Jan. 27, 2020 (Falls Church, Va.) – The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) today announced its class of 2020 Young Apple Leaders (YALs). Eleven accomplished and aspiring young women and men were selected by the organization to join with, and learn from, USApple leaders and mentors throughout the year.

The 2020 Young Apple Leaders include:

  • Ben Boyer, Boyer Orchards, New Paris, Pa.
  • Carley Brown, Sage Fruit Company, Wapato, Wash.
  • Alex Buck, Fruit Growers Marketing Association, Newcomerstown, Ohio
  • Brooke Grobe, Grobe Fruit Farm, Elyria, Ohio
  • Cailin Kowalewski, New York Apple Association, Fishers, N.Y.
  • Bryan Monson, Monson Fruit, Selah, Wash.
  • Gilbert Plath, Washington Fruit and Produce Co., Yakima, Wash.
  • Kylee Rasch, Newaygo Insurance Agency, Sparta, Mich.
  • Angela Sommers, BelleHarvest, Belding, Mich.
  • Rob Verbridge, Pultneyville Fruit Farms, Williamson, N.Y.
  • Sarah Wells, Crunch Time Apple Growers, Lockport, N.Y.

The 2020 class is the first under the newly revamped YAL program, which USApple has expanded to include year-long communications and advocacy training, industry workshops, advocacy and member events, and other enriching, hands-on experience. Under the program, Young Apple Leaders will be paired with apple industry mentors and will become social media ambassadors for the organization.

The 2020 class will hit the ground running on March 11 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. New this year, YAL members will also participate in USApple’s signature industry event, Outlook, which will take place Aug. 20-21 in Chicago.

“These young leaders are enthusiastic and eager to make a difference,” said Jim Bair, president and CEO of USApple. “We are excited for the 2020 Young Apple Leaders’ class and the expansion of the YAL program. By arming these young leaders with mentors, learning tools and industry resources throughout the entire year, we are confident they will remain engaged in the industry and be prepared for leadership opportunities within the organization.”

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 eleventh year, the YAL program has been a great success in grooming future leaders, with previous participants working their way up through committees and onto the USApple Board of Directors.

Sponsors of the 2020 YAL program include: Domex Superfresh Growers, Hudson River Fruit Distributors, Michigan Apple Committee, New York Apple Association, New York Apple Sales, Inc., and the Ohio Apple Marketing Program.