The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation has opened the application period for the 16th annual class of the Produce Industry Leadership Program. Made possible through a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, the program is a special opportunity for United Fresh members to advance their leadership skills and knowledge. United Fresh invites all eligible members to apply.

The Leadership Program, launched in 1995, is developed around four fundamental goals: Leadership Development; Business Relationships; Government & Public Affairs and Media & Public Relations. During the yearlong program, participants will take part in a series of customized trips including face-to-face meetings with leading industry players; hands-on training with top industry experts and educators; interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington, D.C. and much more. This year's schedule will feature trips to Washington and Oregon, Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Del., and Southern California.

The class will graduate at the United Fresh 2011 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Participation in the program is limited to 12 individuals. The applicants are reviewed by the Leadership Advisory Committee and 12 individuals are chosen from a broad cross section of the industry to represent the breadth of the United Fresh membership. Since the program’s inception, more than 160 industry members have participated. United Fresh Board member Nelia Alamo of Gills Onions, LLC will serve as the chair of the Advisory Committee for the coming year.

"The Produce Industry Leadership Program is an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming industry professionals to enhance their knowledge of the broader produce industry and their ability to be a successful and effective leader within it," said Alamo. "This program is a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. I encourage anyone who is looking to further their professional growth and leadership skills to apply today."

Candidates interested in applying for the program can download information and an application here. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5, 2010. The Leadership Program is an exclusive program for United Fresh members only, and is the only ongoing, fully paid national leadership program for the produce industry. For more information, contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education coordinator, at jjacocks@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.