June 26, 2017

Western Growers Honors Achievements of Agricultural Pioneer David Gill

WG will award David Gill the prestigious 2017 Award of Honor on October 30

IRVINE, Calif. (June 26, 2017) – Western Growers will honor David Gill, who has become one of the agricultural industry’s most distinguished pioneers, with the 2017 Award of Honor. The Award of Honor is Western Growers’ highest recognition of industry achievement and is given to individuals who have contributed extensively to the agricultural community.

“I’ve seen the caliber of individuals who have received this award in the past, and I’m truly honored to be this year’s recipient,” said Gill. “I’m the kind of person who keeps his head down and does what I feel is right – working hard, doing a good job and treating people with fairness and respect. I’m humbled by this honor, and it’s an incredible privilege.”

Gill’s visionary leadership has played an integral role in the success of Rio Farms, Gills Onions, Growers Express, True Leaf Farms – Church Brothers Farms, American Farms, G&H Farms and Mission Ranches, growing the capacity of each company to bring fresh produce to the state, nation and world. After suffering a horrific helicopter accident in 1998 that left him with a broken neck and back, Gill fought against the odds and went on to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 14 months later, demonstrating to millions the resiliency and determination that friends and colleagues in agriculture have long admired. Gill’s accident also gave him a renewed sense of purpose: To put an even stronger emphasis on giving back to both the industry and community.

“David’s compelling life story and incredible achievements are a testament to his commitment to agriculture,” said Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers. “His drive and perseverance are inspiring, and his impact will echo throughout the industry for years to come.”

Gill has been a strong advocate for the industry, routinely reaching out to Congress and the state legislature on ag’s most pressing concerns such as labor, water and regulatory compliance issues. He is deeply engaged in the industry and generously donates his time as chairman of the Hartnell College Ag Steering Committee, and actively participates in leadership roles within the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, California Farm Bureau Federation, Produce Marketing Association and Western Growers. Gill served as Chairman of Western Growers in 2001 and remains an influential voice on the WG Board of Directors.

“I first met David in 1971 when we were both playing football at Cal Poly,” said Steve Barnard, ‎President and CEO of Mission Produce Inc. and Gill’s longtime friend and colleague. “David is one of the most generous, successful and unassuming champions in our industry.”

A King City-native, Gill is also heavily involved in the community, providing guidance to the next generation of leaders as chairman of the board for the First Tee of Monterey County and avid supporter of King City Young Farmers, Boy Scouts of America and the Future Farmers of America.

“David is the most generous person I know,” said Jamie Strachan, CEO at Growers Express. “His sense of giving to kids, community and industry is matched only by his competitive will and his unrelenting talent for negotiation. These remarkable combinations make him a revolutionary force in our business.”

Gill’s achievements and service to the industry will be recognized at the Award of Honor Dinner Gala at the Western Growers 92nd Annual Meeting on Monday, October 30, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada. There, Gill will be honored by his peers, friends and family. To attend the ceremony, visit http://www.wgannualmeeting.com/.

About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including nearly half of America’s fresh organic produce. Some members also farm throughout the U.S. and in other countries so people have year-round access to nutritious food. For generations, we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook.