Valerie Shepler has joined Fall Creek Farm & Nursery as commercial manager for the US and Canada.
Shepler is responsible for establishing and developing relationships with the company’s blueberry nursery and genetics customers. She will also oversee the implementation and administration of new plant preview and genetics licensing programmes, and manage the customer service, sales, and grower support team.
Based at Fall Creek’s Lowell office, Shepler reports to Scott Cully, regional director for the US and Canada, and Jason Wolcott, commercial director for Fall Creek globally.
“Val already has relationships with many of Fall Creek’s customer-growers,” said Cully. “Those relationships, her fruit and berry experience, and her commitment to customer success are a winning combination.”
Shepler has more than 30 years of management experience in the agricultural industry. Most recently, she served as vice president of strategic sourcing and analysis for Milne Fruit Products.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to take a step up to the very start of the supply chain, helping blueberry growers in this mature market to improve crop quality and trial new varieties,” said Shepler.
“I’ve been a blueberry buyer for the processing industry for the past 10 years and crossed paths with people from Fall Creek on a number of occasions. I always came away with a strong impression of their professionalism and genuine commitment to the industry. After learning more about the company, I knew I wanted to be a part of its growth.”
In addition to its catalogue of open varieties, Fall Creek offers new blueberry genetics through the Fall Creek Collection platform, which provides producers a line of premium varieties with high productivity and good quality fruit for all chill levels.
Fall Creek Collection licensees have access to current and new varieties, along with applied research and technical horticultural support.
“Val will lead our efforts in introducing the preview plant program in the US and Canada, as well as the addition of new high chill varieties in the Fall Creek Collection,” said Wolcott. “Her supply chain experience, knowledge of our customers, and connection to Fall Creek’s values and roots in the Pacific Northwest position her well for success in her new role.”