Being in California for a speaking engagement with time to spare, USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach sought a visit in the South Valley for permanent crops with CCM and the Fresh Fruit Assn. Under Secretary Ibach has responsibility over AMS which now has responsibility on the fruit purchase program; and APHIS which is a central component for technical issues in trade negotiations.  A tour of Wonderful Citrus was followed by visits to stone fruit operations and intermingled was several conversations about agencies and issues within his department.  The Trade Mitigation package consisting of exporting marketing funds and fruit purchases was top of the mind agenda items.  Industry members talked about the trade picture in general, sought understanding as to why technical issues or phyto sanitary issues have become barriers to export and, finally, domestic challenges with very inexpensive off short product occupying shelf space in direct competition with permanent crop producers in California.

L-R Jim Phillips, just announced as Sunkist new CEO; Allen Dodge, principle Pro-Citrus; USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach & CCM President Casey Creamer.