FAQ: GenNext Growers

2013-Updated GenNext Growers logo-web readyWhat exactly is a “GenNext Grower™”?
A GenNext Grower is anyone who:

  • Was born after 1970
  • Is preparing to assume, or already has assumed, leadership in a farming enterprise
  • Has a passion to produce high-quality specialty crops: fruits, vegetables and/or citrus
  • Seeks to be an advocate for his or her industry

What can GenNext Growers offer me?
Joining the GenNext Grower network is easy, fast and has no obligation. Once a grower is in the GenNext Grower network, s/he can expect to receive emailed invitations opportunities to learn from and connect with produce industry leaders and other GenNext Growers in the areas that are of pressing importance to up-and-coming farm leaders – most immediately to include farm advocacy and public speaking, human resources and business planning. An invitation to join a closed LinkedIn group for GenNext Growers only will be the likely first stop for most registrants. Coming shortly thereafter will be access to exclusive content including articles, detailed whitepapers and video; and invitations to webinars and in-person events. The GenNext program is likely to be shaped by GenNext Growers themselves! But first you must register.

How can I become a GenNext Grower?
Register at GenNextGrowers.com.

Is a GenNext Grower defined by age – say, someone under 30, or under 40?
Not really. We’ve set the “cut-off” for a GenNext Grower more along generational lines, in recognition of the fact that there generally are no hard-and-fast ages at which farms change hands – especially today when our current older generation is longer-lived and working later into life. Most farms now run by Baby Boomers and/or their parents are in direct line to succeed into the hands of growers born after 1970.

Are only growers involved with GenNext Growers?
Not at all. Just as growers of the current generation are supported by networks of advisors and suppliers, so the GenNext Growers program encompasses and recognizes researchers, Extension specialists, suppliers and other allieds born after 1970.

GenNext Growers is set up primarily to benefit Generation X and the Millennials, true?
Not necessarily. While it’s true that the program’s focus on progressive farm management, people management, marketing, and industry advocacy is of particular appeal to growers born after 1970, growers of any age can potentially gain from the informational outreach of the GenNext Growers initiative – especially through American/Western Fruit Grower, American Vegetable Grower and Florida Grower magazines, enewsletters, and a microsite at GenNextGrowers.com. Also, growers and allieds of a slightly older age form the GenNext Growers Advisory Council that serves in a mentor / advisor capacity to GenNext Growers.

What is the GenNext Growers “Initiative”?
The GenNext Growers initiative is the wider platform supporting GenNext Growers, the GenNext Growers Advisory Council, and the program’s informational and educational outreach. The GenNext Growers initiative is organized and facilitated by Meister Media Worldwide’s American/Western Fruit Grower, American Vegetable Grower, and Florida Grower magazines from its offices in Ohio, Florida and California.

What are the mission and goal of the GenNext Growers Initiative?
Our mission
is to identify, develop and promote the best practices of the nation’s most promising up-and-coming specialty crop growers. Our goal is to ensure a smooth generational transition and hence the long-term viability of America’s fruit, vegetable and citrus industries. At its highest level the Initiative has three major dimensions:

1)     To identify candidates for GenNext Growers and host a community of peers with online, social-media and in-person interactions
2)     To foster the professional development of the GenNext Grower community through focused content and educational opportunities in areas of greatest need and interest – such as general business, people management, marketing and public speaking
3)     To share the best thinking and success stories of GenNext Growers to wider growing and produce communities so anyone can share in and benefit from the initiative

Are there other “future leader” programs out there for agriculture?
There are indeed a number of young leader programs in place, especially at the U.S. state and regional levels. The aim of the GenNext Growers Initiative is to help pull together and bring a national voice to many young grower programs currently underway.

Are there places where I can get involved with GenNext Growers online?
Absolutely. Our microsite is at GenNextGrowers.com. On Twitter we’re at @GenNextGrowers. On Facebook we’re at Facebook.com/GenNextGrowers. And on joining the GenNext Growers network you’ll receive an invitation to join our closed LinkedIn group.

Are there organized in-person events for GenNext Growers?
A few informal events have been held. Organized events are coming. We’ll send you information as these events start to come together.

How can I contact someone with GenNext Growers?
Your best bet is to contact GenNext Growers program coordinator Christina Herrick ([email protected], 440-602-9106). Or nearly anyone affiliated with American/Western Fruit Grower, American Vegetable Grower, and Florida Grower magazines can answer questions about the GenNext Growers initiative.