kumanya panax sehirlerarasi nakliyat kartal evden eve nakliyat

The Washington Conference


The Washington Conference – September 28-30, 2015

Register Today

The Washington Conference is the industry’s annual gathering for strategic, face-to-face dialogue with key members of Congress, their staff and top regulatory officials. Attendees engage in education sessions with top policy experts on the issues of the day. The event also includes various networking activities with fellow industry leaders and the Rising Leaders program for high-potential industry employees.

UF_WashConf_RegBrochureJoin your colleagues in Washington September 28-30, 2015 to make a real difference on produce industry priorities and shape a better business future!

Download the Registration Brochure



Schedule of Events

Monday, September 28

All Day Volunteer Leadership Meetings
See Volunteer Leadership Meeting section below for details.
7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Registration Open
10:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rising Leaders Lunch and Seminar
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. United Fresh New Member & First-Time
Washington Conference Attendee Welcome Program
12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Group Lunch for All Volunteer Leaders
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Opening Reception
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Leadership Alumni Organization Dinner (Invitation only)

 Tuesday, September 29

7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Registration Open
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Opening General Session Breakfast

General Michael Hayden, retired U.S. Air Force four-star general and former Director of both the CIA and the NSA, valued for his expertise on intelligence matters such as cyber security, government surveillance, geopolitics and more, will present the Keynote Address.

9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Connecting Policy Issues to Your Business Education Sessions
1. The Preventive Controls Rules
2. Genetically Modified Produce: Policy vs. Marketplace Issue
3. The Role of DC Political Media in Shaping Agriculture Policy
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.    Connecting Policy Issues to Your Business Education Sessions
1. The Future of Food Safety: FSMA Education and Enforcement
2. California Agriculture: Charting a Strong Future Through Today’s Challenges
3. Global Trade Issues and Opportunities for Fresh Produce
12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.                                                                                                                                                                                      General Session Luncheon

While schools nationwide are serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, the school nutrition standards are under attack in Washington, DC.  As attendees prepare for Congressional visits, hear from the real leaders who are increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in school districts across the country. 

2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.  March on Capitol Hill: U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Meetings
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. United Fresh Political Action Reception & Dinner* (Separately Ticketed Event)
East Hall, Union Station

Wednesday, September 30

7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Registration Open
7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. General Session Breakfast
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. March on Capitol Hill: U.S. Senate Congressional Meetings
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m General Session Luncheon

Tucker Carlson, Political News Commentator and Co-host of 
Fox and Friends Weekend, will present An Insider’s Look at Washington, 
Politics and Everything In Between at the luncheon.

As of July 22. Schedule subject to change.

*Separately ticketed event. For more information, visit the registration page or contact Angela Tiwari at 202.303.3416.

Hotel & Travel


The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is the event location for the United Fresh Washington Conference. Hotel inventory is limited at the Hyatt; to check availability please visit the Hyatt’s website, or call their reservations number listed below.


Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 737-1234 or 1-888-421-1442

In addition, there are a range of other hotel properties in the area. For your convenience, please see the 4 properties below:

             Liaison Capitol Hill DC
             415 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington DC  20001
             (202) 638-1616
             Distance to Hyatt Regency Washington: across the street

             Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/U.S. Capitol Hotel
             1225 First Street NW, Washington DC  20002
             (202) 408-4870
             Distance to Hyatt Regency Washington: 1 mile

             Courtyard Washington Capitol Hill/Navy Yard
             140 L St SE, Washington, DC 20003
             (202) 479-0027
             Distance to Hyatt Regency Washington: 1.8 miles

             Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol
             550 “c” Street S.W., Washington, DC 20024
             (202) 479-4000
             Distance to Hyatt Regency Washington: 1.1 miles

If you would like to extend your hotel search beyond the above properties, we have listed hotel search engines that can assist you in finding available hotel rooms in the vicinity. We recommend that you stay in the Capitol Hill, Union Station or Chinatown/Gallery Place area for easy access to the programming at the conference.


The Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is located 4.6 miles from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Alternatively Dulles International Airport (IAD) is 27.6 miles and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) is 31.7 respectively. A variety of ground transportation options are available at the airports.


1409080266_editBuild new business connections with industry leaders and catch up with old friends, all while experiencing the nation’s capital. The Conference’s networking events will help you and your team reconnect with colleagues, meet new customers and build excitement for your company. View the hundreds of leaders that attended in 2014.

New Member & First-Time Attendee Welcome Program

Monday, September 28 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Join us at this special reception to welcome our newest members and first-time Washington Conference attendees. Make new contacts and learn way you can be more involved with the United Fresh Produce Association year round. For more information about this event contact Sophie Drayton at 202.303.3413 or click here to learn more.

Opening Reception

Monday, September 28 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Kick off an exciting week in our nation’s capital at the Washington Conference Opening Reception. This is the perfect opportunity to catch up with colleagues and prepare for your week ahead in D.C.

Leadership Alumni Organization Dinner* (Invitation Only)

Monday, September 28 | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
The United Fresh Leadership Alumni Organization Board invites all United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program alumni and their spouses to the 2015 Fall Leadership Alumni Dinner. For more information about this event contact Victoria Backer at 202.303.3408.

United Fresh Political Impact Reception & Dinner* (Separately Ticketed Event)

Tuesday, September 29 | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The United Fresh Political Impact Reception & Dinner honors those industry members who have made a personal commitment to strengthen our industry by giving back financially. Experience a spectacular evening at historic Union Station with like-minded peers in support of the United FreshPAC.

*Separately ticketed event. For more information  contact Angela Tiwari at 202.303.3416.


General SessionsSpeakers & Topics

Opening General Session Breakfast Speaker
Tuesday, September 29 | 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Hayden_MichaelSafety and Security in an Unpredictable World

Keynote speaker General Michael Hayden, former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency examines the United States’ role in today’s dangerous and unpredictable world. As head of the country’s premier intelligence agencies, General Hayden was on the frontline of global change, the war on terror, and the growing cyber challenge. Today, he remains intimately involved in international policy and global security, advising both governments and private companies. General Hayden will share his views on hot spots around the world, analyzing the tumultuous global environment and what it all means for you, your business and America’s interests.

General Session Luncheon: 
Tuesday, September 29 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

What’s Happening on the Hill?
Keynote Speakers:

Valadao Rep__Tim_Ryan
Rep. David Valadao, R-CA Rep. Tim Ryan, D-OH

Before heading to Capitol Hill for our afternoon visits, hear first-hand from Members of Congress what’s happening on key industry issues, including trade, drought legislation and nutrition policy.

School Nutrition Standards Make Impact Where It Counts

saladbarKeynote Speakers:
Donna Martin, Director, School Nutrition Program, Burke County Board of Education (Waynesboro, GA)
Eric Goldstein, Chief Executive Officer, New York City Department of Education, SchoolFood (New York, NY)
Bertrand Weber, Business Manager, Minneapolis Public Schools (Minneapolis, MN)

 While schools nationwide are serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, the school nutrition standards are under attack in Washington, DC.  As attendees prepare for Congressional visits, hear from the real leaders who are increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in school districts across the country.  From the largest to smallest districts, in both urban and rural settings, you’ll hear firsthand how the fruit and vegetable standards are benefitting 31 million children each school day, leaving a profound impact on the future health and eating habits of our nation’s children.  Get the ammunition you need to tell your members of Congress that the fruit and vegetable standards are working!

General Session Breakfast
Wednesday, September 30 | 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Working With Government to Build a Better Business Future

Kick off the morning with important policymakers whose decisions today will affect the fresh fruit and vegetable industry tomorrow. Key administration officials and Congressional leaders will address issues and opportunities affecting our industry, and share their own perspectives on how the fruit and vegetable industry can work with government to grow a better business future.

General Session Luncheon Speaker
Wednesday, September 30 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


An Insider’s Look at Washington, Politics and Everything In Between

Political News Commentator Tucker Carlson, Co-host of Fox and Friends Weekend, will provide an entertaining look at the current political environment, from inside the Washington beltway to the 2016 campaign trail. His most recent book, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, gives insight into Carlson’s humorous but sage views as he dissects all things political in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

Education Sessions

Prepare for your critical Congressional meetings through conference education focused on the top issues and opportunities facing the fresh produce industry. Hear from policy experts as they explore the issues that affect you and your business.

Connecting Policy Issues to Your Business Sessions
Tuesday, September 29
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

200149227-001FSMA Moves to Reality – The Final Preventive Controls Rule
The final Preventive Controls rule implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act for food facilities is set to publish August 31. Hear first-hand from FDA officials on how the final rules will affect your operations, from packinghouse, to wholesale warehouse, to retail/foodservice distribution facilities.

Moderator: David Gombas, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh Produce Association

Speaker: Esther Bleicher, Policy Analyst, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Produce-Option-1Genetically Modified Produce: Policy vs. Marketplace Issues
Should GMO labeling be mandatory at either the state or federal level? What about voluntary labeling of non-GMO foods? Legislation addressing these issues is now being debated in Congress, while a new Vermont labeling law is due to go into effect July 1, 2016. With genetically enhanced produce items now coming to market, how will labeling issues and the policy debate affect our business?

Moderator: Julie Manes, Director of Government Relations, United Fresh Produce Association

Speaker: Charles Conner, CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC)

Capitol-MediaThe Role of D.C. Political Media in Shaping Agriculture Policy
Commonly referred to as the “fourth estate” or fourth branch of government because of its critical role in political reporting, a relatively unknown subset of the media is actively shaping coverage of every political issue in Washington, D.C. On a daily basis, a handful of D.C. newsletters mold the views of the nation’s opinion leaders. We’ll engage with D.C.’s top agriculture policy reporters who shape Congressional opinion on everything from crop insurance to food safety to school nutrition policy.

Moderator: Jill Talley, Communications Manager, United Fresh Produce Association

Philip Brasher, Senior Editor, Agri-Pulse
Jerry Hagstrom, Editor/Publisher, The Hagstrom Report; columnist, The National Journal
Jason Huffman, Agriculture & Trade Editor, Politico

Tuesday, September 29
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

FDA-food-safety-6-flickrFSMA Next Step – Implementation and Enforcement
With the final Preventive Controls rule in place, and the final Produce Rule to come shortly, FDA’s attention now turns to implementing and enforcing these regulations across the industry. Hear from FDA and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture on implementation activities, timelines, and enforcement strategies.

