Members of the Washington Growers Clearing House Association’s board of directors will discuss a tree fruit industry consolidation plan at their annual meeting on Thursday (February 20) in Wenatchee.
The proposed consolidation involves four industry organizations: the Washington State Horticultural Association, the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association, and the Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association, as well as the Clearing House.
A task force working on the consolidation plan has drawn up an outline of what will be called the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. Clearing House board members will vote at their Thursday meeting either to accept the plan or ask for revisions. Once they accept the plan, the task force will draft bylaws.
Kirk Mayer, Clearing House manager, said after his board reviews the draft bylaws the association will mail the board’s recommendation with a ballot to association members asking them whether they favor consolidation or not. The ballot will likely go out in April and Mayer hopes to be able to announce the result by May 1.
The Clearing House has 2,100 members. Of those, about 900 have signed membership agreements entitling them to vote in the ballot. Mayer said members who haven’t signed the agreement can download it from the association’s Web site www.waclearinghouse.org and mail it in so they will be entitled to vote.
All members may attend the annual meeting on Thursday, which will be held at the Washington Apple Commission’s conference room.
Jon DeVaney, executive director of the Yakima Growers-Shippers Association, said the Task Force is updating the outline of the new organization based on feedback from all the organizations. Only the Clearing House is balloting its members. Decisions of the other organizations will be based on the votes of their boards.