WENATCHEE, Wash. — The Washington Apple Commission has adopted a $9.7 million budget for fiscal year July 2014 through June 2015 that includes a 12 percent increase in federal Market Access Program dollars.
The commission’s USDA MAP allocation is just short of $5.2 million, up from $4.6 million in the previous year.
“I was amazed we went up. It was remarkable. I was hoping we would stay the same,” said Todd Fryhover, president of the Wenatchee-based commission.
The commission has feared losing MAP money. MAP was targeted as wasteful spending in the first two years of the Obama administration before the administration embraced it. The program was in jeopardy in the farm bill but survived intact at $200 million per year for four years.
The Apple Commission’s MAP money, coupled with $2.3 million in grower funds, adds up to $7.5 million for export promotions of Washington apples. That’s up $800,000 from the prior year. The MAP money is used for promotional materials including radio and print advertising, retail demos and point-of-sale materials. Grower funds pay for salaries of 13 overseas representatives working in more than 30 countries.
The grower assessment is 3.5 cents per box of fresh-packed apples.
The budget includes allocations, not yet finalized, for the U.S. Apple Association and Northwest Horticultural Council. The association received $950,000 from the Apple Commission last year and the council, $520,000. About $730,000 goes for staff salaries, benefits, travel, training and meetings.
At a March 13 meeting in Yakima, the commission elected Barbara Walkenhauer, owner of Larson Fruit Co., Selah, as chair and Jon Alegria, president of CPC International Apple Co., Tieton, as vice chair of its 14-member board. David Douglas, president of Douglas Fruit Co., Pasco, was chairman.
The commission approved a $100,000 capital budget that includes renovations of the commission’s conference room at the Apple Commission Building in Wenatchee, built in 1994.