After leading the Northwest Fruit Exporters for 20 years, Jim Archer retired at the end of 2013. Fred Scarlett replaced Archer in early January.
Today, NFE is responsible for managing cherry and apple export programs required by the foreign countries of Japan, Mexico, India, Vietnam, Egypt, Israel, South Africa, and Australia.
The organization provides a legal framework for tree fruit growers, packers, and exporters to manage and facilitate export marketing programs that include following fumigation protocols; paying for inspectors from foreign countries; implementing systems approach programs of orchard trapping, fruit cutting, and other requirements; and documentation and record keeping.
“Jim has led NFE since its inception,” said Mike Saunders of Apple King in Yakima, Washington, and current chair of NFE. “He had particular qualities that worked well with NFE members. He had great knowledge about our industry, coming to us from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, had great contacts, and was a great negotiator when dealing with foreign countries. He kept the Northwest fruit industry foremost in all of his dealings.”
Under Archer’s management, NFE developed a systems approach program for exporting cherries to Japan, which provides exporters an alternative to fumigation.
In recent years, 30 to 40 percent of Northwest cherries exported to Japan have followed the systems approach protocols. Archer also helped develop the protocol for exporting Northwest cherries into Australia, which has grown into a significant export market of around 400,000 boxes annually.
Of late, NFE has been working to harmonize cherry fumigation protocols and rates for several countries. Also, the organization has submitted a proposal to the Pear Bureau Northwest to manage a systems approach program for pears into China.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work for the tree fruit industry,” Archer said, adding that as he retires, the organization’s finances are solid and there are no big issues on the burner. During retirement, Archer hopes to have more time for his hobby of restoring old cars.
Scarlett, who’s been assistant manager for about 20 years, will carry on NFE’s work. Scarlett has been involved with all sides of the tree fruit industry, from working in his father’s orchards and packing house in Zillah, Washington, to spending some time in tree fruit sales.