The purpose of the FVIAC is to examine the full spectrum of issues faced by the fruit and vegetable industry and provide recommendations and ideas to the Secretary on how USDA can tailor its programs to better meet the needs of the fruit and vegetable industry,” Robson said. “With Michigan’s tart cherry growers accounting for 75 percent of U.S. production, having our industry represented is definitely great news for the state’s cherry producers.”

Originally chartered in 2001, the FVIAC meets up to two times per year to develop recommendation and to advise the USDA Secretary on issues affecting the fruit and vegetable industry. Committee members represent organic and non-organic growers, shippers, wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, processors, foodservice suppliers, food brokers, state departments of agriculture and farmers markets; and represent local, regional and national levels.

According to Robson, the FVIAC recommendations in the past have weighed in heavily on amendments to the USDA’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, including regulations to preserve PACA Trust protection in instances where sellers extend payment terms beyond 30 days in cases involving contractual default of buyers.

“FVIAC historically has also played a significant role recommending farm bill programs for specialty crops, as well as recommending the inclusion of fruits and vegetables in nutrition programs,” Robson said. “If you were to look at the all of the recommendations of FVIAC since 2001, on issues such as labor, food safety GAP audits, marketing order and trade, you can begin to appreciate the impact and true representation on the produce industry on this advisory committee.”