Jim Bittner named interim director Horticultural Society, Berry Growers Association

Posted 4 December 2021 at 7:10 pm

Press Release, NYS Horticulture Society and NYS Berry Growers Association

Jim Bittner

The Boards of Directors of the New York State Horticulture Society (NYSHS) and the New York State Berry Growers Association (NYSBGA) are pleased to announce that Jim Bittner of Appleton has been appointed their Interim Executive Director.

The NYSHS began 1855. Its purpose has always been to serve the fruit industry of New York. The programs of the “Hort Society” have changed over the years to keep up with the changing times. The present mission is to “…educate, promote and protect the New York Fruit Industry”.

Founded in 1988, the New York State Berry Growers Association is a nonprofit educational association for berry growers, from large wholesale family farms to independent farm stands and small pick-your-own operations, across New York State. The NYSBGA promotes the growing and marketing of berries through the exchange of valuable information, including scientific research and production techniques.

Bittner brings an understanding of the needs of the fruit industry and the needs of these organizations. His home farm, Bittner-Singer Orchards, in Appleton consists of 400 acres of fruit including apples, peaches, cherries, plums and apricots. His two sons, Kevin and David, are involved in the farm operation.

In the past, Bittner served on the Board of the Horticulture Society including being its chairperson. In that role, he was active in the Council of Agricultural Organizations and the Farm Viability Institute Board. He has been very active in Farm Bureau at many different levels over the years. All of these organizations are geared toward keeping agriculture as an economic engine for the New York State economy.

In addition to these organizations, Bittner served on the Niagara County Cooperative Extension Board and Niagara County Industrial Development Microenterprise grant program board. He is currently a member of the Soil and Water Board, Niagara County Farm Bureau Board, and Treasurer of the Barker Lions Club.

Bittner has received numerous agricultural and business awards including the Distinguished Service award from the New York Agricultural Society, Business Person of the Year from the Niagara County Chamber of Commerce, National Outstanding Young Farmer, 40 Under 40 from Buffalo Business First and Outstanding Young Alumni from the Agriculture and Life Sciences school at Cornell University.

Serving as Interim Director is important for many reasons, he explained. “There are many facets to these two organizations.  We facilitate communication between farmers, agricultural researchers, and educators through our Fruit Quarterly. We keep farmers apprised of regulatory issues that could affect our ability to farm and work to educate decision makers on how new regulations will affect agriculture. Thirdly, we work with other agricultural organizations to ensure that we understand and appreciate the challenges we all face. I am really excited to work with people I have known for decades in this new capacity.”