Produce Marketing Association, Western Growers, and United Fresh Produce Association Provide Feedback to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Max Teplitski Discusses
WASHINGTON, DC - Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Western Growers, and United Fresh Produce Association have joined forces in an effort to continue pushing the industry forward. The three associations recently penned a letter issuing feedback to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the NIFA Listens stakeholder input mechanism, stressing the importance of horticulture in the U.S. economy, and encouraging the inclusion of industry and trade association representatives on review panels for funding of future projects.
“The biomedical, space, and other industries benefited from federally funded R&D [research and development] efforts for decades. It is time that the horticulture industry similarly builds on the thoughtful and strategic investment of federal research dollars,” said PMA Chief Science Officer Dr. Max Teplitski. “Fruit, vegetable, and floral industry is critical to the economy and public health. An R&D investment into these 10 areas will give us the tools to continue building the industry of the future.”
According to a press release, the letter applauded NIFA’s efforts to foster the culture of agricultural innovation through the federal Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) program and identified the need for USDA NIFA to partner with the Land Grant and other institutions to focus on the challenges facing the industry. The letter also called for thoughtful and sustained federal investments in several crucial sectors of the industry. Some of these areas include:
- Labor and automation
- Biotech tools and resources
- Sustainable packaging and biodegradable stickers
- Technologies to reduce food waste and food loss
- Systems “One Health” approach to food safety
- Climate-smart agriculture and smart energy
- Health benefits of consumption of fresh produce and floral
- Integrated pest management
- Water: safety and use efficiency
- Soil health
To read the letter in full, click here.
AndNowUKnow will continue to bring you the latest news in the produce industry, so keep an eye out for that little green apple.