The Washington State Auditor’s Office is conducting an audit of the effectiveness of the state’s agricultural commodity commissions, including a survey that will be sent to growers in the next week or so. 

The goal of the performance audits is to “help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the state’s agencies and programs,” including the 21 agricultural commodity commissions, said Kathleen Cooper, director of communications for the auditor’s office.

Three commodity commissions serve the tree fruit industry, investing grower dollars in market development, promotion, education and horticultural research: the Washington State Fruit Commission, which handles promotions and market development for cherries and other stone fruit; the Washington Apple Commission, which promotes Washington apple exports; and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, which funds research based on industry priorities. (Good Fruit Grower is owned by the fruit commission.)

“Your willingness to take the time and effort to complete this survey is greatly appreciated by the boards that represent you,” said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Washington State Fruit Commission. “The survey will garner grower input on how these commissions currently serve the industry and how they can help growers remain viable into the future.”

The auditor’s office worked with Washington State University to design the survey to gauge growers’ perspectives on the commissions’ activities and how to address the challenges their industries face, Cooper said. Growers will be invited to take the online survey by email or letter. 

Results will be summarized as part of the performance audit reports, and each commission’s board will receive more detailed but still anonymous results from their producers, she said. 

Thurlby urged growers to reach out to the commodity commission managers if they have questions or concerns: 

Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission Executive Director Ines Hanrahan can be reached by phone at: 509-665-8271 or by email at:

Washington Apple Commission President Todd Fryhover can be reached by phone at: 509-663-9600 or by email at:

Washington State Fruit Commission President B.J. Thurlby can be reached by phone at: 509-453-4837 or by email at:

—by Kate Prengaman