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Pacific International Marketing, based in Salinas, CA, is celebrating its 20th anniversary by making a strong commitment to the produce industry: The company has pledged $250,000 to support the Produce Marketing Association's Foundation for Industry Talent.

The contribution helps the foundation's capital campaign surpass the $4 million mark along the way to its $5 million goal. The group will close the campaign after the conclusion of PMA's Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, Oct. 2-5 in Anaheim, CA.

"Human capital is everything to our business, and we are facing a shortage of passionate young people with an interest in produce," Pacific International Marketing President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Russell said in a press release, explaining the impetus for his company's donation. "It is imperative to the industry to support programs like FIT to ensure we have a proactive approach in finding and recruiting bright individuals that will keep the produce industry moving forward."

Founded in 1989, Pacific International Marketing is an employee-owned company that farms both conventionally and organically in Arizona, California and Mexico under its Dynasty Farms and Pure Pacific Organics subsidiaries. The company is also engaged in harvesting, processing and cooling, handling product from seed to shelf. Mr. Russell said that the company is committed to new talent, including offering an internship program.

"If we sit on the sidelines and watch the best and brightest get recruited by other industries, we have no one to blame but ourselves," said Mr. Russell. "By making this contribution to PMA FIT, we are investing not only in someone else's future, but our own."

The foundation's current activities to attract new talent to the industry include event scholarship programs to expose students to careers in the produce industry; a career awareness campaign reaching more than 70 universities; managing a produce industry-specific, job bank for entry- and intermediate- level positions; an on-site career fair at PMA's Fresh Summit; and human resources best-practices tools.