The new blueberry checkoff, approved by growers this spring and effective May 1, has a new governing board. The initial appointments to the Michigan Blueberry Commission were recently made by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The checkoff, as outlined in the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act, creates a program designed to improve the economic position and competitiveness of the Michigan blueberry industry by supporting research, education and promotion programs.
“I thank these individuals for their commitment to supporting and improving Michigan’s blueberry industry, and securing Michigan’s place as a national leader in blueberry production,” says Snyder.
Member with terms expiring Dec. 31, 2017
• Dennis Vander Kooi of Allegan is part owner and president of Woodland Enterprises Inc. and attended Davenport University. He is a member of the North American Blueberry Council and has served on the Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee and the Michigan Temporary Producer Committee.
Members with terms expiring Dec. 31, 2018
• Jacob Clemons of South Haven is the farm manager for Berry Fresh Farms LLC. As farm manager, Clemons oversees the Fresh Food Facilities Food Safety Program. Clemons holds a certificate in plant health and integrated pest management from Michigan State University.
• Shelly Ann Hartmann of South Haven is the owner, operator and member of True Blue Farms LLC and subsidiary True Blue Cos. Hartmann served as chairwoman of the Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee and on the board of the Michigan National Blueberry Festival Committee. She serves on the board of the United States Highbush Blueberry Council and the South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce.
• Cheryl Sullins of Grand Junction established a blueberry farm in 1984 and is expanding farming operations. Sullins is the manager of Jubilee Blueberry Packhouse, where she oversees day-to-day operations.
Members with terms expiring Dec. 31, 2019
• Creela Overton Hamlin of South Haven is the owner of Lake Michigan Berry LLC, a blueberry farm in South Haven. She also is a southwest Michigan representative and commodity development associate for Peterson Farms in Shelby. Hamlin serves as president on the Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee and is a certified crop adviser. Hamlin holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management from Grand Valley State University.
• Steven Hunt of Grand Junction is the owner and president of New Horizon Harvest Corp., a blueberry farm in Grand Junction. Hunt serves on the Michigan State Horticulture Society, is a Michigan Farm Bureau member and is a VanBuren County Historical Society member. He attended Western Michigan University.
• James Sumners of Grand Junction is owner and operator of Ja/De’s Blueberry Farms, harvesting 55 acres of blueberries. Sumners grows, harvests and oversees the daily duties of the farm.
After initial appointments, members will serve three-year terms. Their appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
Source: State of Michigan