Steele declared president for fourth term

Fred Steele will be president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association for a third straight term.

  • Feb. 4, 2017 12:00 p.m.
Fred Steele

Fred Steele

The annual election of the BCFGA Executive was held Feb. 3 in Penticton.

The election at the 128th BCFGA Convention drew a great deal of interest from growers, as incumbent president Fred Steele was being challenged by the previous president Jeet Dukhia. Members were surprised when Dukhia withdrew his name from the race the morning of the 2 p.m. election.

READ MORE: Dukhia confirms withdrawal from BCFGA president race

In the election itself, Fred Steele was declared President. A motion to open the floor to further nominations for Vice-President failed to be passed. If it had passed, there would have seen competition for previously uncontested Vice-Presidency. Pinder Dhaliwal was declared Vice-President.

The other six executive members of the BCFGA were also returned. Peter Simonsen, Ravinder Bains and Deep Brar were unopposed for the South Okanagan positions, while Sukhdev Goraya, Surjit Nagra and Tony Nijjar were returned and challenger Karm Gill was defeated in an election for North Okanagan positions. Both Gill and Dukhia are on the Board of BC Tree Fruit Cooperative.

In his acceptance speech, Steele thanked BCFGA members for their confidence. He noted the importance of pressing for a national Tree Fruit Rejuvenation Proposal, and the critical need to work together with BC Tree Fruit Cooperative and the other tree fruit packers in the Okanagan. “Our future is bright, and a sign of that is the many young people attending our Convention,” he concluded.

The B.C. Fruit Growers Association represents 520 family-operated farms.

The BCFGA announced the awards for several outstanding leaders in the tree fruit industry at its 128th AGM held in Penticton Feb. 2-3.

The recipients and awards are:

Award of Merit

Life Member Press Award

Hank Markgraf, Grower Services Manager, BC Tree Fruit Cooperative

Dr. Kenna MacKenzie, Associate Director Research

Development and Technology

Summerland Research and Development Centre Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Ranbir Kambo, grower and Summerland Varieties Corporation director

Lyonel Doherty, Editor, Oliver Chronicle

“The horticultural success of the BC tree fruit sector in the interior of BC relies on dedication, expert knowledge, and leadership,” said Steele. “We recognise these qualities in Hank Markgraf and Kenna MacKenzie with the Award of Merit. Our Life Member award goes to longtime contributor to the industry, Ranbir Kambo. Ranbir sat on the Board of SunFresh Cooperative for many years before the four cooperative packing houses merged into BC Tree Fruit Cooperative in 2007, and he continues his participation and leadership through his current role as a director at Summerland Varieties Corporation. Finally, in a time when print media is under pressure, Lyonel Doherty, editor of the Oliver Chronicle has continued to put together a quality newspaper that provides a vital service to the residents and farms in the Oliver area, and we are proud to award the BCFGA Press Award to Lyonel.”