Executive Director's Letter: Coming Together in the Fight for Our Industry

As the new year gets underway, the Florida blueberry industry has much to look forward to. Blueberries have a bright future!

This past year, the North American Blueberry Council organized a Trade Task Force to address the issues our growers have faced in recent pre-pandemic years that have only been exacerbated by the 2020 closure or limitation of purchasers and the supply chain issues that have only gotten more severe as the duration of the pandemic continues to extend.

The Trade Task Force was comprised of leaders from every major international importer, and leadership from the domestic industry with every state represented. Our own past president and Florida Blueberry Grower Hall of Fame recipient Ken Patterson chaired this committee and led the charge to find common ground amongst the industry.

President Kasey Cronquist has made increasing demand a priority, and the USHBC & NABC are diligently working to do so through promotions and finding new export opportunities.

The entire industry is committed to working together. To aid with these efforts, the USHBC/NABC added a new position, Vice President of Industry Engagement and Education, and recently hired Amanda Griffin to fill the role. Griffin will serve as a liaison to growers. She is charged with advancing member engagement and launching/overseeing a blueberry industry leadership program. She will be looking for new opportunities to partner with trade organizations, universities, and government agencies as well as leading USHBC and NABC events programming. Griffin’s new position is just one example of USHBC/NABC’s commitment to advancing the industry, and Florida is involved and we will make sure our Florida growers have an equal voice.

Our industry groups, state commissions, and associations are synergistically working together, collaborating, for a united and stronger industry.  What does that mean for the Florida grower?  That means a more stable marketplace and increased opportunities to market and export our product. 

I invite you to join me in Tampa on March 1- 4 for the joint NABC/USHBC Spring Meeting. Registration launches in early January.

The world is run by those who show up. Let’s make Florida the best-represented state at this meeting in our backyard and witness firsthand what is going on behind the scenes in our industry to make blueberries the number one fruit in consumers’ carts!

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