Moderator: David Gombas, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh Produce Association

Bob Ehart, Senior Policy & Science Advisor, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
Priya Rathnam, Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer, Division of Enforcement, Office of Compliance, CFSAN, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

FieldCalifornia Agriculture: Charting A Strong Future Through Today’s Challenges
The political, regulatory and business challenges facing California produce
have never been greater. Hear from California produce association leaders, Joel Nelsen, Barry Bedwell and Jim Bogart where they see the future of California agriculture heading, and what it will take politically to succeed in continuing to build a strong California produce industry.

Moderator: Tom Deardorff II, President, Deardorff Family Farms

Barry Bedwell, President & CEO, California Fresh Fruit Association
Jim Bogart, President and General Counsel, Grower-Shipper Association of Central California
Joel Nelsen, President & CEO, California Citrus Mutual

CargoGlobal Trade Issues and Opportunities for Fresh Produce
With Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in place, what is the future of trade agreements that will most impact the fruit and vegetable industry? Will potential changes with COOL result in trade retaliation? What is happening with legislation affecting operations at America’s ports? Sit down with experts to get to the bottom of all these questions and more.

Moderator: Julie Manes, Director of Government Relations, United Fresh Produce Association

Peter Friedman, Executive Director, Agriculture Transportation Coalition
John Keeling, Executive Vice President & CEO, National Potato Council
Tyson Redpath, Senior Vice President, The Russell Group, Legislative Counsel to United Fresh Produce Association
Chris Schlect, President, Northwest Horticultural Council

SpeakersBiographies & Details

BBedwellPhotos-webBarry Bedwell
Barry Bedwell is president of the California Fresh Fruit Association (formerly known as the California Grape & Tree Fruit League). Previously, he served as president of Allied Grape Growers and general manager of Ciatti Grape Brokerage in San Rafael, California. He currently serves as co-chair of the Invasive Pest Coalition, chair of the Agribusiness President’s Council (APC) and on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF). Additionally, he sits on the President’s Commission on Agriculture at Fresno State University and the California State University Chancellor’s Agricultural Advisory Committee. He graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1977.

Esther Bleicher
Esther W.B. Bleicher is FDA’s Chief Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Implementation Manager. She is responsible for managing the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, including the development of regulations and guidance for industry. Before joining the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine at FDA, Esther was an attorney in FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel, advising FDA on issues related to foods, animal products, and medical devices. She has a Law degree from Harvard Law School and a Master’s degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health. She received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.

Jim-Bogart-webJim Bogart
As President and General Counsel of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California (GSA), Jim is responsible for leading the Association’s policy and issues management work in many diverse and complex areas, including labor, water, food safety, crop protection, technology and innovation, nutrition and health, air quality, transportation and logistics, land use, and sustainability. He also provides legal counseling and representation to agricultural employers in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law. A graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, Bogart is active in numerous community organizations, including the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, California Bar Association (Agribusiness Committee), Ag Against Hunger, Hartnell College Ag Steering Committee and Monterey County Legal Services.

Pphilip_brasherhilip Brasher
Philip Brasher is Senior Editor for Agri-Pulse, a weekly agriculture news publication. Reporting on food and agriculture policy for more than 15 years, he most recently served as editor of “CQ on Agriculture and Food” for CQ Roll Call, a unit of The Economist Group. Brasher also worked for The Associated Press, The Des Moines Register and Gannett. In 2009, his project funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting looked into prospects for biotechnology in Africa. Brasher has served as a key reporter on award-winning projects examining the future of biofuels, the impact of climate change on agriculture and the environmental and economic effects of changing land ownership patterns. A native of Texas, with a bachelor of journalism from The University of Texas at Austin, he is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and North American Agricultural Journalists.

Kevin_ConcannonKevin Concannon
Kevin Concannon was nominated by President Obama and Secretary Vilsack and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2009 to serve as Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Working in partnership with state and local organizations, he oversees implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program; child nutrition programs including National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Summer Food Service Programs; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), among others. His lengthy and distinguished career in public service includes more than 25 years as director of state Health and Human Services departments in Maine, Oregon, and Iowa, championing expanded services, improved access, alternatives to institutions, consumer choices, affordable health care, diversity in workplace and programs, and modernization of public information technology systems. He obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from Saint Francis Xavier University, which awarded him a Doctor of Laws Degree honoris causa in 2013.

chuck connorsCharles Conner
As President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) since January 2009, Chuck has more than 25 years of experience in national and state government and agricultural trade associations. Prior to NCFC, Conner served as deputy secretary of USDA, overseeing day-to-day operations, developing the agency’s $95 billion budget, formulating domestic and international food, trade, security and energy policy and communicating mission-critical aspects of USDA to internal and external audiences. He led development of the Bush Administration’s $300 billion Farm Bill proposal and the strategy to educate and inform industry, constituents and Congress. While president of the Corn Refiners Association, he directed a successful World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA trade case against the Government of Mexico. A graduate of Purdue University, he is often cited by major print and television media for his key role in the United States’ efforts to influence global food and trade issues and in developing immigration policy changes to the H-2A program.

