Grimmway’s Jeff Huckaby named OGS grower of the year
The Organic Grower Summit presented by Western Growers and OPN will honor long-time organic grower Jeff Huckaby as the recipient of the fifth annual Grower of the Year Award. Huckaby, president and CEO of Grimmway Farms, was selected based on his ongoing commitment and dedication to excellence in organic production, organic industry leadership, and innovation.
The Grower of the Year Award, sponsored by AGCO, will be presented to Huckaby as part of the keynote presentation at the Organic Grower Summit Nov. 30–Dec. 1 in Monterey, CA. The Grower of the Year presentation is part of an extensive educational program designed to inform and engage organic producers and their service providers and supply chain partners.
“We are honored to present the annual Grower of the Year Award to Jeff. His decades-long work exemplifies what hardworking, passionate organic farming is all about. Over the past three decades, Jeff has worked tirelessly to encourage water conservation, natural methods for pest control, and always found ways to share information about those practices with other organic growers,” said Matt Seeley, co-founder and CEO of Organic Produce Network. “His dedication to the environment and community is what makes the organic sector special and makes him so deserving of the title of Grower of the Year.”
Huckaby is a fourth-generation farmer who has more than 30 years of farming management experience and deep roots in the produce industry. He joined Grimmway Farms in 1998 and managed their organic division. During his tenure, the program has grown from several hundred to 40,000 acres of certified organic ground. Before becoming president and CEO in 2016, he served as executive vice president and oversaw sales, production, engineering and farming for all Grimmway Farms products. Huckaby’s leadership has been integral in establishing Grimmway’s global organic business and lead position in the category.
The Grower of the Year Award will be presented to Huckaby by recognized organic leader and former President of Whole Foods Walter Robb. The two have known each other for many years, and Robb credits Huckaby’s stewardship work for elevating and enhancing Whole Foods’ commitment to organic fresh produce.
Previous winners of the award have been Vic Smith, CEO of JV Smith Co. (2021); The Lundberg Family (2019); Thaddeus Barsotti of Capay Organic (2018); and Vernon Peterson of Peterson Family Farms (2017).
The fifth annual OGS is designed to provide information vital to organic growers and producers, including an overview of the opportunities and challenges in the production of organic fresh food.
In addition to the annual Grower of the Year Award, the other keynote presentation at OGS 2022 will be “Grower Roundtable: The State of Organic Growing,” moderated by Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers. Panelists for the keynote roundtable include Brie Reiter Smith, vice president of product leadership for Driscoll’s; Michael DuPuis, quality assurance and public relations coordinator for Divine Flavor; and Tom Nunes V, president of The Nunes Co. Featuring candid commentary, the thought-provoking keynote presentation will explore how these three leaders in organic production are dealing with hot-button topics, including supply chain issues, inflation, labor, new innovations and technologies.
Other educational sessions slated for OGS 2022 include:
- The Future of Ag Tech—Expanding On-Farm Profitability
- Regenerative Organic Marketing and Certification—What Lies Ahead?
- The Growth, Opportunities, and Future of CEA Production
- Get Ahead of the Curve and Avoid Regulatory Speedbumps
- Exploring Organic Research: A Discussion of Organic Grower Challenges and Solutions
- Less Chemistry and More Biology