Dec 17, 2019
FGN, VGN honor Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2019

Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News honored the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2019 during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO on Dec. 10.

The exemplary agriculture professionals were nominated by their peers for the impressive accomplishments of their young careers. The Class of 2019 was also featured in the October 2019 issues of both publications.

Launched last year, the 40 Under 40 Awards represent a broad spectrum of agriculture industry professionals, from growers and farm market operators, to Extension agents and industry suppliers. The young professionals selected are making substantial strides for their individual businesses and the industry as a whole.

“It was an exciting evening honoring the future of our industry,” said CEO and Publisher Matt McCallum. “The industry is clearly in good hands with these young professionals, who are already making a positive impact through their exceptional leadership, motivation and innovation.”

The 2019 honorees were:

  1. Chris Alpers, Farmer/Sales Representative, Red Path Orchards
  2. Amaya Atucha, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  3. Julie Bolyard, CFO & Food Safety Plan Administrator, Appalachian Orchard Company
  4. Jocelyn Bridson, Director of Environmental Science and Resources, Rio Farms
  5. William Bristol, Sales Representative, Nutrien Ag Solutions
  6. Jeremy Coventry, Production Manager/Owner, Curtis Orchard
  7. Henry Deblouw, Past President, Mike Pirrone Produce, Inc.
  8. Alex Duffy, National Specialty Crop Manager, TIMAC AGRO USA
  9. Andy Ferguson, Co-Owner, Ferguson’s Orchards
  10. Colleen Forestieri, Conservation Technician, Van Buren Conservation District
  11. Christopher Grant, Secretary/Treasurer, New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association
  12. Matt Haak, Orchard Manager, Price Cold Storage LLC
  13. Tom Heeman, President , North American Strawberry Growers Association
  14. Ricardo Hernandez, Senior Scientist/Assistant Professor, Grafted Growers/North Carolina State University
  15. Gerrit Herrygers, Grower/Technical Sales Rep, Herryger Farms and Wilbur Ellis
  16. Cain Hickey, Assistant Professor and Extension Viticulture Specialist, University of Georgia
  17. Kristin Kubiszak, Grower/Farm Market Manager, Brookside Farm
  18. Erin Lizotte, Integrated Pest Management Educator, Michigan State University Extension
  19. Sarah Lott Zost, Manager, Bonnie Brae Fruit Farms Inc.
  20. Amanda McWhirt, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, Extension Specialist – Horticulture Production, University of Arkansas
  21. Stephen Meyers, Assistant Extension/Research Professor, Mississippi State University
  22. Jake Milarch, Owner, Truly Michigan Vines
  23. Stacey Mullen, Orchard Owner and Agricultural Sales/Consultant, The Berry Farm & Orchard/ Timac Agro
  24. Jenna Oesch, Global Marketing and Customer Experience Lead, A Bayer Crop Science, Vegetable Seeds, Bayer Crop Science
  25. Kristin Oomen, Sales, Product Development Manager, Bejo Seeds, Inc.
  26. Justin Oomen, Vegetable Grower, Oomen Farms LTD
  27. Nancie Oxley, Winemaker/Vice President, St. Julian Winery
  28. Jason Ruhlig, Owner/Manager, Ruhlig Farms
  29. Jayesh Samtani, Assistant Professor and Small Fruit Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech, Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  30. James Stahl, Partner/Farm Manager, Harvest Lane Farm Market
  31. Ann Swanson, Hendrick House Farm Director, Hendrick House
  32. Hillary Thomas, Research and Technical Director, Naturipe Berry Growers
  33. Charlie Thompson, Vice President & Director of Research, Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc.
  34. Brandon Wade, President, Georgia Blueberry Growers Association
  35. Nicole Ward, Owner/Cidermaker, Forgotten Ciders
  36. Ben Werling, MSU Extension Educator, Michigan State University
  37. Pat Whitwood, Director of Research, Seneca Vegetable Research, Inc.
  38. Nathan Wilson, Farm Manager, Williams Orchards
  39. Dale Woolf, Co-owner, Woolf Farms
  40. Isaiah Wunsch, Owner/Managing Partner, Wunsch Farms

The 2019 Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Awards were sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, Enza Zaden, Stokes Seeds, FMC, Proptek and Marrone Bio Innovations. For more information about each member of the Class of 2019, visit or Nominations for the Class of 2020 are available online, at and, with a nomination deadline of March 15, 2020.

The 40 Under 40 Class of 2019 gathers for a group photo at the awards ceremony held Dec. 10 during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO. Photo: Eric Hadden


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