January 25, 2023

Western Growers Co-Sponsors 2022 Organic Grower Summit

This year the Organic Grower Summit in Monterey, Calif. on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2022 again provided growers with firsthand knowledge and information in areas ranging from agtech to food safety to sustainability.

The Grower of the Year was awarded to Jeff Huckaby, President of Grimmway Farms, headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif. During Huckaby’s 25-year tenure at Grimmway, the company’s organic program grew from several hundred acres to more than 40,000 acres of certified organic ground.

Among the panels that took place:

• The keynote presentation, “Grower Roundtable: The State of Organic Growing” was moderated by Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia, and featured Tom Nunes V, President of The Nunes Company; Michael DuPuis, Quality Assurance and Public Relations Coordinator at Divine Flavor; and Brie Reiter Smith, Vice President of Product Leadership at Driscoll’s. “While consumption of fresh organic produce continues to climb, domestic growers face an unprecedented array of regulatory and marketplace challenges that threaten future growth,” Puglia said. “The leaders on this panel will share valuable insight into the state of the organic industry and strategies for turning obstacles into opportunities.”

• The panel “Less Chemistry and More Biology” was moderated by Dennis Donohue, the Director of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas, Calif. Panelists include Pam Marrone, Advisor, Bioceres Crop Solutions; Don Cameron, Vice President and General Manager of Terranova Ranch; and Denise Manker, Director of Global Agronomic Development, Biologics, Bayer CropScience.

• Walt Duflock, VP of Innovation at Western Growers hosted “Meet the AgSharks,” where NutJobs, SWAN Systems and En Solucion presented their cutting-edge innovations in a reprise of the AgSharks competition at the Annual Meeting.