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THIRTEEN VOICES: Industry Leaders Weigh In On United/PMA Merger

The issue of one national trade association for the produce industry and thus possible merger between PMA and United has long haunted the produce trade.

The recent effort was the most extensive and professional ever undertaken and came closer than ever before to a unified association.  So those who think having one association is important despair at the inability of industry leadership to make it happen.

We’ve been attempting to analyze the situation, see what can and should be salvaged from this effort that with direct expenses, plus staff and leadership time, certainly has cost the industry over a million dollars.

First, we provided the industry with a review and analysis of the issues surrounding merger in a piece titled, PMA And United: To Merge Or Not To Merge? That Is The Question.

Second, we attempted to understand the cause of the breakdown of the talks in a piece titled, The United/PMA Fiasco: THE SPIN IS JUST HALF THE STORY — Lessons Learned: Open Up To Industry Input And Focus On Big Things First.

Third, our July 21 Pundits dealt with four important letters from industry leaders addressing the merger issue.

Fourth, we suggested a specific manner in which the key obstacle, naming a CEO for the new association, could be breached: A Modest Proposal For Reviving The Merger Of PMA And United.

Fifth, as our thinking on the matter has evolved, we came to believe that the notion that everything was resolved, save the CEO choice, was only half true and that the battle for the CEO had become a battle to define the new association. We dealt with this issue in a piece we titled, United/PMA Impasse More Than Just A Decision About A CEO – It Is A Battle For The Soul Of The New Association.

Today, in our July 30, 2012 Edition, we have selected out a  Baker’s Dozen of industry letters to give the trade an opportunity to speak out on this important issue.

In our commentary, we also developed “A Modest Proposal” Take-2 — an alternative way to avoid duplication while meeting industry needs.

This all, of course, in addition to decades of writing on the subject in both the Pundit and sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS.  You can see many of these pieces here.

We appreciate all the time and effort our correspondents have invested to help advance the industry. We also thank those who have reached out privately to help us do a better job in clarifying these issues for the trade.

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