In what is being called a historic symbol of cooperation between exporters in Washington and other apple states, the Arlington, Va.-based U.S. Apple Export Council had their June board meeting at the offices of the Washington Apple Commission in Wenatchee.

Though the groups had met together in neutral locations such as the Chicago outlook conference of the U.S. Apple Association, the meeting of the U.S. Apple Export Council — which represents export promotions for all states besides Washington — was a first.

“It truly reinforces the need to collaborate, especially when using federal dollars, and it exemplifies the benefits of bringing ideas and thoughts together from all segments of our industry, small or large,” said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, Fishers.

Both the Washington commission and the export council receive Market Access Program funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for overseas promotions.

Though the groups work independently in exports markets, the two groups do share efforts in market research, crisis communication, trade issues and emerging markets, Allen said.

“By working together, we can more effectively use the MAP funds and eliminate any duplications and unnecessary spending of the people’s money,” he said in an e-mail.

Allen said the U.S. Apple Export Council meeting — one of three meetings this year — took place in Wenatchee on June 9 and was hosted by Washington Apple Commission staff and commission president Todd Fryhover.

Allen said the group also toured growing areas of Yakima, Wenatchee, Chelan and Brewster and packing and presorting facilities at various shippers in the region.

Kris Marceca, executive director of the export council, said shippers from Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia and overseas market representatives from Europe/United Kingdom, Central America/Mexico, Canada and Taiwan attended the meeting.

The U.S. Apple Export Council represents about 30% to 40% of U.S. apple production and about 10% of U.S. apple exports, with Washington state accounting for most of the balance.

For about the past five years, Marceca said the U.S. Apple Export Council and the Washington Apple Commission have been looking for ways to work together.

“Ultimately, the health of the entire apple industry is dependent on the ability to collectively export some of our apples,” she said. “We want to make sure we are not undermining each or duplicating efforts.”

The U.S. Apple Export Council has promotion programs in Taiwan, Canada, Central America, Europe, the United Kingdom and Mexico. India, Russia and Southeast Asia also have export programs run by the council, she said.

Marceca said the Washington Apple Commission and the export group tend to have separate marketing efforts and representation in each export market, though the two groups are seeing opportunities to work together in emerging markets such as India.

The U.S. Apple Export Council received about $1 million in Market Access Program funds this year, while recent MAP funding for the Washington Apple Commission has been about $5 million per year.

Apple council travels to Washington for meeting
                                                                                                                     Courtesy U.S. Apple Export Council

The U.S. Apple Export Council met at Washington Apple Commission offices on June 9. From left to right: Andrew Brown, U.S. Apple Export Council European representative; Luis Moreno, Mexico/Central American USAEC representative; Rosaline Chen, USAEC Taiwan representative; Ken Berger, USAEC Canada representative; Jim Allen, Allen, president of the New York Apple Association, Fishers; Kaari Stannard, president of Hudson-based New York Apple Sales Inc and vice chair of the USAEC; Phil Glaize, owner of Fred L. Glaize Co., Winchester, Va., Todd Sanders, director of trade and marketing for the California Apple Commission, Fresno; Tom Pletcher,, vice president of sales and marketing, Belleharvest Sales Inc., Belding, Mich; Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc., Sparta, Mich; Fred Hess, president of Hess Bros. Fruit Co., Leola, Pa.; Kris Marceca, executive Director of the U.S. Apple Export Council. Arlington, Va.