Avocado Express Volume 3 #1

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En Español VOL. 3 #1
Offshore representatives will have a vote on matters
brought to the Board

by Emiliano Escobedo, HAB Executive Director
Offshore representatives will have a vote on matters brought to the Board
In an action that represents a significant organizational milestone, the Hass Avocado Board has approved a recommendation that will provide offshore industry representation with a voice and a vote in matters brought to the board.

Discussed for years and two years in the making, the new measure creates a committee that includes current board members and one representative from each organization receiving assessment dollars. This committee will meet just prior to regular board meetings and will discuss and vote on business that will then be brought to the board for a final vote.

"The issue of offshore representation emerged in the mid-2000s and had been discussed on and off since then," said the HAB Chairman James Johnson. "The biggest challenge that the Board's International Representation Committee faced was working within the confines of the federal Hass Avocado Promotion, Research and Information Act and subsequent Hass Avocado Promotion, Research and Information Order."

International Representation on the HAB was identified as a strategic priority for achieving the industry's long term vision back in 2011.

"The unanimous approval of this measure by the International Representation Committee, as well as the Board, sends a clear message confirming the HAB's commitment to advancing our strategic priorities for achieving our vision," said Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo.

The IRC considered and debated many different ways to address the issue of representation. In the end, the committee's inclusive discussions lead to a solution that remained faithful to the Act and the Order and did not require changing either, which would have been a longer and more complicated pathway to ensure a voice for existing and future international players.

Through a simple amendment to the HAB bylaws, the new committee will be comprised of the existing seven producer members and five importer members of the HAB. They will be joined by one member from each importer organization that received assessment funds under the Order and one member from the California Avocado Commission.

The HAB and the committee will meet at the same location, date and time of the HAB meetings. First, the committee will consider its business and provide its recommendations to the board. When that meeting concludes, the HAB will convene and vote on matters approved by the committee.

According to IRC Chair Bob Schaar, California grower based in Fallbrook and the HAB director, who provided superb leadership throughout the development of the recommendation, "This proposal will strengthen the relationships and collaboration between the HAB and the member organizations.

"The part I'm most excited about is that the structure allows for new players to come to the plate, which means we would not have to revisit this issue again. If the industry in other countries grows to a size large enough to form an importer association that receives assessment dollars, they would have a seat and vote at the table."
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