Jon DeVaney, who has served as the executive director of the Yakima Growers-Shippers Association since 2009, has been named as president of the newly formed Washington State Tree Fruit Association, effective Sept. 1.
The new association represents a merger of four industry organizations in Washington state: Yakima Growers-Shippers Association, Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association, Washington State Horticultural Association and Washington Growers Clearing House Association.
Bylaws are expected to be in place by the Sept. 1 target date, and other administrative details will continue to be worked out that month.
“The possibility of merging two or more organizations has been talked about for many years,” DeVaney told The Produce News, adding that the work to bring the new organization to life began in earnest over two years ago.
DeVaney said the merger will create industry efficiencies moving forward. “We had overlapping memberships,” he explained. Three of the four organizations were involved with data collection, each obtaining information from the same growers, packers and shippers within the tree fruit industry.
There was also some overlap of activities among these groups in the area of governmental affairs. “From the perspective of government, it made sense to have one voice,” DeVaney noted. “It made sense to have our efforts combined.”
From a business perspective, DeVaney said the merger will provide additional benefits. “The pace of business to continues to accelerate in our industry,” he went on to say. “Information can be sliced and diced for future predictions and activity.”
Washington’s tree fruit industry is a player on the global stage, and DeVaney said the consolidation will help keep growers, packers and shippers at the top of their game with global market trends. “You never know when a market closure will happen,” he said to illustrate.
DeVaney has an extensive history in the field of agriculture. He was a key staffer to Washington Congressman Doc Hastings and was appointed by the Bush administration as the Washington state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program. During 2002-03, he served in the capacity of director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the Northwest Horticultural Council.
He obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and also holds a master's degree from Georgetown University. The DeVaney family resides in Yakima.