Mar 4, 2019Retiring Phil Korson bids farewell as MCFA chair
Phil Korson has stepped down after three years as chair of the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance (MCFA). The alliance’s membership bade farewell to Korson, president of Cherry Marketing Institute, at MCFA’s recent annual meeting.
Jim Cranney, California Citrus Quality Council president, was elected MCFA chairman for 2019, and is joined by a slate of officers who will lead the group’s work in the year ahead. Cranney lauded Korson’s work as a long-time volunteer leader with MCFA, and thanked Korson for his service to the specialty crop industry.
Korson has served on MCFA’s Executive Committee for more than 20 years, first as vice-chair and most recently as chair. He plans to retire from CMI in late 2019. “Phil has been a friend and colleague for nearly 25 years. He’s the kind of person you want and need at the table to be successful in the coalition business – always positive and willing to pitch in,” said Cranney. “We’ll definitely miss him.”
“Serving as MCFA chairman has been a distinct honor for me,” said Korson. Speaking of the importance of MCFA’s work, he noted, “MCFA brings together the best and brightest technical people to make sure that pesticide policy is open, transparent, and above all, based on science. Science and technology will continue to be key to safely feeding the world’s population into the future.”
Since 1991, MCFA has advocated for legislative and administrative policies that ensure that specialty crop growers will continue to have access to safe, effective crop protection tools for so-called “minor use” crops including fruits, vegetables, nuts and ornamental plants. MCFA also advocates for industry with the foreign governments and agencies that set policy regarding pesticide residues on foods those countries import.
“It has been amazing to watch the evolution of this group’s work, first to address the out-ofdate Delaney Clause, then to guide implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act,” said Korson. “More recently, MCFA has been focusing on the complex residue tolerance issues that challenge those of us who export our products.” Looking forward, “MCFA’s work is more important today than ever before,” he said. “The future, I believe, will be about informing the federal services’ work to protect endangered species, to find a reasonable balance that makes sense for both protected species and specialty crop agriculture.”
What’s next for Korson? “I plan to go back to the farm and focus on my family,” he said. “However, I know I will stay plugged in to pesticide issues, and do what I can to tell the incredible story of production agriculture.”
Cranney takes over MCFA leadership MCFA’s membership elected CCQC’s Cranney to lead the alliance in 2019, joined by:
• Vice-Chair Terry Humfeld, Cranberry Institute executive director.
• Secretary Marcy Martin, California Fresh Fruit Association director of trade.
• Treasurer Robert Guenther, United Fresh Produce Association senior vice president of public policy.
MCFA’s critical Technical Committee will be co-chaired by Mike Aerts, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) director of production and supply chain management, and Gabrielle Ludwig, Almond Board of California director of sustainability and environmental affairs.
The co-chairs are taking over from longtime Technical Committee chair Dan Botts, who recently retired from MCFA and his position at FFVA. Ed Ruckert of the Washington, D.C. office of McDermott, Will & Emery serves as MCFA legal counsel. Julia Stewart of Clarity Communications LLC is MCFA communications counsel. Cranney said MCFA expects to work on a range of topics this year, including lawsuits challenging pesticide availability, Endangered Species Act implementation, neonicotinoid regulation,
Waters of the United States proposed regulations, appropriations for the Office of Pesticide Management and Policy and IR-4, pollinator protection and international trade issues. He urged industry members to be actively involved at this critical time.
“Sign on to letters, share your expertise, make sure your industry is represented, and support MCFA’s efforts,” Cranney said.
The Minor Crop Farmer Alliance was founded in 1991 to address legislative and administrative policies to ensure the continued availability of crop protection chemicals for minor use crops. Its members include fruit, vegetable, nut, ornamental plant and other specialty crop producer organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit here.