American Highbush Blueberry Council Launches Blueberry Leadership Program to Empower Future Industry Leaders

FOLSOM, Calif. — The US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) has announced the launch of its new program to nurture promising leaders in the blueberry industry. The program will accept up to 10 talented and passionate professionals from across the supply chain to become the inaugural Blueberry Industry Leadership Program Fellows.

The program, which is the first of its kind in the blueberry industry, is designed to help fellows develop their leadership skills, learn from industry leaders for decades, and grow their network of relationships. Professional development within the industry is a priority as members of the blueberry industry work together to make blueberries the #1 berry in terms of sales volume and premium value. Fellows of the new program will lead the industry into its next period of growth.

“Our vision for the Blueberry Industry Leadership Program is to engage emerging leaders in the blueberry industry and equip them with the tools they need to play an active role in achieving the bold goal of USHBC to make blueberries the world’s favorite fruit,” said Amanda Griffin, USHBC Vice President of Engagement and Education and lead host of the new program. “The people who are leaders in the blueberry industry today got where they are through learning, collaboration, and a drive to grow and innovate. We believe this program will open doors and build connections for people who share the same passion as our current leadership for the success of the blueberry industry.

The leadership program will begin later this spring and run through next year, taking an interactive approach to leadership development through hands-on training, immersive learning experiences, engagement with key players in the industry and exposure to the many components of the product supply chain. Fellows will participate both virtually and in person, traveling four times during the program between May 2022 and August 2023, with a graduation ceremony taking place during USHBC’s 2023 Fall Meetings. To offset expenses and material costs, fellows will be required to pay a fee of $2,500.

USHBC seeks applicants who are promising leaders, who hold a mid-level management position, and who have at least five years of agricultural experience, with preference given to those who have worked in the blueberry industry. Potential scholars can visit ushbc.org/leadership to apply and learn more about the program, including application requirements and attendance expectations.

Applicants will be judged on their leadership potential, passion and commitment to the success of the blueberry industry, relevance of their career to the blueberry industry, professional credentials and suitability overall to the program. Applicants will also be required to submit a letter of recommendation to be considered.

The application deadline is Monday, April 11, 2022. Applications will be reviewed and assessed by the USHBC Industry Leadership Program Selection Committee, comprised of members of the USHBC Board of Trustees and industry representatives. Top applicants will be interviewed throughout April and selected scholarship recipients will be notified the week of May 2, 2022.

Visit the website to learn more about USHBC’s involvement and support for the blueberry industry.

About the US Highbush Blueberry Council

Established in 2000, the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a federal agricultural research and advocacy program under the independent oversight of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USHBC represents blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and abroad, and strives to promote the growth and well-being of all the blueberry industry. USHBC was started by blueberry growers and currently has 2,500 growers, packers and importers. USHBC is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packaged and shipped in clean and safe environments. Learn more at ushbc.org.

Kevin E. Boling