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United Fresh Trio Tapped for USDA Committees

United Fresh’s president and CEO, Tom Stenzel, along with SVP of Food Safety and Technology Dave Gombas and SVP of Public Policy Robert Guenther, have been appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to serve on federal agriculture advisory committees.

Stenzel is one of 34 members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), which will advise the secretary of agriculture and U.S. trade representative on the administration of policy, including the enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade pacts.

Guenther serves on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables, one of six technical committees that provide counsel on specific commodities and products.

Gombas is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods, which provides impartial, scientific advice to federal food safety agencies.

Noting that international sales of American farm and food exports over the past six years were the strongest in history – totaling $771.7 billion – Vilsack considered committee appointees "an invaluable asset representing one of the most important sectors to America's export economy, whose expertise and knowledge will be relied upon to bring home the best possible trade deals."

In addition, representatives from several United Fresh member organizations have been named to USDA's advisory committees on trade policy, fruits and vegetables, and grains, including:

  • Almond Board of California, Julie Adams

  • California Avocado Commission, Ken Melban

  • California Citrus Mutual, Joel Nelsen

  • California Citrus Quality Council, James Cranney Jr.

  • California Fresh Fruit Association, Marcy Martin

  • CoBank, ACB Karen Lowe

  • Earthbound Farm, John Foster

  • Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Michael Stuart

  • Florida Tomato Exchange, Reginald Brown

  • North Carolina Farm Bureau, Larry Wooten

  • Northwest Horticultural Council, Christian Schlect

  • Sunkist Growers, Rayne Thompson

  • Texas Citrus Mutual, Dale Murden

  • Washington State Potato Commission, Matt Harris

  • Western Growers Association, Tom Nassif

Established by Congress in 1974, the committees ensure that the private sector has a voice in the development of agricultural trade policy objectives that reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. Appointee terms last until June 15, 2019.

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