Jan. 23, 2019 (FALLS CHURCH, Va.) – The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) today announced its class of 2019 Young Apple Leaders. Twenty-one accomplished and aspiring young women and men were selected by the organization to join with, and learn from, USApple leaders as they advocate on important issues impacting growers and the $15 billion per year apple industry.

The 2019 Young Apple Leaders include:

  • Toni Lynn Adams, Washington Apple Commission, East Wenatchee, Wash.
  • Chester Allen, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
  • Julie Ann Bolyard, Appalachian Orchard Company, Martinsburg, W.Va.
  • Alex Buck, Fruit Growers Marketing Assoc., Kent, Ohio
  • Joe Ferguson, Ferguson’s Orchards, Galesville, Wis.
  • Nicole Gordy, Sage Fruit Company, Yakima, Wash.
  • Carena Guise, Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc., Peach Glen, Pa.
  • Nicole Helms, California Apple Commission, Clovis, Calif.
  • Ben Heusinkvelt, Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, N.Y.
  • Logan Janin, Taggares Fruit Company, Burbank, Wash.
  • Garrett Joeckel, CMI Orchards, Wenatchee, Wash.
  • Tyler Monson, Monson Fruit Company, Selah, Wash.
  • Aylin Moreno, McDougall & Sons, Inc., Wenatchee, Wash.
  • Jim Norkus, Norkus Orchards, Salem, Ohio
  • Steve Pennings, Pennings Farm Cidery, Warwick, N.Y.
  • Marianne Plath, Washington Fruit and Produce Co., Yakima, Wash.
  • Kyle Rasch, Windy Ridge Orchards, Conklin, Mich.
  • Lex Roberts, Rice Fruit Company, Gardners, Pa.
  • Max Russell, Russell Farms, Inc., Appleton, N.Y.
  • Jeremy Shank, Central Produce Sales, Inc., Dowagiac, Mich.
  • Chelsea Van Acker, New York Apples Sales, Inc., Williamson, N.Y.

The 2019 class will hit the ground running on March 13 as part of USApple’s Capitol Hill Day. Joining USApple members from across the nation, the young leaders will meet with members of Congress to discuss hard-hitting issues affecting the future of the apple industry.

“The 2019 Young Apple Leaders’ class is the largest in USApple history, and the industry is fortunate to have so many bright young people who want to be involved,” said Jim Bair, president and CEO of USApple. “These young leaders are enthusiastic and eager to make a difference. Whether it is tariffs that are damaging our export markets, or the need for labor to harvest our crops, they understand what is being debated and decided in Washington today will have long-term implications for the next generation of apple producers and they want to be in a position to help shape that policy.”

The YAL program equips the next generation of American apple growers and leaders with an understanding of federal regulatory and legislative apple issues, and provides an opportunity to learn from peers and apple leaders from around the country. Young apple growers and individuals in apple-related businesses who are at the start of their career through the age of 35 are eligible to participate. Now in its tenth year, the YAL program has been a great success in grooming future leaders. Several previous participants have already worked their way up through committees and onto the USApple Board of Directors.

Sponsors of the 2019 YAL program include: California Apple Commission, Columbia Fruit Packers, Domex Superfresh Growers, Farm Credit East, Hudson River Fruit Distributors, Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc., Michigan Apple Committee, New York Apple Sales, Inc., Ohio Apples Marketing Program, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Sage Fruit, Wilbur-Ellis and Yakima Fresh.

For more information on USApple’s Young Apple Leaders program, click here.