Congressman_Rodney_DavisRepresentative Rodney Davis (R-Illinois)
Rodney Davis was recently sworn into his second term in Congress serving the 13th District of Illinois, a 14-county district covering both urban and rural areas of Central and Southwestern Illinois. Currently serving on both the House Agriculture Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he was the only member of the 113th Congress to serve on two conference committees tasked with bridging the gap between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill and water resources legislation. Rodney’s work on the Farm Bill helped Congress produce a five-year bill that provides certainty to our farmers, strengthens crop insurance and cuts $23 billion in spending. Additionally, Rodney led the way to ensure farmers, who understand agriculture better than anyone, have a seat at the table when the EPA creates new rules and regulations impacting the agriculture industry. Prior to being elected, Rodney served as Projects Director for Congressman John Shimkus (IL-15) for 16 years helping Illinois citizens and communities cut through government red tape and secure federal funding.

tom_deardorff_IITom Deardorff II
Tom Deardorff II is President and Co-Owner of Deardorff Family Farms in Oxnard, California. Launched by Tom’s great grandfather in 1937, Deardorff Family Farms is a fully integrated farming, packing, re-packing, shipping and marketing operation owned and operated by the family’s fourth generation. Tom received a business degree from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School. After practicing law for several years, he joined the family business fulltime in 1999 and serves on numerous industry boards including the Ventura County Agricultural Association, California Tomato Commission, California State Board of Food and Agriculture, Western Growers Association Board of Directors and the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board.

Lorelei_DiSograLorelei DiSogra, EdD, RD
Lorelei DiSogra, Ed.D., R.D., is Vice President, Nutrition and Health, at United Fresh Produce Association headquartered in Washington, D.C., where she is responsible for shaping federal policy to drive environmental changes that increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Previously, she was the Director of the National 5 A Day Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and served as Vice President of Nutrition and Health at Dole Food Company. She holds a Doctoral Degree in Nutrition Education and a Master’s Degree in Public Health Nutrition and Nutrition Education from Columbia University and is a 40+ year member of the American Public Health Association.

Bob-EhartBob Ehart
Bob Ehart is Senior Policy & Science Advisor with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). Prior to that, he spent several years working for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, for the cooperative extension service in North Dakota and for a multinational chemical company, Ciba-Geigy, now known as Syngenta, covering issues management and public affairs for the plant protection, animal health and biotechnology business sectors. Throughout his career, he has worked on a wide array of agricultural policy including: food safety, environmental management issues, animal and plant health, pesticide and other environmental issues affecting agriculture, biotechnology, and the farm bill in a variety of settings—academic, government, industry and consulting—domestically and internationally. Bob has degrees in biology, entomology and ecology, and he completed his course work for a PhD in Land Resources in the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Scott_Faber_headshotScott Faber
Scott is Vice President of Government Affairs at The Environmental Working Group (EWG), where he leads a team working to improve food and farm legislation, chemicals policy and a host of other issues. Prior to EWG, he served as vice president for federal affairs at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, where he spearheaded efforts to enact the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which sets new food safety standards for food manufacturers and farmers. He received a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Peter Friedmann b wPeter Friedmann
As Executive Director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC), Peter annually conducts Ag Shipper Workshops around the country, and is a frequent speaker at major transportation conferences. He is known as one of the principle advocates of shipper interests before the various federal agencies and Congress, while advising individual exporters and importers on ocean shipping negotiations as well as compliance with U.S. and foreign regulations. A graduate from the University of Washington Law School, Peter served as Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation where he drafted the Ocean Shipping Act and other transport legislation. A graduate from the University of Washington Law School, Peter served as Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation where he drafted the Ocean Shipping Act and other transport legislation.

eric g

Eric Goldstein
As the chief executive of the Office of School Support Services, Eric has transformed the New York City Department of Education by developing a diverse, restructured management team that uses a data-driven approach to study the foodservice program of the nation’s largest school district, identifying areas of improvement and increasing participation in breakfast and summer meals through the use of innovative techniques, including salad bars and food trucks. By incorporating a gradual transition of more nutritious menu offerings, he has gained student acceptability, given schools the ability to compute their own per-meal costs and revamped the district’s fiscal perspective, reducing the tax levy contribution from nearly $60 million in 2003 to $300,000 in 2011.

David-GombasDave Gombas, Ph.D
As the senior vice president of food safety and technology at United Fresh Produce Association, Dr. Gombas provides food safety, microbiology, regulatory and public policy assistance for the fresh and fresh-cut produce industry. Previously, Dr. Gombas has held food safety and microbiology positions with the National Food Processors Association, Campbell Soup Company, Kraft Foods and the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, where he worked with FDA to develop HACCP training courses for FDA investigators. Currently the coordinator of the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative and the US National Technical Working Group for Global G.A.P, he also serves on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF). He received his Ph.D. in food microbiology at University of Massachusetts, and a B.S and M.S. in food science from Rutgers University and MIT, respectively.

