CWU News

CWU Facilitates Business Tour for Australian Agriculture Executives

Several members of the Hills Orchard Improvement Group, which promotes the work of more than 130 fruit growers and 60 orchards in Perth Hills, Australia, will visit central Washington July 6 through 10 for site visits and meetings with local agricultural leaders.

The visit is being coordinated through the Central Washington University College of Business.

“Our university encourages international cooperation,” notes Kathryn Martell, the college dean. “We’re excited about the opportunity to help the Hills Orchard Improvement Group visit central Washington to learn more the best practices adopted by various companies here.”

One specific area of interest to the Australian delegation is fruit fly management and the role of organics in that, points out Mark Pritchard, CWU marketing professor, who is serving as the university liaison to the group.

Because of that, Pritchard has helped scheduled group visits to several orchards, as well as the United States Agriculture Department laboratory in Wapato and the Washington State University research and extension center in Wenatchee.

The delegation decided to come to central Washington since agriculture is such a prominent part of Washington’s economy, valued at more than $4.5 billion annually. Production of apples, peaches, and pears accounts for more than 12 percent of that total.

Interestingly, Pritchard  a native of Australia, grew up with growers, whose businesses are now affiliated with Hills Orchard Improvement Group.

“My first job out of high school was picking apples in the Hills orchard area for six months,” he points out “So, it’s a fun thing to host and help connect this group with the industry here.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Content Development, 509-963-1487,

Photo: Mark Pritchard, CWU marketing professor

July 2, 2015