Allen has headed the apple industry’s second-largest state marketing order since 2000. During his tenure, Allen earned a reputation as a passionate industry supporter who advocated for nationwide industry cooperation rather than regional competition.
Allen joined the apple association in 1996 as retail program director, and was named to the association’s top job four years later. As the association's senior executive, he represents over 675 apple growers across New York state, overseeing all promotional, grower education, communications, market research, and public and government affairs activities.
He represents the New York industry on U.S. Apple Association committees and to that group’s board, he has served three times as chair of the U.S. Apple Export Council, and currently serves on numerous committees working to advance New York and U.S. apple industry and agriculture.
Prior to joining the New York Apple Association, Allen led export sales and procurement for Sun Orchard Fruit Company, Burt, Niagara County, and worked in procurement and sales for Keystone Fruit Marketing, Greencastle, Pa.
Allen was awarded “Apple Person of the Year” honors in 2002 by The Packer; the newspaper also named him to the Top 25 Agricultural Leaders in the United States in 2008. United Fresh Produce Association named Allen “Produce Industry Advocate of the Year” in 2007.
"It has been privilege and pleasure to serve such a great industry for so many years. I have been fortunate to work with many dedicated people, from the growing communities to the board room,” said Allen.
“As I look back on my career, one of my greatest satisfactions has been working with industry from across the country, on topics ranging from production and marketing to politics and international trade, all working together for the good of our industry overall,” Allen said.
Apple and produce industry leaders lauded Allen’s longtime service and contributions.
“Jim has been a valuable asset in so many ways, he has become the backbone of the New York apple industry and is recognized worldwide for his leadership,” said Will Gunnison, chair of the apple association board of directors. “His 20 years of service is greatly appreciated by the New York industry, and he will be greatly missed. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
‘It has truly been an honor to work in unison with Jim over the years – the U.S. apple industry is losing a great asset,” said Todd Fryhover, president of Washington Apple Commission.
“In a competitive U.S. apple industry, Jim has always been able to see the bigger picture and promote consensus amongst differing geographic apple-growing states for the greater good of all apple producers," Fryhover said. "Washington state leadership will miss Jim’s enthusiasm and dedication to the industry.”
“Jim's tireless advocacy for the apple industry, and his fellowship, will be missed,” said Jim Bair, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Apple Association (USApple). “USApple has frequently leaned on Jim in legislative matters because of his credibility with New York members of Congress – of every stripe – who all like him so much. Of course, on a personal level we are all very happy for him, and wish him well in whatever opportunities he pursues next."