Robert_Guenther_150x150Robert Guenther
Robert Guenther is the Senior Vice President of Public Policy for United Fresh Produce Association headquartered in Washington, DC, where he leads a government and public affairs staff in representing the fresh fruit and vegetable industry before Congress, the Administration, regulatory agencies and the media. Prior to United Fresh, Robert’s vast political career spanned the halls of Capitol Hill and federal agencies, working for former Representative Gary Condit (CA-18), serving as a congressional aide on the House Committee on Agriculture and focusing on environmental issues at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Highly regarded for his bipartisan approach and historical knowledge and understanding of agriculture and trade policy, Robert has been appointed to numerous prestigious positions, including the Board of Directors of the North American Dispute Resolution Corporation, the Minor Crop Farm Alliance, the USDA Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee on Trade for Fruits and Vegetables and the Food and Drug Policy Forum Editorial Advisory Board. He has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Bachelor’s degree in Government, both from the University of Maryland.

Jerry_HagstromJerry Hagstrom
Jerry Hagstrom writes and publishes The Hagstrom Report, a daily email newsletter on agriculture, and serves as a columnist for National Journal, where he’s covered agriculture and politics. In the 1980s he pioneered the magazine’s coverage of the political consulting industry. He is the author of Beyond Reagan: The New Landscape of American Politics; To Be, Not To Be Seen: The Mystery of Swedish Business; and, with Neal R. Peirce, of The Book of America: Inside 50 States Today. A graduate of the University of Denver, Jerry has been a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and a research fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University. The American Journalism Review has named Hagstrom one of its “unsung heroes” for “sterling work in the shadows” covering agriculture.

Hayden_MichaelGeneral Michael Hayden
General Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) and chief of the Central Security Service (CSS). As head of the country’s premier intelligence agencies, he was on the frontline of global change, the war on terrorism and the growing cyber challenge and understands the unique dangers, risks and potential rewards of the political, economic and security situations facing the nation. Prior to working at the CIA, General Hayden capped a career in military service that included nearly 40 years in the Air Force. From 2005–2006, he was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country. During his military career, Hayden served as Commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center. He served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. European Command, National Security Council and the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria. He also served as deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and U.S. Forces in South Korea.

Jason_HuffmanJason Huffman
Jason Huffman joined POLITICO Pro in July 2013 after serving five years as the editor in chief of Food Chemical News. Previously, he worked more than 17 years at United Communications Group, serving at the helm of more than a dozen award-winning information services, including those covering bank regulation, home health care and telecom. He started his journalism career as a beat reporter for community newspapers in the Baltimore area. A graduate of Lycoming College, Huffman grew up in a rural part of Pennsylvania, working summers for his grandfather and uncles in their respective hay, straw and fertilizer businesses.

jkeellingJohn Keeling
John Keeling is the Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC) located in Washington, D.C., where he directs the development and implementation of policy for the only national association of potato growers in the U.S. Prior to joining NPC, Keeling worked for major agriculture, food processor and farm organizations, including the National Food Processors Association and the American Farm Bureau. Keeling received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Washington and Lee University and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech.

Brian-Kocher-photoBrian Kocher
Brian Kocher serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Castellini Group of Companies (April 2015). Previously, Kocher spent 10 years at Chiquita Brands International holding a variety of executive positions. Kocher most recently was the Interim Chief Executive Officer and has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, as well as Chief Financial Officer responsible for all aspects of the company’s financial operations worldwide. Kocher also served as President, Europe & the Middle East, for Chiquita Brands International, Inc. In his role as President of Europe and the Middle East, Kocher was responsible for leading the company’s operations throughout the region, including bananas, other produce and diversified value-added products. Kocher joined Chiquita in 2005 and served as President of North America since October 2007, leading the successful transformation of the company’s North American banana and salad businesses. He previously served as vice president, controller and chief accounting officer and has more than 20 years of accounting, sales, finance and business process change expertise, including his previous work experience at General Electric and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Currently, Kocher is the Chairman of the Board for the United Fresh Produce Association.

Julie_ManesJulie Manes
Julie joined United Fresh in 2010 as Director of Government Relations. In that capacity, she represents United Fresh before federal policymakers on issues such as immigration, environment, transportation and Farm Bill policies, among others. Prior to joining United Fresh, Julie was a federal lobbyist for DuPont’s agriculture businesses and before that, served as a legislative assistant to Senator Grassley of Iowa, where she focused on agriculture issues.

Martin,-Donna-S_Head-Shot-ADonna S. Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND
Donna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and is currently the Director of the Burke County School Nutrition Program in Waynesboro, Georgia, which operates the National School Breakfast Program, the National School Lunch Program, the After-School at Risk Snack Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant Progam, the Supper Program and the Summer Feeding Program. Her career in school nutrition spans more than 23 years in both large and small systems and includes posts on the School Nutrition Association Foundation Board and as the past treasurer for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Joel_Nelsen-webJoel Nelsen
Joel Nelsen is President and CEO of California Citrus Mutual, leading the organization’s efforts to inform and educate citrus producers and monitor, advocate and comment on issues affecting their economic livelihood. Appointed three times to serve on USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC), he also serves on the Executive Committee for Citrus Health Response Program (a national effort in partnership with USDA) and is vice-chair for the United States Citrus Science Council and is founding chairman of the Agri-Business Presidents’ Council. Nelsen earned a Bachelor’s degree from Cal State University, Fullerton; continues to speak as a guest lecturer at California Polytechnic Institute, San Luis Obispo; and resides on the University of California’s President’s Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Priya_FDAPriya Rathnam, MPH
Priya Rathnam, M.P.H. is a Supervisory Consumer Safety Officer in the Division of Enforcement/Office of Compliance at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). As a team leader in the Food Adulteration Assessment Branch, she routinely reviews regulatory actions related to microbial contamination in food. Priya has worked at CFSAN for 14 years, and works closely with FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs and Office of Chief Counsel in determining regulatory strategies for follow up action. She currently is serving as a co-lead for the FSMA Phase 2 workgroup for implementation of the Preventive Controls in Human Foods regulation.

