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NW Horticultural Council hires two new staff members

The trade organization Northwest Horticultural Council has filled two key staff vacancies to better represent the tree fruit industry in the national and international arenas.
Dan Wheat

Capital Press

Published on December 22, 2017 10:17AM

Anne Morrell, technical issues manager of the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash.


Anne Morrell, technical issues manager of the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash.

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Northwest Horticultural Council — representing tree fruit growers and shippers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho on national and international issues — soon will be back up to full staff.

Barbara Madden, who retired in October as an acting chief of risk assessment in the pesticide division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will become NHC’s vice president of scientific affairs on Jan. 15. She is moving from Arlington, Va., to Yakima.

Anne Morrell, formerly general manager of BZ Blackrock, an orchard in Moxee, became NHC’s technical issues manager in October.

Mark Powers, who succeeded Chris Schlect as president of NHC last March, said he’s pleased to have both on staff, that there’s no shortage of issues for them to work on and that it brings NHC back up to full staff.

Kate Woods is vice president. Mariosol Oviedo is regulatory information specialist and Roberta Lucas is office manager.

Madden was at EPA 26 years, starting as a biologist in the registration division. Her work has included food safety evaluations, compliance with laws and regulatory approval for crop protection production.

“She understands how the agency functions and how to navigate the regulatory process. She has a keen understanding of international compliance issues on Minimum Residue Levels. Our industry exports 30 percent of its fruit so we increasingly have to make sure we are in compliance,” Powers said.

“How we do that and advocate for growers internationally and with our government will be a key part of her job,” he said.

Madden succeeds Mike Willett, who left NHC two years ago to become manager of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.

Morrell succeeds Laura Grunenfelder, who joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Yakima.

Morrell received her bachelor of science degree in agricultural economics from the University of California-Davis in 1988, her master’s degree in plant science from California State University-Fresno in 1991 and her doctorate in horticulture from Washington State University in 1995.

Morrell held research and teaching positions at WSU and Yakima Valley Community College from 1995 to 2004. She was field stock manager at Northwest Horticulture, an ornamental nursery in Mabton, from 2004 to 2010. She was a horticulturist advising buyers for Walmart Global Food Sourcing in Yakima from 2010 to 2011. She was food safety manager at E.W. Brandt & Sons, a Wapato tree fruit company, from 2011 to 2012 and was food safety manager at Hansen Fruit Co., Yakima, from 2012 to 2017. She was general manager of BZ Blackrock from May to October.

“Working at NHC is my dream job. I feel like this is the job I was meant to have,” Morrell said.

She said she will focus on invasive pests and pesticides as they relate to federal regulation and international trade, interacting with the industry in the Northwest while Madden works with agencies in Washington, D.C.

Currently, Morrell is working with Willett, WSU and UC-Davis on a new model to more accurately estimate pesticide spray drift.

“The EPA assumes all orchard applications from airblast sprayers are made on young, dormant orchards. Small trees with no leaves. But most applications are made in orchards when leaves are on. We’re making a more realistic model to measure risk,” she said.


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