Governor Rick Snyder has announced one new appointment and two reappointments to the Michigan Blueberry Commission (MBC) for 2019. Eric Jawor of Muskegon, a horticulture manager at Jawor Brothers Blueberries Inc, was newly appointed to represent District 1, replacing Jacob Clemons, whose term expires this year.
Jawor earned his bachelor’s degree in management from Grand Valley State University, and will serve a three-year term expiring Dec. 21, 2021, along with reappointed MBC members Shelly Hartmann of South Haven and Cheryl Sullins of Grand Junction. Their appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.
Hartmann is the owner, operator and member of True Blue Farms, LLC and all subsidiary True Blue Companies. Hartmann previously served as chairperson of the Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee and on the board of the Michigan National Blueberry Festival Committee. She will continue representing District 1.
Sullins is the manager of Jubilee Blueberry Pancake House and manager of Jubilee Blueberry Farms, LLC, an operation she and her husband established in 1984. She contributed to the P.A. 232 process by serving on the working committee that formed the current blueberry commodity group. She will continue to represent District 2.
According to MFB Horticulture Specialist, Kevin Robson, who also serves as MBC Executive Director, the seven-member MBC, housed within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), was created through a farmer-initiated process outlined in the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act allowing for a check-off program to fund industry-specific research.
“The Commission was created with the goal of improving the economic position and competitiveness of the Michigan blueberry industry by supporting research, education, and promotion program,” Robson said. “We would like to thank Jacob Clemons for his leadership as we developed MBC into what it is today, and welcome Eric to the commission as we continue to develop MBC.”
Robson credited Clemons for his assistance with MBC’s website development, along with his insight to to establish MBC and serving as commission member during the initial round of appointments. “He’s been a tremendous asset for MBC and advocate for Michigan blueberry growers,” he said.
The nominations for the Michigan Blueberry Commission are made and submitted by two organizations -- MBG Marketing, and Michigan State Horticultural Society. After names are submitted, the Governor makes appointment recommendations, according to Robson.
In addition to Jawor, Hartmann and Sullins, other MBC commissioners with staggered term expirations include: Steven Hunt, Grand Junction; James Sumners, Grand Junction; Creela Hamlin, South Haven; and Dennis Vander Kooi, Allegan.
“The Michigan Blueberry industry is filled with eager, intelligent and dedicated growers that are willing to volunteer their time to serve their industry,” Robson said. “This is an exciting time for the Michigan blueberry industry, and I’m privileged to be a part of it.”
All MBC meetings are open to the public, and the commission welcomes and encourages input from all attendees at each meeting. For more information, interested growers can contact MBC Executive Director, Kevin Robson via email, or by calling 1-800-292-2680, extension 5353.