As the Kona Coffee Farmers Association’s representative, President Bruce Corker attended 3 days of agricultural conferences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, June 30-July 2. His summary follows:
The first 2 days were dedicated to the “Agile Agriculture Summit” in which more than 125 delegates representing farmers, retailers, government agencies and various universities participated. The focus of the conference was “How to connect small and medium-scale agricultural producers with lucrative large markets”. The consensus from the conference sessions was that small and medium-scale producers must join together in co-ops or marketing alliances to achieve volume and market power to gain access to large markets and to the higher profits those markets offer.
On the third day, the “U.S. Place-of-Origin Conference” was convened. This event was organized by Elizabeth Barham of the University of Missouri. As KCFA Board members will recall, Dr. Barham met with us when she was in Kona this past January and discussed her work on place-of-origin issues. At this July 2 Conference more than 50 representatives of producer groups, marketers, government agencies and universities participated in a full day of conference sessions. Panel presentations were offered on geographical identity issues faced by Kona coffee, Idaho potatoes, Napa Valley wine, and Missouri Northern pecans. The similarity of problems faced by producers of other specialty agriculture crops from counterfeiting and unscrupulous marketing are strikingly similar to those we face with Kona coffee. Conference participants decided to explore the formation of a national organization of producers of American-origin-products and to create a national inventory of US origin specialty crops.
At the July 15 KCFA Board meeting, following Bruce’s report on the U.S. Place-of Origin Conference, the following resolution was adopted endorsing the two initiatives formulated at the Conference:
RESOLUTION OF JULY 15, 2009 ENDORSING U.S. PLACE-OF-ORIGIN INITIATIVES
WHEREAS, on July 2, 2009, a U.S. Place-of-Origin conference was held on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas to discuss protections of U.S. place-of-origin products such as Kona coffee, Idaho potatoes, Napa Valley wine, and Missouri Northern pecans; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Place-of-Origin Conference was organized by Dr. Elizabeth Barham of the University of Missouri, was hosted by the University of Arkansas, and included representatives of producers, retailers, government agencies and universities; and
WHEREAS, at the conference Dr. Barham announced the formation of an Exploratory Committee to examine the feasibility of establishing a national association for producers of American origin products; and
WHEREAS, a second initiative to develop a national inventory of American origin products and to lay the groundwork for more research into their economic, social and environmental benefits was also enthusiastically received by conference participants; and
WHEREAS, protection of the regional identity of Kona coffee name from deceptive and fraudulent use is one of the principal goals of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association; and
WHEREAS, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association believes that a national association for producers of American origin products can contribute to protection of the reputations of regionally-identified specialty agricultural crops and can contribute to protection of consumers from deception and fraud;
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE KONA COFFEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION:
1) That the Kona Coffee Farmers Association expresses its appreciation to Dr. Barham for organizing, and to the University of Arkansas for hosting, the U.S. Place-of Origin Conference of July 2, 2009; and
2) That the Kona Coffee Farmers Association strongly endorses the conference’s formation of the Exploratory Committee and pledges to work with the Exploratory Committee for establishment of a national association for producers of American origin products; and
3) That the Kona Coffee Farmers Association also strongly endorses the conference’s initiative to develop a national inventory of American origin products.
Adopted at Captain Cook, Hawaii, July 15, 2009.
Attested to by:
Mary Lake, Secretary
Kona Coffee Farmers Association