TTyson_Redpathyson Redpath
Tyson joined The Russell Group, a public affairs and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., in 2005 after serving twice on the legislative staff of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), where he was responsible for advising Boehner on all policy matters concerning agriculture, trade, the federal budget, financial services and tax. An experienced lobbyist, Tyson has also worked off Capitol Hill at the law firm of Olsson, Frank and Weeda, P.C., specializing in food safety, child nutrition, and other matters; as Director of Government Affairs for the National Grain Trade Council; for the Republican National Convention and on congressional and presidential campaigns. He is a graduate of Indiana University.

Randy_RussellRandy Russell
Randy is a partner with The Russell Group, a public affairs and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. After receiving his undergraduate degree in public administration and graduate degree in economics both from George Mason University, he has worked in a number of agricultural policy positions both inside and outside of government, including serving as Chief of Staff for Secretary of Agriculture John Block; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economics, USDA; Vice President for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives; Director of Government Relations, The Pillsbury Company; Legislative Assistant to former Senator Rudy Boschwitz; and Economist for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Rep__Tim_RyanRepresentative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, Tim Ryan advocates for working families in Ohio’s 13th District. Successfully reelected six times, he is now serving in his sixth term. Congressman Ryan currently serves as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee which controls the expenditure of money by the federal government. Ryan is also a member of the House Budget Committee and serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus, where he is a leader in the fight to strengthen America’s manufacturing base and reform U.S. trade policies. A champion to improve the health and well-being of American families and children, he also is the author of “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit” and “The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm.” Prior to serving in the U.S. Congress, Ryan served in the Ohio State Senate. He holds a law degree from the University Of New Hampshire School Of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center) and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Bowling Green State University.

Chris-SchlectChris Schlect
Chris Schlect is President of the Northwest Horticultural Council (NHC) located in Yakima, Washington. A graduate of Washington State University and the Gonzaga School of Law, he has worked for the NHC since 1980. He is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, American Agricultural Law Association and is active in numerous industry organizations including the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), Alliance for Food and Farming, Center for Produce Safety, Crop Protection Coalition, Minor Crop Farmer Alliance, Tree-Fruit Technical Advisory Council, United Fresh Produce Association’s Government Relations Council and Washington Apple Education Foundation.

Tom-Stenzel---FormalTom Stenzel
Tom Stenzel has served as President and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association since 1993. He is a frequent speaker on produce business issues, and has represented the industry testifying before Congress numerous times. He was honored as the 2002 Produce Man of the Year by The Packer newspaper. He is the past Chairman of the International Federation for Produce Standards, and has served in many government and industry leadership positions, including the first U.S. Department of Agriculture Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. He is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 leading association executives, and the Key Industry Associations Committee of the American Society of Association Executives, from which he achieved the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 1990. Tom was the founding President of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in 1986. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and speech communication from the University of Richmond.

jill_talleyJill Talley
Jill Talley is the Issues Communication Manager for United Fresh, where she develops messaging and strategic outreach tactics around core issues impacting the fresh produce industry, including agriculture policy, labor and immigration, child nutrition, transportation, trade and commerce. With stints at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, the American Society of Association Executives, Commercial Real Estate Development Association and Food Products Association, among others, Talley has made her career in the nonprofit sector, helping patient advocacy groups, professional business societies and trade associations increase awareness of a variety of health care-related, social, economic and environmental concerns before Congress, the media and the general public. She received a B.A. in Public Communication from American University in 2001.

ValadaoRepresentative David Valadao (R-California)
Born and raised in Hanford, California, David Valadao represents California’s agriculturally rich 21st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives where he serves on the House Appropriations Committee, specifically the Agriculture, Energy and Water, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs subcommittees. He also is currently a partner at Valadao Dairy and Triple V Dairy, a family farming business started by his father in 1973 which now consists of two dairies, as well as more than 1,000 acres of farmland growing alfalfa, corn, and wheat as dairy feed stock. Prior to being elected to the House in 2010, Valadao served in the California General Assembly, including a post as Vice-Chair of the Agriculture Committee. He attended the College of the Sequoias.

Bertrand WeberBertrand Weber
Bertrand Weber is the Director, Culinary and Nutrition Services at Minneapolis Public Schools, where he revamped the district’s school nutrition efforts by introducing salad bars into 52 schools, re-establishing scratch cooking at nearly 20 schools and expanding participation in the Farm to School movement. With a career spanning more than 35 years in both hospitality and school food service sectors, he also serves as vice-chair of the National Farm to School Advisory Board and chair of the School Nutrition Association Major City Committee and represents the Lead District of School Food Focus in the Upper Midwest Regional Learning Lab.


