SEPC In Full Support of PMA and United Fresh Union

Millen, GA – Southeast Produce Council’s (SEPC) Executive Committee convened in early May and expressed full support of the recent merger between Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) who will consolidate to create a new global trade association.

Since its inception in 1999, SEPC’s mission has remained steadfast in promoting the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, specifically in the 10 Southeastern states it represents. There are many solutions that are needed to advance our industry into the future, and the SEPC applauds PMA and United Fresh for joining forces to prioritize value for their member groups. The SEPC welcomes future opportunities to work together with this new association to drive value and meet industry needs through aligned efforts.

Over the years SEPC has become known for its intimate regional conferences where member companies make meaningful connections and create significant value to all industry stakeholders. The council is eager to work together with the new unified association to ensure that traditions are honored, events are non-competitive, and foundations are protected.  

“As I listen to our members, the overall response to the proposed merger is tremendously positive for our industry,” declares SEPC President & CEO David Sherrod who elaborates, “I think it will allow the strengths of each association to have a greater reach, focus, and impact for the combined membership. I also believe it will allow regional associations, like the SEPC, to help drive the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables with our non-competing networking events. We are excited to work together to create a healthier world.”  

SEPC Chairman of the Board Harold Paivarinta states, “We congratulate the PMA and United Fresh leadership teams on their merger. The foresight and courage of Cathy Burns and Tom Stenzel to reignite discussions resulting in the successful merger of our industry’s two largest associations was undoubtably one of the most significant achievements we’ve seen to date. The new association will add tremendous value to its members and provide comprehensive and well-rounded programs to all stakeholders.”

“I am very excited and optimistic about the merger between PMA and United Fresh. Trade associations have the responsibility to work together to expand sustainable business and drive consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables for a healthier world. We believe the best relationships are symbiotic, and the SEPC looks forward to future collaboration with the new global trade association.” offers Raina Nelson, SEPC’s Vice Chair.

SEPC Secretary Tim Graas says, “The merger between United Fresh and PMA can only enhance an already awesome, yet ever-changing, industry. The combined resources will position the new organization very well for the future to tackle, head-on, the challenges on the horizon.  I am sure the combined organizations will make the overall industry stronger, and I look forward to what the future holds.”   

“The merger of the PMA and United Fresh will add value to its members and to the industry, increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables along with education and awareness of all the great things produce has to offer. A very exciting time in our industry, and I look forward to seeing what this merger can accomplish in the years to come,” adds Mike Roberts, SEPC’s Treasurer.

“The homogenization of United Fresh and PMA should strengthen public policy, fresh agricultural advocacy and the global marketing of the fresh produce and floral business. Each brings their own unique strengths together to support their combined global reach goals,” shares Bobby Creel, a valued member of SEPC’s Board of Governors, who continues, “The SEPC applauds their merger decision – as we continue to vigorously support our core ideology of growing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in the 10 Southeastern U.S. states that we steadfastly represent.”

The SEPC is focused on strategically delivering value and strengthening our trusted platform to our stakeholders. The Executive Board, Board of Directors, and our expansive Committee network are all working hard to provide innovative solutions to business challenges, deliver impeccable and reimagined networking platforms, infuse and build talent into the industry, and nourish our communities through our deep charitable efforts. Our future is vibrant and bright, and the SEPC is poised to maintain its position of the premier resource in the Southeast and beyond.

To learn more about the Southeast Produce Council’s founding principles, membership opportunities, or conference experiences, visit  

About Southeast Produce Council

The Southeast Produce Council (SEPC) is a member-driven, non-profit association of more than 3,000 leaders from all facets of the produce industry. It was formed more than 20 years ago to promote the value of fresh fruits and vegetables in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia through networking, innovation, community, and education. Today, SEPC is a thriving organization that continues to share and pursue its vision, mission, values, and goals. Learn more by visiting