In a joint press release on March 31, respective boards of directors of the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association announced they had “reached an Agreement in Principle to create a new global trade association combining their resources and expertise to enhance member services, increase advocacy before government and the public, help members grow their businesses, and drive consumption of fresh produce and demand for floral products as a vital cornerstone of public health.
The press release stated, “This Agreement reflects the ongoing commitment of both associations to deliver the highest level of value to members” in a quote from Board Chairs Michael Muzyk of United Fresh and Dwight Ferguson of PMA.
Continuing to operate independently through 2021, the two organizations will launch the single new association on Jan. 1, 2022. The new association will be led jointly by current PMA CEO Cathy Burns and United CEO Tom Stenzel as co-CEOs throughout 2022, after which Burns will become the sole CEO.
Stenzel said, “Through my 28 years of service to our industry, I have long recognized the potential synergies of our groups building something powerful together. It is gratifying to me several years before my retirement to find a strong and committed partner in Cathy who also believes in this shared vision. I’m looking forward to launching this new organization together, setting the stage to enhance member value while driving greater produce consumption in the years ahead.”
Muzyk and Ferguson said jointly, “Looking ahead, we believe we can accomplish that goal better together building on the synergies and experience of our expert staffs, complementary education programs and member services, and a stronger voice in advocating for our industries.”
The release said the merger had been in the works for several months and noted that “PMA CEO Cathy Burns and United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel have worked with a group of Board leaders from each association to develop the strategic commitments for the new association that serves as the core of the Agreement in Principle.”
Among the several bullet points of the agreement are commitments to: serve all sectors of the fresh produce and floral supply chains while global growing membership; government advocacy and leadership; global engagement to promote free and fair trade as well as “international harmonization of standards, and worldwide growth in Consumption”; food safety, new technology, supply chain management, sustainability, leadership and talent development; and to create demand.
“By joining forces, we will continue to support our members with the services, insights, and connections they seek to grow their businesses while ensuring our role and voice as an industry has an even greater impact,” Burns said.
She lauded Stenzel, saying, “Tom has been a great partner, and I truly appreciate his deep history, knowledge, and care for our industry. We, along with our talented teams, look forward to leveraging our strengths to serve our diverse and complex supply chain.”
Over the coming months, Burns and Stenzel will work with their staff teams and board leaders, and concurrently the “two associations will begin sharing their expertise and promoting participation in each other’s events and programs,” the release said, “It is anticipated that the volunteer leadership, governance and membership structure, and 2022 business plan for the new association will be in place and shared with the membership in Fall 2021.
For more information about the transition process, please visit United Fresh’s FAQ Page here: https://www.unitedfresh.org/united-fresh-and-pma-faqs/
and PMA’s FAQ page here:
A form is available on both FAQ pages for any additional questions.