Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Names U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Members

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 12:00pm
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Release No.: 025-16

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed seven members and their alternates to serve on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.  Each representative will serve a 3-year term of office which began Jan.1, 2016.

Members appointed include producers Mark D. Hurst of Sheridan, Ore., Patricia Ann Goin of North Judson, Ind., Art Galletta of Hammonton, N.J., and Bill Braswell of Auburndale, Fla.; importer Francisco Allende of Moorestown, N.J.; and exporter Jorge A. Varela of Santiago, Chile.  Juan L. Silva of Starkville, Miss., was appointed as the public member.

Alternates include producers R. Verne Gingerich of Wilsonville, Ore., Shelly Hartmann of South Haven, Mich., David F. Arena of Hammonton, N.J., and Jerod Gross of Arcadia, Fla.; importer John E. Johnston of Salinas, Calif.; and exporter Felipe Juillerat of Santiago, Chile.  Amy Howell of Egg Harbor, N.J., was appointed as the alternate public member.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council in accordance with the Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order.

The program is administered by council members and alternates who are selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.  USDA encourages council membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by the program.  USDA encourages all eligible women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to seek nomination for a seat on the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, authorized by Congress, and date back to 1966.  Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 research and promotion boards.  They empower agricultural industries by establishing a framework for them to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities.   AMS provides oversight, helping to ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency, and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.

For more information about research and promotion programs, visit the AMS website.  For information on the council, please contact Maureen Pello by phone: (503) 632-8848, or by email:

Get the latest Agricultural Marketing Service news at or follow us on Twitter @USDA_AMS. You can also read about us on the USDA blog.

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