IRVINE, Calif. — Western Growers has renamed its Marketing Services department as Trade Practices & Commodity Services, as part of an effort to better communicate the department’s mission to members.

The Trade Practices & Commodity Services department will continue to offer members dispute resolution assistance utilizing government agencies, including the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Market Enforcement Branch and the Dispute Resolution Corp. Thanks to the department’s extensive industry knowledge and staff expertise, Western Growers recovers more than $3 million per year for members.

“When the department was initiated, our members needs were very different,” said Executive Vice President Matt McInerney. “Now, our members are trading in a more complex domestic and international marketplace. The evolution of Western Growers’ services has anticipated and met members’ needs for a centralized resource to assist in the areas of education for marketing practices and problem solving for commodities. This is a core service to assist members in enhancing their competitiveness and profitability.”

The Trade Practices & Commodity Services department provides many services, including resolving disputed contracts and compiling a confidential semi-monthly report of delinquent accounts. The staff also represents members in packaging requirements and standardization regulations, reviews contracts, prepares product guaranty statements and provides assistance in PACA trust actions and bankruptcies.

The staff also compiles the weekly Produce Price Index to educate consumers of the price paid to farmers for their products in comparison to supermarket prices.

Mark McBride, sales office manager at Coastline in Salinas, said the services provided by the department have been invaluable. McBride’s staff calls for a consultation about once a week.

“They have a good pulse on the industry – positive and negative – as far as who the bad actors are and who’s paying their bills and not paying their bills. They’ve kept us out of a lot of situations. They bring a lot of expertise to the table.”

Trade Practices & Commodity Services Director Tom Oliveri and Director of International Trade and Transportation Ken Gilliland bring more than 50 years of combined experience.

For more information about the Trade Practices & Commodity Services department or to request assistance, call (949) 863-1000.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com