FOLSOM, CALIF. — Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), has been named the National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) Ag Association Leader of the Year for 2022.

Cronquist received the award April 7 at a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo.

The award, one of NAMA’s highest honors, recognizes outstanding leadership, achievement and excellence among senior executives who have made significant contributions to the agriculture industry in their roles with associations or commodity organizations, according to USHBC. 

“With more than 15 years’ experience with government, association, and non-profits, Kasey was named president of the North American Blueberry Council and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council in 2019. It was the perfect place and time,” said Jenny Pickett, NAMA’s CEO. “Long-term, strategic vision is Kasey’s strength. And while the industry was riding high, new challenges demanded a bold, new vision to ensure continued growth.”

Soon after taking the helm of USHBC in 2019, Cronquist led the organization through a strategic refresh, followed by development of a new strategic plan, with a refined vision, mission and plan to make blueberries the world’s favorite fruit, according to USHBC.

Cronquist recognized the importance of fostering greater collaboration among all industry stakeholders and the need to unite to address challenges and opportunities that will take USHBC programs to the next level.

In 2020, USHBC launched a new overarching brand theme of Inspiring Possibilities for the industry, as well as Grab a Boost of Blue as a motivating call-to-action for consumers. Additionally, the USA Blueberries export brand was created to raise awareness of the quality and food safety assurance of U.S. grown blueberries. In June 2020, Cronquist initiated “The Business of Blueberries,” an industry podcast currently surpassing 35,000 downloads.  

“Kasey has made a tremendous impact helping the blueberry industry thrive and leading the USHBC into an exciting and successful future,” said USHBC Chair Shelly Hartmann. “His efforts have impressed blueberry growers, marketers, exporters and industry allies alike, and have become the guiding force in making blueberries the world’s favorite fruit.”