Jan 17, 2022
Awards breakfast part of Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference

Nine specialty crop industry professionals were honored on Jan. 8 at the 2022 Annual Awards Breakfast at the 2022 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference.

“We love recognizing outstanding members of the Southeast produce industry during the Awards Breakfast,” Drew Echols, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) president, said in a news release.

“These men and women are an integral part of the specialty crop industry, and we could not do what we do as growers without their support.”

GFVGA Donnie H. Morris Award of Excellence in Extension

Jake Price, University of Georgia Extension Agent, was nominated by GFVGA Board Member and Georgia Citrus Association President, Lindy Savelle.

“Jake goes above and beyond what is required to promote the citrus industry in Georgia,” said Savelle. “He makes himself available to all growers interested in citrus, not just those within his county.” She also says that he is the “go-to” guy of all University Georgia Extension Agents for citrus, as well as other vegetables.

The Donnie H. Morris Award of Excellence in Extension was established by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, GFVGA, to recognize University of Georgia Cooperative Extension personnel for their important contribution to Georgia fruit and vegetable operations.

2021 Mr. Peach

The South Carolina Peach Council awarded the Sonny Yonce the title of Mr. Peach for 2021 because of his many contributions and years dedicated to the SC peach industry. Sonny returned to his family farm in 1969 following a successful coaching career in Greenwood, South Carolina. He oversaw packaging, production, sales, trucking and integrated pest management before he retired from JW Yonce and Sons Farm, which has been providing top-quality peaches for almost 100 years.

He has also served the SC Peach Council since its inception, and they are grateful for all the work he has done. Because of COVID-19 last year, the council decided to recognize him at this year’s in-person conference. The award was presented on Jan. 8 by Ginny Gohagan, executive director of the South Carolina Peach Council.

Southeast Farmer of the Year

Robert “Bob” Hall, is the owner of Bush-N-Vine Farm, a fruit and vegetable operation. Hall began his farming career forty-one years ago on land that’s been in his family for 150 years. He started Bush-N-Vine Farm with 75 acres and converted the old 1930s peach packing shed into a retail market stand in York which, over the years, has served us well.

Bush-N-Vine Farm’s land undehttps://fruitgrowersnews.com/classyear/class-of-2021/r cultivation has doubled since the early 1980s and now supports three direct marketing fruit stands. He grows peaches, melons, blackberries, blueberries and a variety of vegetables. Hall represents exactly what the American farmer is all about. He exemplifies the traditions, values, and determination associated with the many responsibilities of being a steward of the land. The Southeast Farmer of the Year is awarded to an outstanding grower from one of the 17 cosponsoring states of the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 honorees

Several regional honorees for the Vegetable Growers News-Fruit Growers News 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 honorees were recognized at the Southeast event.

Angelos Deltsidis is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia – Tifton in the Department of Horticulture, where he specializes in postharvest physiology of fresh produce. His research focuses on extending the shelf-life and improving the marketable quality of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Albolfazl Hajihassani is an assistant professor of nematology specializing in vegetable research at the University of Georgia – Tifton where his current work is focused on identifying and controlling plant-parasitic nematodes that damage Georgia vegetable crops.

Corey Harmon is a second-generation farmer and current vegetable manager at Titans Farm, where he has worked since 2015. Harmon takes great pride in trying to advance the vegetable program through trial partnerships with the mindset of a more sustainable future for agriculture.

Ashley Hoppers, an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent with the University of Georgia began her career in 2017 in Liberty County Georgia where she has been involved in nearly a dozen applied research projects.

Clark MacAllister is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent with the University of Georgia in Dawson and Lumpkin counties, where he works extensively with the Georgia winegrape industry, as well as with a wide range of fruit and vegetable producers. He also manages the local farmers’ market.

Kimberly Post is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent in Lanier and Clinch counties with the University of Georgia. She works closely with UGA specialists on disease surveillance and onfarm trials for blueberry and blackberry producers.

Sedrick Rowe, first-generation owner and operator of Rowe Organic Farms in Albany, Georgia. He is one of only three certified organic peanut growers in Georgia and was the first licensed organic hemp grower in 2020.

The Fruit & Vegetable 40 Under 40 Awards honor 40 outstanding individuals who exemplify leadership, innovative thinking and commitment to the future of the industry.

The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is a trade association representing farmers, packers and shippers producing fruits and vegetables in the southeastern United States. The organization provides a viable and united voice to represent the industry. Through support for educational programs, agricultural research, member services and marketing activities GFVGA encourages efficient, cost-effective production for growers and increased consumption by consumers.

GFVGA is managed by Association Services Group, a professional management firm in LaGrange, GA, and is accredited by the Association Management Company Institute. The Georgia Peach Council is an association of growers, packers, researchers, allied industry, and produce buyers who seek to protect and advance the production and marketing of peaches in Georgia.

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