The Washington Apple Commission gave a nod of approval during its annual meeting in March to changes in how responsibilities for international market access issues are divided between the Northwest Horticultural Association and Northwest Fruit Exporters.

The original memorandum of understanding between the organizations, adopted in 1998, gave NFE responsibility for dealing with apple trade issues in countries such as China, South Africa, Israel, Australia, and Mexico, while the NHC was given responsibility for other countries.

With the retirement of NFE manager Jim Archer last December, boards of the organizations have discussed a reallocation of responsibilities according to the expertise of each organization and considered that NHC handle all market access issue while NFE handle all the export workplan details. The only exception is Mexico, which for the time being will continue to be handled by NFE because of its long involvement in trade disputes with that country.

During the Apple Commission’s annual meeting, Barbara Walkenhauer of Selah was appointed chair to succeed David Douglas and Jon Alegria of Yakima was appointed vice chair. Walkenhauer and Alegria were reappointed for three-year terms, along with Brian Sand of Orondo.

The commission adopted a preliminary budget for 2014-15 of $9.7 million. This is based on a 2014 fresh crop of 125 million boxes, but is subject to revision when the actual crop volume becomes known.

It includes $5.2 million in funding from the federal Market Access Program, which is an unexpected 12-percent increase from last year, reported Todd Fryhover, Apple Commission president. The program was reauthorized at a total of $200 million in the 2014 farm bill, about the same amount as in the previous farm bill. “We were holding our breath,” he said.