The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) boards of directors and United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) have reached an agreement in principle to establish a new global trade association.

This will combine their resources and expertise to enhance member services, increase advocacy before government and the public, help members grow their businesses and drive fresh produce consumption and demand for floral products as a vital cornerstone of public health.

PMA and United Fresh will continue to operate as independent organisations throughout 2021, with the new association to be launched on 1 January 2022.

“This agreement reflects the ongoing commitment of both associations to deliver the highest level of value to members,” said board chairpersons Michael Muzyk of United Fresh, and Dwight Ferguson of PMA. “Looking ahead, we believe we can accomplish that goal better together, building on the synergies and experience of our expert staff, complementary education programmes and member services, and a stronger voice in advocating for our industries,” said Muzyk and Ferguson.

Commitments of the new organisation

Over the past several months, 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. The following serves as the core of the agreement in principle:  

  • Commitment to serve all sectors of the global fresh produce and floral supply chains, growing our global membership and participation.
  • Commitment to government advocacy and leadership to build and maintain a positive business climate in the United States and the North American markets, which are critical to our members’ success.
  • Commitment to global engagement with international bodies and allied organisations to promote free and fair trade, international harmonisation of standards, and worldwide growth in consumption.
  • Commitment to provide expertise and business solutions in food safety, new technology, supply chain management, sustainability, leadership and talent development, business operations, marketing and more.
  • Commitment to bring all sectors of our diverse supply chain together to better understand our interconnections and support efficiency and profitability throughout the chain.
  • Commitment to enhance business-to-business sales and marketing connections across the produce and floral supply chains.
  • Commitment to demand creation to inspire consumers to embrace produce and floral products as essential parts of their lives, while increasing profitable sales of members’ products.

The new association will be led jointly by Burns and Stenzel as co-CEOs throughout 2022. After that time, Burns will become the sole CEO.

Synergy creates more potential

“Through my 28 years of service to our industry, I have long since recognised the potential synergies of our groups building something powerful together,” Stenzel said. “It is gratifying for me, several years before my retirement, to find a strong and committed partner in Cathy, who also believes in this shared vision. I look forward to us launching this new organisation together and setting the stage to enhance member value while driving greater produce consumption in the years ahead.

“By joining forces, we will continue to support our members with the services, insights, and connections they seek to grow their businesses while ensuring that our role and voice as an industry has an even greater impact,” Burns said. “Tom has been a great partner, and I truly appreciate his deep history in, knowledge of, and care for our industry. Along with our talented teams, we look forward to leveraging our strengths to serve our diverse and complex supply chain. I am so proud and honoured to serve the produce and floral community at such a pivotal time in our history.”

Over the coming months, Burns and Stenzel will work with their staff members and board leaders to build on the new organisation. Concurrently, the two associations will begin sharing their expertise and promoting participation in each other’s events and programmes. It is anticipated that the volunteer leadership, governance, membership structure, and the 2022 business plan for the new association will be in place and shared with the membership in the fall of 2021. – Press release, PMA/Fresh United