Western Growers will open a Washington, D.C. office on April 30, 2007. Western Growers executive vice-president Matt McInerney will temporarily head the new office until full-time federal government affairs staff is hired.

"Opening and staffing a Washington, D.C. office has been a long-term goal for Western Growers, our board of directors, and members," said Tom Nassif, president and chief executive officer of Western Growers. "Western Growers believes that it can best serve its members by having a full-time Washington, D.C. presence to lobby on federal issues like the 2007 farm bill, immigration reform, specialty crop competitiveness, and food safety."

"These are just a few of the federal issues that are extremely important to our membership and that require our full-time attention," said Steve Patricio, Western Growers chairman of the board.

Patricio said the board of directors believes strongly that opening a Washington, D.C. office now is very timely because of the extremely critical federal legislative and regulatory matters pressing the fresh produce industry.

“The new full time federal government affairs staff will complement and enhance the current Western Growers' federal lobbying efforts of our long-time federal lobbying consultants, Bob Schramm, Schramm, Williams & Associates, and Julian Heron, Tuttle, Taylor and Heron," said Nassif.

Western Growers is an agriculture trade association whose members grow, pack and ship ninety percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and seventy five percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation's fresh produce.