As vegetable production transitions from the Salinas Valley to the desert, the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) has certified the Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, according to Jim Nowlins, ADA assistant director.

The voluntary agreement was spearheaded by the leafy greens industry at the request of Western Growers, the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association, and the Arizona Farm Bureau.

Producers C.R. Waters of the Duda Company, Yuma, and Tom Russell of Salinas-based Pacific International Marketing, presented the formal request to the ADA. Both companies grow vegetables in Yuma.

Thirty-two Arizona shippers, or 60 percent of the state’s shippers, are original signatories to the leafy greens agreement to step up management practices and agree to strict enforcement to stave off food-borne illness issues stemming from the production and processing of leafy green vegetables.

The signatories will elect five members of a committee to oversee the program — three from Yuma and two at-large choices.

With the certification, only the committee can approve additional signatories.