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June 11, 2015

E pluribus unum

Our nation was born almost 250 years ago when 13 disparate colonies realized they were getting a raw deal from “mother” England across the ocean.  They couldn’t hope to change the status quo individually, and as Benjamin Franklin famously declared, “If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.”

Despite their rivalries and myriad differences, the 13 banded together as one voice and did the impossible — gaining freedom and independence from the most powerful empire on earth.  Their action ensured their survival and guaranteed their own prosperity, as well as ours today.

As individual business owners and operators, you are following that American example by banding together as Western Growers members to ensure you do not get a raw deal from the powers-that-be: from one voice to many voices — e pluribus unum.  That is the motto of the United States of America and that’s a motto Western Growers has also followed for almost 90 years.  Didn’t we start as the Western Growers Protective Association to join forces against the railroads that were overcharging us and providing poor service?

As I write this, I have just returned from Washington, D.C., where I was with the members of your board of directors and senior staff, all of whom have many years of experience articulating your worries, concerns and suggestions that affect your bottom line to members of our government.  It is not the most pleasant or easiest of tasks.  Getting the attention and understanding of important leaders living far across the continent is competitive and calculated work.  But if we don’t do that constantly and deliberately we will regret it and pay for it.

When fewer than 2 percent of Americans work in agriculture, it’s not easy to cut through the political cacophony and be heard.  You are busy with your time and minds spent on running your operations and living your lives.  That’s why you belong to Western Growers.  We are ready and able to do this for you.  If you need just one reason to renew your membership in Western Growers, make this the main one.  If you need more reasons than that, turn to page 8/9 where you can find a list of many more reasons and member benefits.

It’s not very expensive to be a member of one of the oldest and most influential trade associations for specialty crop producers in America, and we have not raised dues in 14 years and only once in the last 30 years!  We are your “go to” trade association.  Make it even stronger.

Our members represent half the conventionally-grown fresh produce grown in America and almost half of the organically-grown fresh vegetables and fruit.  Today, this organization is comprised of a passionate team of highly skilled and experienced professionals dedicated to helping you succeed and thrive.  Stay on the team and take part in the fight.  Renew your membership.  Western Growers needs you and I thank you for your membership!