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California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement elects new leadership

by | May 04, 2010
For the first time since its inception in 2007, the California Leafy Greens Advisory Board has elected new leadership.

During an April 30 meeting of the agreement's Advisory Board, Joe Pezzini, who was a guiding force for the California leafy greens industry's food-safety efforts, stepped down as the first chairman. Jamie Strachan of Growers Express LLC was elected as the new chairman of the advisory board.

In addition, the agreement elected Ryan Talley of Talley Farms as its new vice chairman, and Ron Ratto of Ratto Bros. Inc. as treasurer.

Mr. Strachan then appointed Verlea Kellogg of Fresh Express to chair the communications committee; Tom Mack of Dole to chair the technical committee; and Victor Tognazzini of Gold Coast Packing to chair the compliance subcommittee.

"We are pleased to see such a smooth turnover," Scott Horsfall, chief executive officer of the agreement, said in a May 5 press release. "Through the commitment of this industry, the LGMA is working to protect public health by establishing an enhanced culture of food safety on California leafy greens farms. While we now have the experience of three years behind us, the program is still new and evolving, and it continues to be extremely important for the leadership of the California leafy greens industry to be involved. We are very fortunate to have this level of industry involvement in the LGMA."

"Joe Pezzini and the rest of the LGMA board have done a tremendous job in leading the industry to launch this food-safety program, which has become a model for other commodities and in other states," Mr. Strachan said in the press release. "I'm honored to continue this tradition during a pivotal time when the federal government is crafting food safety legislation for the country."

Mr. Strachan served on the LGMA board as vice chairman for the past two years and was treasurer prior to that. He is the president and CEO of Salinas- based Growers Express, LLC, which produces iceberg and leaf lettuces, in addition to other vegetable crops, under the brands "Green Giant Fresh" and “Capurro Farms.”

Mr. Talley works with his brother and cousin as a senior manager of Talley Farms, a farming business begun by his grandparents in 1948 in Arroyo Grande, CA. Talley Farms is a grower, packer and shipper of vegetables marketed under the “Talley Farms,” “Arroyo Grande” and “Talley Family Farms Organic” labels.

Mr. Ratto is president of Modesto, CA-based Ratto Bros. Inc., which began growing vegetables in California over 100 years ago and today produces a number of leafy greens products such as chard, mustard greens, leaf lettuces and cabbage.

Both Messrs. Talley and Ratto have served on the LGMA Board since its inception in 2007.