After a tumultuous four months that saw the resignation of their president, Okanagan orchardists will have to choose between two experienced vice-presidents at the annual convention on Jan. 19.
Fred Steele of Kelowna, who served as VP for several years, will face off against current VP (and acting president) Jeet Dukhia of Vernon. Dukhia is also letting his name stand for 2013 vice-president when members vote in a new executive in Penticton.
"First of all, we have to re-establish some confidence in this whole organization," said Steele.
"My focus is not to get into a fight with my opponents, (but) I think we really need a fresh clean start. That's paramount. We need somebody at the top who isn't connected with the previous administration. That's extremely important."
Growers will have to discuss current issues as well as "clean up the wreckage that is washing ashore," he said. "And I think some of that is still there."
The entire BCFGA executive has to work together, he added.
"It can't just be a one-man band. I think it was for a large portion of the year. We have to improve relations with the packing house; we have to have a new face at the table, because that shows we're serious."
Dukhia said earlier he has a business relationship with other BCFGA directors, while Steele feels the industry has a family atmosphere because it is part of a way of life.
"These aren't just business associates of mine; they're part of the agricultural family," Steele said. "I'm working for a family - a broad, extensive family that includes the farmers, the executive, the cherry industry, the independents and those who work for the packing house. And every single day, you're thinking about the welfare of a family. It's far more closely entailed than that of a business relationship. That's extremely important to us."
Dukhia wants to fulfil his commitment to serve on the BCFGA executive for a number of years and disagrees with Steele's assessment of the past year when Kirpal Boparai was president and of the business-versus-family approach.
"We are one family; I always believed in that. In the family, you still have to deal with business - your financial business, your bills (and) all the other concerns you have in the family," Dukhia said.
"I am a different person (than Boparai). I believe in politeness. I believe in getting along with everybody. I don't believe in picking a fight with anybody. We're not going to have that friction. We're going to have smooth family relations and we're going to resolve our differences within our family."
He laughed when told Steele wants out with the old and in with the new.
"Fred was there before as the vice-president, so he's not new. I don't know why he was saying that. I don't know what direction he was coming from. There's only one direction, and that is to look after the growers."
Dukhia also disagreed with Steele's assessment of the 2012 executive as a one-man or two-man show.
"It was not. Everybody has their concerns," he said.
All 10 members of the executive discussed business and voted on resolutions, said Dukhia.
"We want to get along with everybody, so we compromise. Everybody has their say and gets along with everybody."