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

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the appointment of seven members and 10 alternate members to serve on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Members and alternates newly appointed to serve a three-year term ending Dec. 31, 2024 are:

  • Nathan Sakuma of Burlington, WA (Western Region Producer Member)
  • Anne Krahmer-Steinkamp of Saint Paul, OR (Western Region Producer Alternate)
  • Shelly Hartmann of Grand Junction, MI (Midwest Region Producer Member)
  • Katelyn Craig of South Haven MI (Midwest Region Producer Alternate)
  • David F. Arena of Hammonton, NJ (Northeast Region Producer Member)
  • Art Galleta of Hammonton, NJ (Northeast Region Producer Alternate)
  • Jody A. McPherson of Rocky Point NC (Southern Region Producer Member)
  • Charles Michael Thomas of Blackshear, GA (Southern Region Producer Alternate)
  • John Johnston of Watsonville, CA (Importer Member)
  • Bonnie Lundblad of Glassboro, NJ (Importer Alternate)
  • Felipe Silva of Santiago, Chile (Exporter Member)
  • Sebastian Carmona of Santiago, Chile (Exporter Alternate)
  • Amy Howell, PhD of Chatsworth, NJ (Public Member)
  • William O. Cline of Castle Hayne, North Carolina (Public Alternate)

Alternate members appointed to fill vacancies with a term ending Dec. 31, 2022 are:

  • William Unger of Cornelius, OR (Oregon Producer)
  • Joseph A. Barsi of Watsonville, CA (Importer Alternate)
  • Stephen Phillips of British Columbia, Canada (Handler Alternate)

The 20-member council is comprised 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.

More information about the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and a roster of members are available on the Agricultural Marketing Service U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council webpage.

AMS policy is that diversity of the board should reflect the diversity of its industries in terms of the experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, and other distinguishing factors that will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. When submitting nominations, the industry must consider the diversity of the population served and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the members to serve a diverse population.

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 Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight to 22 boards. The oversight ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity and is paid for by industry assessments.