May 13, 2019
Blueberry industry to elect state council members for USHBC

Members of the highbush (cultivated) blueberry industry are being asked to select representatives to fill state council member and alternate positions on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order. Eight USHBC state member and alternate seats need to be filled for the term of office beginning January 1, 2020. Eligible voters are those who produced 2,000 pounds or more of highbush blueberries in the United States during the period of Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018.

Election of council members and alternates for California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington will be handled by their individual state blueberry councils and commissions.

Growers in the state Florida will vote for their representative. Nominations for Florida state members were conducted from March 11 to April 15, 2019. The USHBC is mailing ballots to Florida blueberry growers who received nomination applications earlier this year. Candidates identified during the nomination process are listed on the final Florida ballot. Space is also made available on the ballot for write-in candidates. Ballots will also be posted on the USHBC website at Voting begins June 10, 2019 and continues for a five-week voting period. Voters are being asked to complete their ballot and send it back tothe U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) to be received no later than by close of business on July 15, 2019. Those who do not receive a ballot by June 10, 2019 can obtain a copy by contacting the USHBC office at (916) 983-0111 (phone) or (916) 983-9022 (fax).

Those receiving the most votes for each producer seat will be recommended to the Secretary of Agriculture as council members. Those who earn the second most votes for each position will be recommended as the alternate. Those who receive the third and fourth most votes will also be reported to the Secretary of Agriculture for consideration.

Council members and alternates will serve for a term of three years starting in 2020 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 are open to all individuals without regard to 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 the year 2000. The USHBC program was formally established in August of 2000. Support of the Council is reconfirmed by the USDA with a continuance referendum every five years to ascertain whether continuance of the Order is favored by producers and importers of blueberries. A referendum was conducted by mail in July of 2016 with 74 percent of those who voted favoring continuation of the order. 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 program began in January of 2002.

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