By JERRY HAGSTROM
For the Capital Press
WASHINGTON -- The boards of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Produce Marketing Association have decided not to merge the two groups, United Fresh Chairman Dave Krause told members of his group at their Washington Public Policy Conference on Oct. 2.
The two produce groups had considered merging to create a single, more effective association, but the boards have decided the cultures and priorities of the two groups are too different and that they will remain separate and independent, said Krause, the president of Paramount Citrus, a Delano, Calif., firm.
The Produce Marketing Association remains more focused on global expansion while United Fresh is more focused on government affairs efforts on food safety and labor in the United States, Krause said. These priorities "were not in conflict, but would have been hard to pursue together," he said.
The final sticking point, he said, was whether to let the board of the new organization decide on who would lead it, which was United Fresh's proposal, or whether to make that decision up front.
But the two boards did not part with hard feelings, he said. "We are not enemies and we are not at war."