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Fruit and vegetable growers can learn about the protections that the federal Perishable Agriculture Commodities Act offers them during seminars sponsored by the Washington Growers Clearing House Association and other state commodity groups.

The seminars promise to tell growers everything they ever needed to know about PACA and the Washington State Commission Merchants Act.

PACA establishes a code of fair trading practices covering the marketing of fruits and vegetables in the United States and overseas. It protects growers, shippers, distributors, retailers, and others who deal in those commodities by prohibiting unfair and fraudulent practices.

Dan Kelly, assistant manager of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association, said it’s important that growers understand how they are protected and what their rights are, should a buyer fail to pay for goods or declare bankruptcy, for example. “If growers do direct marketing with retailers, this will give them the information they need to make sure they get paid,” he said.

Attorneys from Rynn and Janowsky, LLP, a California law firm that specializes in PACA law, will discuss PACA law and recent legal decisions. They will also explain how the state’s Commission Merchants Act can help growers. Break-out sessions will cover credit management, marketing agreements, and disputes and claims.

The seminars are scheduled for April 25 at the Red Lion Hotel in Wenatchee; April 26 at the Howard Johnson Hotel, Yakima; and April 27 at the Best Western Airport Hotel in Pasco. All begin at 8:30 a.m., with signing in starting at 8:15 a.m.

The presenters will also brief members of the North Central Washington Fieldmen’s Association at their breakfast meeting before the April 25 seminar in Wenatchee.

Space for the seminars is limited. To register, contact the Washington Growers Clearing House at (509) 662-6181, e-mail dkelly@waclearinghouse.org, or download a registration form from the Web site at www.pheasantprojects.net.

Registration for each seminar costs $30, which covers the cost of lunch and printed materials.