What is the United Blueberry Task Force?
The United Blueberry Task Force (UBTF) was established in May of 2021 by North American Blueberry Council (NABC) Chair Ken Patterson to facilitate cross-industry, solution-focused conversations regarding current and future issues and opportunities that impact the continued growth of the domestic and global blueberry industry.
The globally representative industry leaders that comprise the UBTF are tasked with determining the best strategies for sourcing and allocating industry funds and resources that can most effectively address industry-wide issues and opportunities, ensuring success for all blueberry industry stakeholders for years to come.
Task Force Principles
A set of principles were created when the UBTF was established to keep us focused on the future:
• Move past the 201 investigation and focus on the future opportunities and possibilities.
• Work together to inspire solutions that solve the most important problems while uniting a cohesive industry.
• Avoid rehashing the past.
• Adjust USHBC and NABC plans and programs to better position the industry moving ahead.
• Build new programs that address as many issues as possible that caused the 201 to happen.
These task force members set a new benchmark for global cooperation in developing and guiding initiatives that will support and strengthen domestic and global blueberry markets.
California – Bill Steed
Florida – Brittany Lee
Georgia – Michael Railey
Michigan – Tom Bodtke
New Jersey – Art Galletta
North Carolina – Neil Moore
Oregon – Hugh Eisele
Washington – Bryan Sakuma
Canada – Jack Bates, BC Blueberry Council
Chile – Felipe Silva, Chilean Blueberry Committee
Mexico – Jose Bustamante, Anneberries
Peru – Daniel Bustamante, ProArandanos
Agriculture Capital – Tom Avinelis, CEO
Agroberries – Jorge Andres Varela, President
California Giant Berry Farms – Joe Barsi, President
Camposol – Jose Antonio Gomez, Managing Director
Driscoll’s – Soren Bjorn, President
Family Tree Farms – David Jackson, Owner/Farmer
Hortifrut – Juan Ignacio Allende, CEO
Naturipe – Brian Bocock, VP of Product Management
North Bay Produce – Nick Osmulski, President
Reiter Affiliated Companies – Hector Lujan, President & CEO
Silver Valley Farms – Ray Biln, General Manager
Wish Farms – JC Clinard, COO
By working together, the UBTF will inspire solutions that solve the industry’s most important problems while uniting us under a singular purpose: to grow blueberry demand and consumption across sales channels, ensuring future growth in both the volume and value of the blueberry category.
Increased Promotions and Marketing
Build better marketing programs in particular based on market segmentation including those health driven and by micro-markets.
Improved Data and Insights
Create world-class industry database on supply, demand, historical price and inventory.
Significantly raise the profile of the blueberry industry in Washington D.C., breakdown trade barriers and improve delivery to help drive global demand.
The UBTF developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that guides cross-industry incremental funding to support fresh and processed blueberry demand driving activities across multiple channels. The MOU creates a framework for:
- Volunteering contributions of $18/ton from importers of record
- Requiring the majority of imported production to participate
- Establishing an Importers Advisory Council at the NABC
This unified incremental effort, guided by a collective of U.S. growers, U.S. marketers and importers, will source the incremental funds necessary to increase the effectiveness of the blueberry checkoff as a catalyst for future growth of domestic and global demand.
Current MOU Commitments
As the NABC, we play a unique role in offering the only global summit table where domestic and international blueberry industry leadership can gather to discuss opportunities, issues and solutions related to the growth of the US and global blueberry markets.