On February 25 in Denver, the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) and Western Growers (WG) announced a strategic collaboration between their respective specialty crop grower trade associations. The two associations have signed a memorandum of understanding that allows them to work together on federal policy issues, food safety and other policy issues of mutual interest. In addition, the two associations will seek to work together on other mutually beneficial programs and activities which will include opportunities for online informational and learning webinars. The memorandum gives Colorado growers access to WG association services as well as expertise in trade and commodity services and creates a dynamic collaboration on membership.
“For almost 90 years, Western Growers has represented members from California and Arizona in Washington, D.C. when advocating the needs and concerns of fresh produce growers, handlers and shippers to federal government agencies and to members of Congress,” said Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif. “Today, we can proudly say that the voices of growers in Colorado will join ours when we go before federal leaders to discuss our concerns and advocate for solutions to our problems.”
Western Growers will provide membership to growers and allied members of the CFVGA throughout 2015 and 2016 as outlined in an exclusive strategic partnership agreement approved by both organizations and access to Western Growers federal government affairs staff and resources as well as WG’s Science and Technology staff. The agreement does not include Colorado state advocacy or other state activities.
“I have had the pleasure of getting to know Western Growers over the last few years having participated in fly-in visits to Washington D.C. and other meetings,” said Robert Sakata, president of the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. “I think the knowledge and expertise of the Western Growers science and technology staff, especially regarding food safety issues and regulations as well as from other staff on immigration reform and farm labor issues will be of great benefit to CFVGA members. Western Growers has been a great force on the national stage and we hope to add to their strength with our activities from Colorado as we share many of the same concerns. My hope is that this will be the first step in building many long lasting friendships to help our growers.”
The two associations will also promote one another through several marketing and communications tools and services and explore other ways to collaborate over the next several years as we add Colorado to our Western Growers family.