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NEWARK, Del. - The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) here will launch an industry-wide national campaign next week to motivate produce supply chain members to attract Congressional support for the passage of the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007, also know as AgJOBS.
"As an association representing the produce supply chain from field to table, it is critical for PMA to explain that this is not an 'agriculture-only' issue," said Bryan Silbermann, PMA president. "Lack of workers negatively affects every sector of the supply chain by severely limiting produce availability and by increasing upward price pressures all the way to the consumer. Many of our members have made it very clear that they need PMA's concerted effort to show the breadth of the impact of worker shortages. This campaign is the result."
Anthony Barbieri, director of produce sales for Malvern, Pa.-based Acme Markets Inc. commended PMA's leadership with the legislative issue, which he said "is highly valued by my business. In fact, this is a $90 billion imperative to take action.
"Without workers in the fields," Barbieri continued, "we won't have produce on consumers' plates. If they aren't there to gather the produce from the field, it will obviously never make it to retail and foodservice establishments."
The campaign, the largest-ever grass-roots push for the organization, will utilize communication vehicles including print and online advertising; original, issue-specific artwork; op/ed letters by produce industry leaders; news releases; personal calls and visits to legislators by PMA board members; telephone outreach from PMA chairman Peter Goulet; interactive online tools; and a grassroots employer toolkit.
The PMA AgJOBS campaign will launch the week of April 23, 2007, and efforts to encourage industry members to support the bill will continue until Congress votes. Additional information about the bill can be found at www.pma.com/AgJOBS
In addition to this proactive supply chain campaign for immigration reform, PMA monitors, analyzes, and actively responds to regulatory and legislative issues that affect businesses throughout the produce and floral supply chains including country of origin labeling, food safety and security, the Farm Bill, and nutrition issues.