For Immediate Release:  Sept. 26, 2018

Contacts:           Robert Sakata   303-947-3097  rtsakata@aol.com

                            Marilyn Bay Drake   303-594-3827  admin@coloradoproduce.org

 Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) President Robert Sakata today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in ringing the ending bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).  The Brighton, Colo., vegetable farmer was one of a dozen agricultural leaders throughout the nation to have the honor of joining Perdue on the NYSE podium.

 “It was an amazing experience,” said Sakata. “I was honored to be a part of the celebration and to represent the contribution of fruit and vegetable farmers to the U.S. economy. We not only provide the fuel our bodies need but U.S. farmers are the base that drives the strong U.S. economy. Thanks to the secretary for including real farmers and ranchers from across the continent to join him in this celebration.”

After ringing the bell, Sec. Perdue made this statement: “The farmers, ranchers, foresters and agricultural producers across America contribute a great deal to the American economy,” Secretary Perdue said. “I’m pleased to be here today, at the center of our economic activity, with all these people that I’ve met across the country to celebrate the bounty of the American harvest. I thank the New York Stock Exchange for the opportunity.”

 “CFVGA had the opportunity to meet Sec. Perdue in May when he was in Colorado and held a roundtable meeting at Sakata Farms with produce growers from throughout the state,” said Sakata. “He listened sincerely to our appeals to support a viable guest worker program and to prevent trade and unnecessary regulations from devastating us financially.”

In addition to Sakata, also joining Sec. Perdue on the podium were representatives from National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, National FFA students, representatives from New York agriculture and three additional farmers. Also, traveling to the NYSE to join the celebration was CFVGA member Michael Hirakata, Hirakata Farms, Rocky Ford, Colo.

 “Sec Perdue’s decision to include Colorado produce in this event is amazing,” said Sakata. “I was honestly stunned when I received the call inviting me to participate. It was quite an opportunity to be on the podium of the exchange, the center of U.S. economic transactions.”

 Earlier in the week, Sakata was in Washington, D.C., at the United Fresh Policy Conference. “We heard from speakers on international trade policy, the new farm bill and other agricultural policy issues. We also had an opportunity to visit with members of Congress about the most pressing issues produce farmers face.”

 Sakata returns to his farm in Brighton tonight.

 The CFVGA is comprised of approximately 250 members, including growers of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $485 million to Colorado in production and sales and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 90,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production.

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