Press Release: USDA Announces Appointments to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

USDA Announces Appointments to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council


Kasey Cronquist

[email protected]


Thirteen members and 11 alternate members have been appointed by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to serve on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). The appointees will serve three-year terms from Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2022. 

The 20-member council is composed of 12 producers, four importers, two exporters, one handler and one public member. Each member seat has a corresponding alternate seat. Members and alternates can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

“At this critical time for the blueberry industry, I’m particularly excited to work with our new and returning council appointees,” said USHBC President Kasey Cronquist, also president of the North American Blueberry Council (NABC). “I’m grateful for the appointees’ dedication to the industry and willingness to serve as we work to develop new markets, expand our reach in current markets and continue research into the incredible health benefits of blueberries.”

The newly appointed USHBC members are:

Florida Producer: Bill Braswell

New Jersey Producer: Paul J. Macrie III (formerly New Jersey Alternate)

Oregon Producer: Douglas A. Krahmer (formerly Oregon Alternate)

Washington Producer: Bryan Sakuma (formerly Washington Alternate) 

Handler: Risa Bakker (formerly Handler Alternate)

Importer 2: James C. Clinard Jr. 

Newly appointed alternates are:

Florida Producer: Brittany Lee (formerly Florida Producer member)

Georgia Producer: Michael Railey

New Jersey Producer: Matthew Macrie

Washington Producer: Brenton Roy

Importer 2: Guy Cotton (formerly Handler member)

Importer 3: Ryan Lockman

USHBC members who were reappointed are:

California Producer: Bill Steed

Georgia Producer: John Bennett

Michigan Producer: George Fritz Jr.

North Carolina Producer: Chris Barnhill 

Importer 3: Janice Honigberg

Importer 4: Bo Slack

Exporter (Canada): Ray Biln 

Reappointed alternates are: 

California Producer: Young Kwun

Michigan Producer: Bob Carini

North Carolina Producer: Neil Moore

Importer 4: Tom Bodtke

Exporter (Canada): Jesse Brar

Since 1966, Congress has authorized industry-funded research and promotion boards like USHBC to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. The Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight to 21 boards. The oversight ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity, and is paid for by industry assessments.

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 About The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Established in 2000, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a federal agriculture research and promotion program with independent oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USHBC represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. Learn more at