March 18, 2022 (Folsom, California.) – Members of the highbush (cultivated) blueberry industry are now seeking nominees to fill U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) state member and alternate positions for the 2023 to 2025 term. The nomination period will begin on March 28, 2022. Eight USHBC state member and alternate seats need to be filled for the term of office beginning January 1, 2023. Eligible producer nominees are those who produced 2,000 pounds or more of highbush blueberries in the United States from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021.
Nominations for seven state positions representing Oregon, Georgia, New Jersey, Washington, North Carolina, Michigan and California will be completed by their respective state blueberry councils and commissions.
Nominations are to be received directly from growers in Florida. Potential nominees are required to complete a USHBC nomination application and forward their application to the USHBC office no later than April 29, 2022. Nomination applications will be mailed directly to Florida growers. Applications are also available online at ushbc.blueberry.org/forms/, or can be requested by contacting the USHBC office by phone at (916) 983-0111 or by fax at (916) 983-9022. Once the nomination period is closed, a ballot will be prepared listing all nominees. Ballots will then be mailed to growers in Florida on June 10, 2022. The voting period will be open for 35 days, closing July 15, 2022. Those receiving the most votes for each producer seat will be recommended to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as council members. Those who earn the second most votes for each position will be recommended as alternates. The names of those who receive the third and fourth most votes will be sent on to the secretary for consideration.
Council members and alternates will serve for a term of three years starting in 2023, and will be allowed to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
The USHBC has adopted a diversity outreach plan to attempt to achieve a diverse representation on the council. USHBC programs and meetings are open to all individuals. The USHBC prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, genetic information, parental status and marital or family status. It is USHBC policy that membership on the council and its committees reflect the diversity of individuals served by its programs. To accomplish this objective, the USHBC will strive to attain representation of growers and other industry participants from diverse backgrounds on the council and USHBC committees. To this end, the USHBC strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to seek nominations to the USHBC and to participate in council and USHBC committee activities.
Producers and importers of highbush blueberries approved the establishment of the USHBC through a referendum conducted by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service in 2000. The USHBC was formally established in August 2000. The program is funded by an assessment of $18 per ton on domestic highbush blueberries, and $18 per ton on fresh and processed imported highbush blueberries. Market promotion activities funded through the USHBC began in January 2002.