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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

2 Agriculture Trade Groups OK Merger

May 17, 2000|Leslie Earnest

Two agriculture trade organizations that represent growers, packers and shippers in California and Arizona said Tuesday that they are merging.

Irvine-based Western Growers Assn., which has 3,300 members, and Agricultural Producers, with 300 members, said their boards have approved the merger, which will become effective July 1.

Initially, Valencia-based Agricultural Products will function as a separate entity under the umbrella of Western Growers, said Heather Flower, a Western Growers spokeswoman. But by November 2001, the two groups' operations will be fully merged and Agricultural Producers will cease to exist, she said.

Agricultural Producers, formed in 1934 as the Agricultural Producers Labor Committee, has been a resource primarily for the citrus industry. Western Growers, formed in 1926 by Imperial Valley agricultural employers, said its members grow, pack and ship 90% of the fresh vegetables and about 60% of the fresh fruit and nuts grown in California and Arizona.

Western Growers' headquarters will remain in Irvine. Agricultural Products' headquarters in Valencia eventually will become a field office for the merged group.

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