The Grower Achievement Award Requires Well Rounded Nominee

Rosemary Gordon

Believe it or not, much of the winter is behind us and many in the North are getting ready for the coming growing season. As March not only brings warmer temperatures, it also marks the time when AVG begins the process of collecting nominations for the annual Grower Achievement Award.

This month, we are kicking off the call for entries. Now in its 11th year, this award is presented to a grower operation who is in constant pursuit of excellence in marketing, food safety, technology — I think you get the picture. (To find out more about the award and how to submit a nomination online, see “Success Stories” on page 32.)


CLICK HERE to submit a nomination. 

Not The Same Playing Field

Past award recipients hail from all over the country — from Florida to California — and most have earned superior marks in each of those areas mentioned above. The one area that has undergone significant change over the years, however, is food safety. From complying with third-party audits to understanding what will be required of growers when the new food safety law is implemented, the playing field has changed, and it has changed dramatically.  

It’s quite obvious that growers’ collective livelihood depends on delivering the safest produce possible to consumers. Most growers follow good agricultural practices and many have a specific food safety plan in place in order to comply with customer audits. Now with the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — which was signed into law last year and is the most sweeping food safety reform in history — growers will have to answer to the law.

Waiting For Rules

Since FSMA became law, FDA has been charged with developing the new food safety rules that vegetable growers will need to heed. What is being perceived as a setback, however, is FDA is now postponing the release of rules that will directly impact producers of fresh produce.

Frank Giles, editor of sister magazine Florida Grower, caught up with David Gombas, senior vice president for food safety and technology for United Fresh Produce Association (see “New Rules Unfold” on page 50) to talk about what is to come with the new regulations. In a nutshell, Gombas said there was some disappointment that the rules are not ready to go, but he added that he is glad FDA is taking the time to “get it right.”

Accountability And Responsibility

In spite of the delay, growers large and small know that they are accountable for food produced on their farms. As mentioned earlier, many growers already have food safety programs, and many go above and beyond what is required of them.

It is not going out on a limb to say that these cutting-edge growers who are already taking food safety to the next level will be well-prepared for what is to come from FDA. Clearly, these operations are leading by example.
So what does this have to do with the Grower Achievement Award? Well, the short answer is “everything.” These growers are pursuing excellence. They are the ones looking to the future, trying to determine what will be necessary down the line to produce the safest vegetables to feed a growing nation.

That is quite a job. As you will see, whoever is named the recipient of the 2012 Grower Achievement Award will definitely be up to the task.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

VegetablesAnnual Santa Maria Vegetable Meeting
August 20, 2014
University of California Cooperative Extension will host annual vegetable meeting focusing on nutrient management, plant growth, weed management, and more. Read More
Leafy VegetablesTanimura & Antle Introduces New Lettuce Variety 
August 20, 2014
The California grower now offers George T’s Colossal Romaine Heart, in honor of the company's founder, George Tanimura. Read More
CitrusBorder Crisis Not Helping Farmers
August 19, 2014
As thousands cross into the U.S. seeking refuge, calls for ag labor reform are lost in the uproar. Read More
Cucurbits24 Sweet Watermelon Varieties [Slideshow]
August 19, 2014
Browse the slideshow below for information on 24 watermelon varieties from the nation’s leading seed breeders and distributors. Read More
FruitsHandheld Produce Quality Meter Debuts At 2014 Internati…
August 19, 2014
Researchers to present data measuring dry matter, color, and sugar content of cherries and other product pre- and postharvest. Read More
GrapesNew York State Assists Grape Growers Hit By Harsh Winte…
August 19, 2014
State to open winegrape market to grapes grown outside the state. Read More
FruitsEuropean Fruit And Vegetable Growers Hit By Russian Ban…
August 19, 2014
Angry at European Union/United States sanctions over Ukraine, Russia has banned many food imports. Read More
Apple Grower of the YearGet The Latest News On The Nation’s Apple Crop
August 19, 2014
American and Western Fruit Grower editors will be tweeting in real time this week from the Apple Crop Outlook & Marketing Conference. Read More
OrangesSour Forecast For 2014-2015 Florida Orange Crop
August 18, 2014
Paltry prediction signals lowest output in 50 years. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioConsortia Inc. Bolsters Executive Team
August 18, 2014
Industry veterans Christina Huben and Dr. Susan Turner bring experience to plant biotechnology firm. Read More
Stone Fruit‘Ladderless’ Peach, Nectarine Orchards Explored
August 15, 2014
University of California researchers explore the concept of so-called pedestrian orchards. Read More
CitrusU.S. Sugar Buying South Florida Sugar Cane And Vegetabl…
August 15, 2014
Purported deal worth $100 million to purchase farmland and assets of Knight Management Inc. Read More
CitrusFlorida’s Future Farming Leaders Dig Up Knowledge…
August 15, 2014
Class 3 of FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program learn a lot from road trip to California's Salinas Valley. Read More
CitrusWater Bond Will Appear On California Ballot
August 14, 2014
Voters will decide if thirsty state will spend $7.5 billion, including $2.7 billion for storage. Read More
BerriesFamiliar Face Settles In As New Florida Strawberry Asso…
August 14, 2014
Kenneth Parker’s deep roots in the community and knowledge of production challenges make a good combination for executive director role. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateIs There Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Florida Cit…
August 14, 2014
Time is of the essence in the race to beat greening. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateCoca-Cola Shares Additional $1.5 Million To Fight Citru…
August 14, 2014
Grant to help UF/IFAS researchers work toward a solution for devastating disease. Read More
CitrusU.S. Fall Weather Outlook Foresees Wild Ride
August 14, 2014
From continued drought in the West, to a possible early Polar Vortex visit in the East, forecasters are predicting an active autumn. Read More