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


FOLSOM, Calif., Feb. 16, 2023 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the appointment of 28 members and alternate members to serve on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). Members and alternates will serve a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2025. Four of the appointments are the exporter members and alternates whose terms will expire Dec. 31, 2024, to remain in the council’s nomination rotation.

The 21-member council is composed of 12 producers, four importers, four exporters and one public member. Each member seat has a corresponding alternate seat. Members and alternates can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.

“The USHBC has an ambitious vision for the future of blueberries,” said USHBC President Kasey Cronquist, also president of the North American Blueberry Council (NABC). “With these newly appointed members of the council, we’ll be working together to inspire all the possibilities yet ahead for blueberries while helping to ensure the future success and profitable returns back to our growers.”

The newly appointed USHBC members are:

California Producer: Doug LaCroix
Florida Producer: Brittany Lee (formerly Florida Alternate)
Georgia Producer: Tiffany Crosby
Michigan Producer: Dennis Vander Kooi
North Carolina Producer: Jimmy Horrell
Importer #3: Ryan Lockman (formerly Importer #3 Alternate) 
Importer #4: Joe Barsi (formerly Importer #4 Alternate)
Exporter #2 (CA): Mark Adams 
Exporter #3 (PE): Daniel Bustamante 
Exporter #4 (MX): Jose Luis Bustamante

Newly appointed alternates are:

California Producer: Bill Steed (formerly California Member)
Florida Producer: Michael Hill
Georgia Producer: Tammy Brannen
Michigan Producer: George Fritz Jr. (formerly Michigan Member)
New Jersey Producer: Chelsea Consalo
North Carolina Producer: Kristen Johnson-Brinkley
Oregon: Ellie Norris
Washington Producer: Leif Olsen
Importer #3: Andrew Maiman
Importer #4: Bo Slack
Exporter #2 (CA): Ray Biln (formerly Exporter #2 Alternate)
Exporter #3 (PE): Jose Antonio Castro
Exporter #4 (MX): Jose Guillermo Romo 

USHBC members who were reappointed are:

New Jersey Producer: Paul Macrie III
Oregon Producer: Doug Krahmer
Washington Producer: Bryan Sakuma
Importer #2: JC Clinard

Reappointed alternates are: 

Importer #2: Guy Cotton (formerly Handler member)

Since 1966, Congress has authorized industry-funded research and promotion boards 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 USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight to 22 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. USHBC was established by blueberry growers and currently has 2,500 growers, packers and importers. USHBC is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at