December 17, 2018
by PETER MITHAM
BC Tree Fruits Co-operative is seeking new leadership as it seeks to stay competitive in the marketplace.
In late November, two years after Stan Swales took the helm CEO, the co-op posted an ad for his replacement as well as a new CFO to replace Warren Everton, who joined the co-op in February 2013.
The co-op has not posted a notice regarding the pending transition, however, which comes after notable successes including the sale of properties in Naramata and upgrades to the packing house in Winfield.
However, the challenges facing the co-op were significant. When he was hired, Swales acknowledged that the scale and diversity of the co-op’s membership was a unique challenge.
With more than 430 members and facilities across the Okanagan, the co-op included operations that were both thriving and struggling. Several entrepreneurial growers had struck out on their own, forming rival entities and adding to competition in the market.
Speaking recently with Country Life in BC, BC Fruit Growers Association general manager Glen Lucas said the co-op needs to get on track with new varieties in order to be competitive. Groewrs also need to hear from the co-op what the market wants.
“In my view there is opportunity there, but we need to figure out how the co-op gets on track with new varieties,” says Lucas. “That is an area where they are really underperforming.”
While a new tree fruit competitiveness fund will help with market development, the co-op also has to keep growers informed, something highlighted when Swales was hired.
“Growers need to know what kind of apples and what size the markets want,” says Lucas. “We need market intelligence on what is happening out there.”
The co-op has revenues of $130 million from sales of fruit, cider and, through Growers Supply Co. Ltd., agricultural inputs.
Swales succeeded Alan Tyabji, who was terminated after four years as CEO. Tyabji became CEO in November 2012, bringing 20 years’ experience managing the Oliver packing house to the role.
Tyabji’s tenure saw an emphasis on improving fruit quality and reducing the coop’s overhead through investments in infrastructure.
BC Tree Fruits has not issued a statement regarding the quest for new executives.
With files from Tom Walker
Vol. 105 Issue 4
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
One province, one panel
Groundwater deadline extended
Happy as a pig!
Sidebar: Still waiting
Feds pour millions into tree fruit research
Sidebar: Will local procurement help?>
Editorial: Confined spaces
Back Forty: BC farmers need more than a land bank
Island Good campaign drives local sales
Poultry industry seeks to stop infighting
Egg farmers to receive biggest quota boost ever
New entrant focus
Decision day looms for chicken pricing appeal
Producers look to CanadaGAP for certification
Organic sector undertakes core review
Hopping to it!
Island couple named Outstanding Young Farmers
Turkey consumption continues to decline
BC potato growers enjoy a strong footing
Sudden tree fruit dieback a growing concern
Late season BC cherries in global demand
Farmers’ markets aim to be local food hubs
Field trial hopes to reduce phosphorus levels
Future looking bright for BC dairy producers
BC could benefit from US trade battles
Saputo puts its Courtenay plant out to pasture
The land of milk and salmon
Sidebar: Farming for the future
Out of the hands of BC farmers
Codes of practice need producer input
Preparation essential for wildfire response
Sidebar: Relief announced for drought, fire
Sidebar: Be FireSmart with these tips
New traceability regs to track movement
Agriculture a notable threat to species at risk
Improper pesticide use threatens access
Threat to neonics spurs scare in spud growers
Orchard presses forward with diversification
Staying on top of soil health is key to sound farming
No small potatoes
Farm families need to have affairs in order
Rotary parlours go upscale at two FV dairies
Study compares organic, conventional diets
Advisory service foresees growing demand
Sidebar: Tree fruit cutbacks a concern
Island dairy producers hone first aid skills
Woodshed: And that’s how rumours get their teeth
Research farm showcases small projects
Jude’s Kitchen: Shooting stars of spring