Be part of the larger conversation and show Congress how strong our industry voice can be by participating in the March on Capitol Hill to kick off two days of strategic meetings with members of Congress and their staff. This is your chance to make sure our elected officials hear YOUR voice on the issues that affect your business and our industry.

2015-05-27_13-08-57March on Capitol Hill: U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Meetings

Tuesday, September 29 | 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
March on Capitol Hill to meet face-to-face with your Members of the House of Representatives. Discuss the issues critical to your business and share personal testimony of how the Representative’s actions directly affect you and the produce industry overall.

1409100071March on Capitol Hill: U.S. Senate Congressional Meetings

Wednesday, September 30 | 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The March on Capitol Hill continues on the other side of the Hill with visits to your  Senators. Use this opportunity to discuss critical issues impacting your business  with the elected officials we’ve empowered to create change on our behalf.

ISSUES | Food Safety | Impact of Media and Social Media on the Industry and/or Politics | Water | Food labeling | GMO  | Organics | Environmental Regulations and Consumer Perceptions | Immigration Need for DOL to Fix H2A | Transportation | Nutrition | Appropriations | Trade

Volunteer Leadership Meetings

United Fresh Produce Association is led by more than 450 individuals currently serving in elected or appointed positions of leadership. These volunteer leaders represent our member companies throughout the entire produce supply chain from farm to table. Attendees are welcome to observe market segment boards and expert policy council meetings.

Market Segment Boards and Expert Policy Councils

Monday, September 28 | Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Allied Association Chairmen and Presidents
Breakfast and Roundtable Discussion (Invitation Only)
Thornton Room, 11th Floor
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Food Safety & Technology Council Meeting
Regency C, Ballroom Level
9:00 a.m. – Noon Finance & Business Management Council Meeting
Bryce, 2nd Floor, Conference Level

Government Relations Council Meeting
Congressional A, Lobby Level

Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council Meeting
Columbia A, Ballroom Level

Supply Chain Logistics Council Meeting
Congressional B, Lobby Level

10:00 a.m. – Noon Leadership Alumni Board Meeting
Olympic, 2nd Floor Conference Level
Noon – 1:15 p.m.

Group Lunch for All Volunteer Leaders
Regency B Ballroom, Ballroom Level

USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon, will be joining us for a candid discussion about nutrition policy issues. Under Secretary Concannon is a great friend to the fresh produce industry, and has been a stalwart in leading all of USDA’s food and nutrition programs since his appointment in 2009.   He oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps; child nutrition programs including National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Summer Food Service Programs; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Fresh Start Foundation Board of Trustees Meeting*
Bryce, 2nd Floor Conference Level

Grower-Shipper Board Meeting
Congressional B, Lobby Level

Fresh-Cut Processor Board Meeting
Congressional A, Lobby Level

Wholesaler-Distributor Board Meeting
Concord, Ballroom Level

Retail-Foodservice Board Meeting
Columbia C, Ballroom Level

United Fresh Board of Directors
Wednesday, September 30 | Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting*
Columbia AB, Ballroom Level
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Board of Directors Reception & Dinner*

Thursday, October 1 | Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Board of Directors Breakfast*
8:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting*
Columbia AB, Ballroom Level
11:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Optional Board of Directors Lunch*

*Attendance is limited to Board Members only. 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Angela Tiwari at 202.303.3416 to secure your sponsorship, receive more information or develop a customized sponsorship!

All sponsors receive recognition on the United Fresh website.


Platinum Sponsor ($10,000 and above)

  • Opportunity to address sponsored event attendees with welcome remarks and distribute your company literature and/or giveaways. 
  • Opportunity for your product to be incorporated into event meals
  • Recognition of your company logo to be prominently displayed on event and conference signage and in event portfolio
  • Recognition of your company logo or name on the United Fresh website
  • One half page ad in the Washington Conference portfolio

Gold Sponsor ($7,500 – $9,999)

  • Opportunity to distribute your company literature and/or giveaways
  • Opportunity for your product to be incorporated into event meals
  • Recognition of your company logo to be prominently displayed on conference and sponsored event signage, plus the Washington Conference portfolio
  • Recognition of your company logo or name on the United Fresh website

Silver Sponsor ($2,499 – $7,499)

  • Recognition of your company logo to be prominently displayed on conference and sponsored event signage, plus the Washington Conference portfolio
  • Recognition of your company logo or name on the United Fresh website

Supporter ($750 – $2,499)

  • Opportunity to advertise in the Washington Conference portfolio
  • Recognition of your company logo or name on the United Fresh website


Key Card Sponsor

  • Recognition of your company’s name and messaging on room keys provided to attendees housed at the official conference hotel, Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill 

Registration Area Sponsor

  • Recognition of your company’s logo or name positioned at the registration area, a primary location during the conference serving as attendees first stop and a check-in station for inquires 

Official Conference Badges Sponsor
Exclusive Sponsorship: $7,500

  • Recognition of your company’s logo or name on the backside of the conference name badges

Official Conference Lanyards Sponsor

  • Recognition of your company’s logo or name on the lanyards provided to attendees


Volunteer Leadership Lunch

  • Recognition of your company and executives in front of more than 300 volunteer leaders participating in Monday, September 28 meetings 

