Cherry Growers AGM

Bal back by acclamation

He’s happy to seemore young people involved and would like to see livelier elections.

By Susan McIver S

uhkpaul Bal was elected to another term as president of the B.C. Cherry Association at its February annual general meeting in Kelowna.

“There are great people in the industry and it’s good to see more young people are getting involved. Overall the industry is experiencing strong growth,” Bal said. Commenting on the election by acclamation of the association’s executive officers and directors, Bal said, “It will be great when we have heated elections that hit the front pages of newspapers.”

David A. Geen was elected to fill the post of vice president, Graem Nelson of secretary and David H. Geen of treasurer.

Bryan Key, Ravi Dhaliwal, Chris Danninger, Andre Bailey, Erin Carlson, Neal Vander Helm and Niel Dendy were elected as directors. An appointee of the BC Tree Fruits Cooperative, Hank Markgraf, will also serve on the board.

Longtime tree fruit specialist Jim Campbell has been hired to do the day-to-day accounting, Bal said. Bal and program coordinator Beth Cavers had returned only a few days before the AGM from attending Fruit Logistica in Berlin. Logistica attracts approximately 75,000 visitors each year and offers networking and contact opportunities in the global fresh fruit and vegetable sectors. Bal also participated in a federal trade mission to China in November.

“It was an opportunity to get in touch with high level federal staff in the Chinese government,” he said.

12 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2017 SUSAN MCIVER

B.C. Cherry Association treasurer, David H. Geen, left, and president Sukhpaul Bal.

The BCCA isn’t stopping with the China Export Program. There are efforts under way to develop a similar export program to Japan and eventually to enter the South Korean market.

“We also want to increase our potential in the domestic market,” Bal said.

David A. Geen reported that Stephen Fuhr, MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, had promised to bring the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, to the Okanagan this spring.

Geen also said that approximately one-third of the total acreage planted in cherries in B.C .is registered to participate in the China Export Program.

Cavers reminded growers that they must participate in the program in order to ship to China. “Independent growers pay $250 and receive a rebate of $200 when they renew their membership. BCTF growers pay $50,” Cavers said. “If surplus funds exist at the end of the season, members will once more be rebated on a per trap

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