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About the North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation

The North American Bramble Growers Research Foundation (NABG-RF) is a tax-exempt, charitable 501(c)(3) organization adjunct to the North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association (formerly North American Bramble Growers Association, or NABGA). It was chartered in August, 1998 to facilitate NABGA’s ability to receive donations and make grants to fund bramble research. As of 2018, the Foundation has granted a total of $253,428 to 100 projects at universities in the U.S. and Canada and the USDA research centers.

Funds for NABG-RF come from several sources, including NARBA membership dues, donations, and fundraising event. A quarter (25%) of each grower membership goes directly to the Research Foundation, In September, 2007, the Foundation initiated a Nursery Contribution Program, encouraging blackberry/raspberry nurseries to contribute $.01 per plant sold to the Foundation. All donations to the Research Foundation qualify as charitable contributions.

The Foundation is closely linked with the North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association, but is a separate organization. New Foundation bylaws adopted in March, 2015 established the Executive Council of NARBA as the Board of Trustees of the Foundaton as well, though separation between their meetings and accounts is clearly delineated.  The new bylaws also defined the role and membership of the Foundation’s Research Committee and made other improvements that brought the Foundation more in line with accepted non-profit practices.

The Research Committee evaluates proposals and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees for funding. Each year that funds are available for grants a Call for Proposals is developed in the fall and emailed to interested researchers and posted on NARBA’s website. Funding priorities for the year are decided by the NARBA Executive consultation with the NABGRF Research Committee and other leaders in the industry.  The process is coordinated by the co-coordinators of the Research Committee, Jeff Chandler and Patrick Byers.

Funding decisions are made in January or February of the following year, generally at the time of the NARBA annual meeting.

If you are interested in making a donation to the Foundation or receiving the next Call for Proposals, contact NABGRF.

Board of Trustees of the NABG Research Foundation (2019)

  • Richard Barnes,  Trellis Growing Systems/Tanglewood Berry Farm, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Debby Wechsler (Secretary-Treasurer), NARBA, Pittsboro, NC
  • David Mutz, Berryhaven Farm, Abbotsford, BC
  • Tom O’Brien, O’Brien Family Farms, Coats, NC 
  • Chris Eckert, Eckert Orchards, Belleville, IL
  • Jim Jedele, Berry Hill Farm, MI
  • Richard Barnes, Tanglewood Berry Farm/Trellis Growing System, Fort Wayne, IN
  • Scott Norman, Naturipe Farms, Salinas, CA
  • Darren Sinn, Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission, OR  
  • Ben Butler, Butler’s Orchard, Germantown, MD
  • Pierson Geyer, Agriberry Farm & CSA, Hanover, VA
  • Rigoberto Guerrero, Hortifrut, Zapopan, Mexico

Research Committee (dates of term)

  • Patrick Byers (Co-Chair) University of Missouri Extension, Springfield, MO 
  • Jeff Chandler (Co-Chair) Mtn. Horticultural Crops Research Station, Fletcher, NC
  • Miguel Ahumada, Berry World, Ojai, CA (2018-2021)
  • Amanda McWhirt, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR (2018-2021)
  • Walter Goss, Goss Berry Farm, Mechanic Falls, ME   (2016-2019) 
  • Sarah Hulick, Cabrillo College, Watsonville, CA (2016-2019)
  • Reza Rafie, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA  (2016-2019) 
  • Jose Saca, Wish Farms, Plant City, FL (2017-2020)
  • Fred Koenigshof, K&K Farms, Coloma, MI (2017-2020)
  • Hillary Thomas, Naturipe Farms, Salinas, CA (2017-2020)
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