The BC Cherry Association has a new president, as long-time grower Sukhpal Bal was elected at their AGM in February.
Bal brings both deep experience in agriculture and a sharp business sense to his new role. Bal's family has been working the land in Kelowna for almost 100 years, since his grandfather Bhaghu Singh arrived in Canada.
Bal grew up on the farm, but also left long enough to acquire a degree in International Relations and a degree in business. On his return to the farm, Bal and the family decided they needed to expand their operations, so they have added a successful farm market and cafe to their agri-business.
Bal's degree in International Relations will likely come in handy this year, as the BC Cherry Association is navigating the tricky waters of a trade agreement with China. BC is in the second year of a pilot program that would allow BC cherries to be exported to China, where prices are much higher than in the local market.
"I think Sukhpal will be very good for us," said Dendy, the outgoing president. "He is young, energetic and very articulate, very smart, and he has a good head for business as well."
Most of the current board members have returned, but there are a few new faces, and some directors have changed their role on the board.