The Northwest Horticultural Council has added Laura Grunenfelder to its staff.

She will begin work as a science policy specialist on June 3, said Chris Schlect, president of the Yakima-based council. Schlect said Grunenfelder, who fills a newly created position on the council, comes with several years of experience in the private sector after earning a bachelor of science in biology and a master of science in horticulture from Washington State University.

Grunenfelder has a strong scientific background, he said, and will complement existing staff on issues such as food safety, pesticide regulations and science-related phytosanitary barriers. With production of tree fruit continuing to rise in Washington and the Northwest, Schlect said there is no lack of challenging trade issues for tree fruit exports.

“Some of this has to do with getting prepared for ultimate transitions of staff as we get older and some of us are looking at retirement in a few years,” Schlect said.