Two candidates for BCFGA president

North Okanagan orchardist and BCFGA vice-president vie for leadership role

Fred Steele. Photo credit: Contributed

There will be two candidates running for president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association when fruit growers gather for their annual general meeting in Kelowna next February.

North Okanagan orchardist Jeet Dukhia and BCFGA vice-president Pinder Dhaliwal will bid to succeed current president Fred Steele, who has chosen to not seek re-election.

“I will chair the annual general meeting in February, make a final speech and wonder off into the hinterland,” Steele said.

Related: Steele ready to retire

‘When the music stops it’s time to find something else to do,” added Steele, talking about his eight years serving on the BCFGA executive and 20 years of farming.

He remains very optimistic about the future for fruit growers, having seen the economic impact of the industry grow from $550 million to $776 million during this decade.

“That is a fair chunk of change,” he noted.

“The other thing you see is hay fields being turned back into orchards for apples and cherries. The industry is thriving right now and new innovations continue to be made.”

Fruit growers held regional meetings this week in Penticton for South Okanagan growers and Thursday in Kelowna for North Okanagan orchardists to adopt bylaw changes.

Related: Kelowna orchardist re-elected BCFGA president

Among those changes are a reconfiguring of terms for the board of directors so a new board is not re-elected each year.

At the 2018 convention, half of the eight directors will be elected for two-year terms, and the other half for a one year term. Starting in 2019, then only four board delegates will be up for election annually.

“The idea is to provide some continuity year to year,” Steele said.

Other changes include a majority vote to pass special resolutions and bylaw amendments will be two-thirds, minimum annual sales requirement for full membership has been upgraded from $2,000 to $15,000 and to allow close family members registered within two weeks after the annual convention to represent a sole proprietorship or membership farm the following year.

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