New Member & First Time Attendee Welcome
Two (2) Co-sponsorships: $2,500


  • Welcome new United Fresh members and first-time conference attendees to Washington, D.C.
  • Recognition of your company logo on sponsored event guest invitations
  • Opportunity to bring up to four (4) guests

Rising Leaders Seminar

  • Opportunity to support an education session tailored to junior produce industry members who want to advance their career, enhance their business and network with their produce industry peers and top leaders 
  • Recognition of your company logo or name on sponsored event collateral

The Washington Conference Welcome Reception

TWC-CalGiantBerry    WP_RAWL     CHEP_LogoTreatment_2015_0507(WhiteBG)

  • Opportunity to support the largest gathering of the fresh produce industry in Washington, D.C. and sponsor the event providing attendees exclusive access to feature their products 

Leadership Alumni Organization Dinner Sponsor
Exclusive Sponsorship: $10,000

  • Opportunity to support the special fall gathering of the United Fresh Leadership Alumni Organization on the beautiful rooftop of the Liaison Capitol Hill DC boutique hotel
  • Join this exclusive event, includes two (2) guests from your company to mix and mingle with some of the industry’s most well-known executives and leaders


Opening General Session Breakfast

  • Recognition of your company as event sponsor
  • Join participants in Keynote General Session to hear from a global interest expert, a must-attend session for produce industry leaders wanted firsthand knowledge about how federal policies and regulations are impacting their business

Conference Nutrition Breaks
Exclusive Sponsorship: $5,000

  • Recognition of your company as event sponsor
  • Opportunity to  feature your latest product offering(s) during morning sessions refresh break 

Breakout Education Sessions
Exclusive Sponsorship: $10,000 OR two (2) Co-sponsorships: $5,000

  • Recognition of your company as education session sponsor
  • Sponsor two hours of six dynamic sessions that engage the industry on the top issues and opportunities facing the fresh produce industry

General Session Luncheon
Two Co-sponsorships: $10,000

  • Recognition of your company as event sponsor
  • Opportunity to reconvene with attendees during a luncheon addressing the mission to increase kid’s fresh fruit and vegetable consumption showcasing how the produce industry is striving to be the “want to” choice of today’s youth 

United Fresh Board of Directors Spouse Lunch & Outing
Exclusive Sponsorship: $3,000

United FreshPAC Reception

United FreshPAC Dinner

  • Recognition of your company name and logo as event sponsor
  • Opportunity to support FreshPAC, the produce industry’s financial support to Congressional candidates who will make a difference for our industry
  • Opportunity to meet and dine with some of our nation’s top leaders (e.g., Members of Congress)


General Session Breakfast
Exclusive Sponsorship: $20,000

  • Recognition of your company name and logo as session sponsor
  • Opportunity to hear from key lawmakers and regulatory officials on topics that discuss how federal policies and regulations are impacting you and your business

General Session Luncheon 

  • Recognition of your company name and logo as event sponsor
  • Opportunity to hear from a DC insider on the current landscape of the nation

United Fresh Board of Directors Meeting

  • Recognition of your company name and logo as meeting sponsor
  • Opportunity to support the United Fresh Board of Directors and address leaders of the produce industry prior to their meeting
  • Join the United Fresh Board of Directors Dinner, includes you and one (1) guest from your company

United Fresh Board of Directors Dinner
Exclusive Sponsorship: $15,000

  • Maximum recognition of your company name and logo as dinner sponsor
  • Opportunity to support public policy before key industry leaders at this high profile industry event
  • Join this exclusive event, includes two (2) guests from your company


PressRegistrations & Inquiries

United Fresh is proud to welcome working media with a complimentary registration to the Washington Conference. For more information, contact Mary Coppola, Senior Director, Marketing Communications, at 202-303-3425. Press will have access to all events, with the exception of the Congressional (House and Senate) visits.

Press Credentials
United Fresh Produce Association invites accredited media working for relevant news journals, magazines or newspapers to register for a complimentary press pass. Website writers, editors and bloggers who satisfy the following conditions are also invited to apply.

Press passes are granted only to credentialed journalists who intend to cover the event. To qualify for press credentials, you must be affiliated with an internationally, nationally or regionally recognized newspaper, journal or magazine AND hold an editorial title. Personnel that are in sales, marketing, public relations, account management, or other non-editorial professions will not be granted a press pass.

Website Writers, Editors and Bloggers
To be eligible for media credentials, blogs and websites must contain original, dated, industry-related news content above and beyond links, forums, troubleshooting tips and reader contributions. Sites must be updated at least weekly. All websites and blogs must have been in operation for at least six months and receive at least 20,000 unique site visitors per month. Applicants must submit traffic data from a third party source such as Sitemeter, Technorati, Feedburner, iTunes or an equivalent in order to be considered. In accepting press credentials, website editors and bloggers agree to provide to United – within 30 days of publication – a web link of at least one article published before July 1, 2015, containing information the writer gathered at this conference. Failure to do so will result in denial of media credentials for the Washington Conference.

View The Washington Conference 2014 Photo Gallery

See Who Attended in 2014

For more information on the Washington Conference, contact Angela Tiwari, Director of Grassroots and Political Action, at 202.303.3416.