Thursday, May 31, 2012 by Kathy Means
Who knew that USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) was the David Letterman of produce? In the AMS spring/summer 2012 edition of Fruit & Vegetable Program News, there is an article by Robert Parker titled “An Ounce of Prevention.” Parker is assistant to the chief, Dispute Resolution Branch, Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) Division, so he certainly knows a thing or two about trading disputes. Data from many years of PACA work have shown certain commodities are more likely to be problematic in terms of trading issues.
“We have found that most of the problems fruit and vegetable traders experience on a daily basis involve 10 commodities,” Parker noted. Those commodities are: cucumbers, peppers, asparagus, stone fruit, lettuce, strawberries, onions, tomatoes, oranges, watermelons/cantaloupes. As Parker wrote: “Talking about each of these commodities at one time may be more medicine than you want to take at once. For that reason we are going to concentrate on the issues involving only one commodity at a time in an upcoming series of question-and-answer articles.”
The spring-summer commodity is cucumbers. So if you are buying or selling cucumbers, check out the Q&A in the newsletter.
The newsletter also looks at how AMS partners with others to get the job done, including the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC) on trade disputes and industry organizations on marketing orders/agreements and research/promotion orders. There is an article about an online tool to help you sell to the school meals program and one on a webinar series to help you understand and use AMS’ resources.
The newsletter is always a quick and informative read (about twice a year, about four pages). If you haven’t yet subscribed to this newsletter, you can e-mail Chris Purdy at USDA to be put on the list.