The Western Plant Health Association has elected new board members and officers for 2011. The organization also presented special awards to two members during its annual meeting held Oct. 3-5 on the Big Island of Hawaii.

WPHA officers elected Barbara LeVake, of Trical, Inc., as chairperson; Ron Naven of Yara North America became vice chairman; and Scott Hushbeck of Wilbur-Ellis Co. was selected secretary/treasurer. John Smith of Bayer CropScience and Larry O'dell of H.J. Baker & Bro. were selected as at-large executive committee members. Michael Donnelly of Dow AgroSciences, outgoing WPHA chairman, will serve as Chair Ex. Officio.

The following individuals were newly elected to three-year terms on the WPHA board of directors: Mike Kennedy, of Green Valley Farm Supply; Tony Weatherred, Stanislaus Farm Supply; and Gary Snyder of PotashCorp. Departing directors were Kent Johnson, of Ag Production Co., and Steve Gillette of PotashCorp.

Upon taking the helm, LeVake outlined some of the key issues the industry will be confronting next year, such as state and regional water board initiatives for surface and groundwater regulations impacting pesticides and nutrients.

“We will be watching for the return of environmental justice-based regulations that will be aimed at agriculture. And depending on what happens with Proposition 23 in California, we will be monitoring the California Air Resources Board’s efforts for climate change.

She added that WPHA will be very much involved in DPR’s new air monitoring program and the next phase of its VOC regulations.

WPHA featured several speakers from California for its membership during the group’s annual business session: Dr. Lori Berger, executive director of the California Specialty Crops Council, addressed maximum residue levels (MRLs) and their impact on agricultural production and trade. She said California businesses that have to deal with MRLs in foreign countries are finding it extremely difficult to keep abreast of constantly changing standards and regulations when it comes to shipping produce into these foreign markets – with each foreign country having a different set of MRL standards that are enforced.