Last summer, with the retirement of longtime Executive Director Kathryn Fry-Trommald, the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee enlisted the services of Ag Association Management, a Kennewick, WA, company to handle administrative, communication and event planning tasks.
Kathy had overseen the office activities for more than 16 years, leaving in July. AAM came on in August, according to WWOMC Manager Kim Hatch, member of the AAM staff.
Well-versed not only in the area but also in farming, Kim is from Tri-Cities and grew up in a farm environment. “My dad farmed, and I also married into a farming family,” she told OnionBusiness.com.
That familiarity translates to a good relationship with the committee’s membership of onion producers, handlers and public representatives who operate under the guidelines of Federal Marketing Order No. 956, which was adopted in May of 1995.
That order designates Walla Walla Sweet Onions as “a unique variety, and establishes a federally protected growing area (the Walla Walla Valley of Southeast Washington and Northeast Oregon),” and it states, “Sweet onions grown outside this production area cannot be marketed as Walla Walla Sweet Onions or face stiff federal penalties.”
For its part, AAM “specializes in providing executive director and executive secretary services, event planning, and educational and legislative outreach opportunities for the agricultural industry.” The company was founded in 2000 and “services clientele throughout Washington, the Pacific Northwest, and nationally,” with more than a dozen accounts and upwards of 10 commodity segments.
Kim’s manager title comes with marketing background as well as bookkeeping and accounting. In addition to those skills, she is known for her networking and event sponsor recruiting expertise.
She said, and the company’s website at agmgt.com reiterates, that she is “passionate about the agriculture industry, coming from a farming family.” She and her husband ran a produce stand at one time, giving her first-hand experience in moving fresh product from field to consumer.
For the onion committee she’ll organize and attend meetings, manage membership details, recruit and maintain directories.
AAM will maintain the WWSOMC website, sweetonions.org, as well as handle promotions, send out communications and provide social media continuity. The company will provide legislative support and educational outreach and schedule any field days and grower/company meetings.