Fresh Produce Association of the Americas Hosts Governor Katie Hobbs for Discussions on Produce Industry, Tomatoes, and Border Infrastructure; Lance Jungmeyer Comments

Wed. February 14th, 2024 - by Peggy Packer

NOGALES, AZ - The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) recently hosted Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs for a roundtable discussion that brought to light vital topics such as the effort to preserve the 2019 Tomato Suspension Agreement (TSA), port of entry challenges, staffing issues, and area infrastructure needs.

Lance Jungmeyer, President, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

“Governor Hobbs truly understands the value that Arizona’s tomato distributors bring to the state, and the companies and their employees have told me how much they appreciate that,” said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer. “The industry brings in over $1 billion in economic value to the state.”

When she opened the discussion, Governor Hobbs emphasized the critical importance of the produce industry and international trade. Echoing this sentiment, Chief Executive Officer Paul Brierley from the Arizona Department of Agriculture pointed out Nogales' pivotal role for the industry.

According to a press release, the session dove into a discussion of the 2019 TSA. With insights from industry experts on hand, the session highlighted Governor Hobbs' commitment to supporting the TSA and addressing local challenges that would harm Arizona businesses if the agreement were terminated.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs joined the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas to discuss topics such as border infrastructure, port of entry challenges, and more

To learn more about the industry, Governor Hobbs toured the Divine Flavor warehouse, led by Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jose Antonio Martinez. This tour shed light on the important aspects of produce logistics, including quality inspections conducted in coordination with the Arizona Department of Agriculture and U.S. Departments of Agriculture.

The visit ended in a Stakeholder Roundtable at the DeConcini Port of Entry. This session addressed pressing issues such as resources for humane migrant services, port modernization, customs staffing, and funding for transportation infrastructure.

FPAA noted that this visit is a significant step toward collaborative efforts between FPAA and the Governor’s Administration.

Will this burgeoning alliance strengthen the Arizona produce industry? We’ll continue to report.