TIPA teams up with the Equitable Food Initiative and CIERTO Global

The Texas International Produce Association will be hosting two workshops at their corporate headquarters in Mission, TX, on Sept. 24. The topics will focus on overcoming labor challenges which is proving to be a key concern in the produce industry. These sessions are available for free for TIPA members along with Texas Vegetable Association, Texas Citrus Mutual and South Texas Onion Committee members.

Joe-Martinez-CIERTOJoe MartinezThe first workshop geared towards Texas Growers will begin from 9–11 a.m. with the purpose of helping growers successfully navigate the H-2A program to fill labor shortages. Many Texas growers are finding it harder to fill their crews for the season, a trend that has impacted many regions across the country. Growers are turning to the H-2A program to obtain seasonal workers, but there are a lot of details to consider. Learn the basics about the program, how to ensure compliance, avoid common pitfalls and types of training that can create a seamless staffing transition.

Speakers include:

Joe Martinez, executive director, CIERTO Global

Joe Martinez works with growers on “clean” recruitment which ensures brand integrity and continuity of supply. Martinez has worked closely with NGOs, the U.S. and foreign governments to address issues related to farmworker recruitment.

Norma Encinas, H-2A program director, CIERTO Global Norma-Encinas-CIERTONorma Encinas

Norma Encinas has worked in the H2-A program for 10 years, successfully processing and delivering more than 10,000 workers to numerous companies throughout the United States.

CIERTO is a certified farm labor contractor that recruits, trains and places experienced agricultural workers from Mexico in farms in the United States with the mission of creating a professional agricultural workforce that is skilled, certified and brings added value to the food supply chain.

The second workshop, geared towards both domestic and international grower-shippers and importers, will be held from 1– 3 p.m. with the purpose of showcasing how workforce development drives social responsibility and bottom-line results. Attendees will learn the importance of workforce development as not only a key component to a social responsibility program but how it can positively impact the organization. This includes understanding ties between organizational culture, worker engagement, productive workforce and food safety. Learn about resources to help comply with the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices.  

Speakers include:

Kevin-BoyleKevin BoyleKevin Boyle, Director, business & new product development, equitable food initiative

Kevin Boyle has decades of experience working with large corporations and governments to address major changes within industry supply chains to ensure their ability to continue as high-performing organizations and quality workplaces.

Kenton Harmer, director, certification & impact, equitable food initiative Kenton-Harmer-2019Kenton Harmer

Kenton Harmer directs the multi-stakeholder process that results in the standards, policies and relationships that allow EFI to certify fresh produce under industry best practices.

Equitable Food Initiative offers solutions for the most pressing problems in the fresh produce industry. The EFI label is a sign of assurance that growers, farmworkers and retailers have collaborated to create a culture of continuous improvement that engages everyone in the supply chain to raise the standards for food safety, farmworker communications and production for the consumers they serve.

“We’re excited to bring in these expert speakers who can help our growers learn how to maximize the H-2A program to fill labor shortages and also help both our growers and importers to better understand the importance of workforce development programs to prevent food-safety issues while improving overall quality,” stated Dante Galeazzi, president & chief executive officer of the Texas International Produce Association.

Industry members should register online to attend the Sept. 24 workshops at the TIPA headquarters.


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