Produce Industry Public Policy Conference Features Kathleen Merrigan, Lindsey Graham, John Boehner

For Immediate Release Contact: Patrick Delaney pdelaney@unitedfresh.org; 202-303-3400 ext. 417

USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, Senator Lindsey Graham, House Minority Leader John Boehner Scheduled to Speak at Washington Public Policy Conference

Produce Industry’s Policy Conference Delivers Blockbuster Speaker Lineup

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The architect of Obama Administration’s “buy local” movement, one of the most important “deal makers” in the United States Senate, and one of the most recognizable faces in the House of Representatives will address attendees at the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference in September. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan will speak at the conference’s Wednesday Keynote General Breakfast Session, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will address congressional visit attendees after Wednesday’s luncheon session and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) will join the United Fresh’s political supporters Wednesday night for dinner to benefit United FreshPAC, the association’s political action fund. “The produce industry is in a very unique position,” said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. “We are currently invested in the outcomes of many important discussions on Capitol Hill; from locally-grown, energy, climate change and food safety, to labor, immigration and child nutrition. Having this caliber of lineup to address many of these important issues, the Washington Conference provides our attendees, the tools needed to continue tackling these issues. Deputy Secretary Merrigan, Senator Graham and Minority Leader Boehner are each at the core of these debates in Washington and having them speak to the industry is a fantastic opportunity.”

  • Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan – One of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Deputy Secretary Merrigan oversees the day-to-day operation of USDA’s many programs, including the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” effort as well as USDA’s other local food initiatives. Under these efforts, Merrigan pushes USDA to more simply connect farmers and consumers and support local and regional food systems.
  • Senator Lindsey Graham – Known as an independent and bipartisan voice, Senator Graham has long been one of the Senate’s most important members, engaging in discussion with the White House and his Democratic colleagues on key issues such as immigration reform, climate change and energy policy. He has been an important supporter of the produce industry in South Carolina and across the country on a number of important issues.
  • House Minority Leader John Boehner – A former chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Minority Leader Boehner continues to shape issues that affect not just the produce industry but the entire country. As a key leader in the Republican Party, Rep. Boehner has appeared in many venues and across all of the major national media outlets discussing his party’s views on issues ranging from national security, energy, business, taxes, and health care.

The addresses by Merrigan, Graham and Boehner will headline the first day of the Washington Public Policy Conference, September 14-16 at the Gaylord National Hotel on the banks of the Potomac River. During the three-day conference, attendees will gather to discuss food safety, farm labor, nutrition and consumption, locally grown and other priority issues for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. During the annual March on Capitol Hill, industry members will have the unique opportunity to meet in person with lawmakers and staff, discuss food safety policies with FDA officials, hear from key Cabinet officials and engage in face-to-face dialogue with President Obama’s executive team.

This year’s conference will also include the return of the Management Resource Center, where attendees can research and explore new solutions and technology providers, and the popular Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, a favorite among industry members and congressional staffers alike. During Fresh Festival, House and Senate lawmakers and their staff join attendees to sample the various fruits and vegetables the produce industry has to offer. In addition to Fresh Festival, the conference will also include a New Orleans-themed cruise up the Potomac River to benefit United’s A Salad Bar in Every School campaign. As part of the build-up to the United Fresh 2011 convention and expo in New Orleans, guests will enjoy Dixieland jazz, dinner and waterfront views of Washington, D.C., all while raising funds to provide salad bars to schools in New Orleans and nationwide.

Registration is now open for the 2010 Washington Public Policy Conference. More information may be found by contacting United Fresh Political Affairs Manager Angela Bezon at 202-303-3400, ext. 416 or abezon@unitedfresh.org, or by visiting http://www.unitedfresh.org

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