In late September The Food Industry Center hosted its first Food Industry Leaders in the Classroom event of the school year. Bud Floyd and Barb Hochman of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) presented to a group of students and faculty about opportunities in the produce industry and the role of the PMA Foundation. The PMA is the largest association for produce worldwide with over 2000 company members in 47 countries. They are vertically integrated with members from 'farm to fork'; seed companies to processors to distributors to retailers. They also have floral members as the supply chain for flowers matches closely to that of produce in that time is valuable with on average just 20 days from the time it is pick to the time it is consumed.
Bud Floyd talked about his career at CH Robinson and his support of the PMA Foundation. When looking ahead in the future, he spoke about how the produce industry fits into a healthy, sustainable, and consumer focused future. Working in the industry allows you have a positive impact on the world by having a career at the heart of health and wellness. He talked about the need for good talent to come into agribusiness as a whole, but especially the produce industry as world population increases and diets change. With an expected 9 billion people on the planet in 2050, agribusiness and the produce business only see growth in a dynamic and diverse industry.
Produce businesses and individuals who recognized the need to attract, develop, and retain talent to the global produce industry started the PMA Foundation. They are focused on cultivating relationships with University's to showcase the produce industry as a career choice. Both Bud and Barb talked of the many benefits including the opportunity to travel around the world when working in the field. They also are working to get people and keep them. Bud mentioned the relatively high cost of training an individual because the diversity of the industry, so retaining employees is essential for cost savings. Students interested in the produce industry are encouraged to work with PMA Foundation members.