Dec 9, 20202020 Great Lakes EXPO award winners announced
Gene Kokx of Eugene Kokx and Sons Farms in Hart has been named recipient of the 2020 Master Farmer Award by the Michigan Vegetable Council. This award is presented annually to an individual or farm business actively engaged in vegetable production in Michigan. It recognizes well managed and innovative farming practices, as well as leadership roles in industry and community organizations and support of vegetable crop research.
Gene’s farm is fourth generation. Long ago the farm was dairy and potatoes but has been focused on processed asparagus and zucchini squash in recent years. Gene’s wife Theresa is part of the farm operation along with Gene’s father, Gene Sr.
Gene knows what it takes to be an innovative farmer. The farm practices minimum till as much as possible and includes lots of cover crops. Grain is often mixed in as a rotational crop to keep the fields healthy. Gene has been a leader in sharing his knowledge with others and often allows research to take place on his farm.
Gene has been involved in the asparagus industry his whole career. He has helped make the industry what it is today by serving 9 years on the Michigan Vegetable Council, 10 years on the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, and 25 years on the Michigan Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Association. The Michigan Vegetable Council hopes to find a candidate for our award every year that can be as qualified and dedicated as Gene Kokx.
Ron Goldy – Master Farmer Associate Award
Ron Goldy has been named recipient of the 2020 Master Farmer Associate Award by the Michigan Vegetable Council. This award is presented annually to an individual or business actively supporting the vegetable production industry in Michigan. It recognizes leadership roles in industry and community organizations and support of vegetable crop research.
Ron is a senior extension educator for Michigan State University Extension. Ron has a unique appointment as he serves 50% extension and 50% research at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center. Ron had a wide range of agricultural experiences in his youth. This has led Ron to having a vast array while at MSU whether it be working with vegetable producers, fruit producers, or farm marketers.
Besides performing extension work on fresh market vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers, Ron performs research beneficial to these same growers. Ron has provided the industry with research on irrigation that has helped growers keep nutrients in the right place on the sandy southwest soil.
The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo would not be what it is today without Ron Goldy. Ron leads numerous education sessions on both vegetable and farm market topics. Ron has been a leader of the farm market section of the Expo. Each year Ron takes the farm market guests on a bus tour to numerous west Michigan farm markets. Ron makes sure to get to the places that have the latest innovations in agritourism. The Michigan Vegetable Council would not be the successful organization which it is today without the services of Ron Goldy.
Photo at top: Gene Kokx of Eugene Kokx and Sons Farms in Hart.