Jul 8, 2020
40 Under 40 Class of 2020 announced by VGN, FGN

Vegetable Growers News and Fruit Growers News magazines have announced the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2020 – a group of exceptional agriculture professionals nominated by their peers for the impressive accomplishments of their young careers.

The Class of 2020 will be honored at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, and will be featured in the October 2020 issues of both publications.

Launched in 2017, the 40 Under 40 Awards represent a broad spectrum of industry professionals, from growers and farm market operators, to Extension agents and industry suppliers. The selected young professionals have already left a substantial impact on their individual businesses and the specialty agriculture industry.

“The Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2020 represents the future of our industry, and this year’s group demonstrates a strong foundation for leadership and innovation,” said Specialty Ag Group Publisher Gerry Bogdon. “In their young careers, these honorees are already making a positive impact that will be felt for generations to come.”

The 2020 honorees are:

  1. Drew Afton, Specialist, Agri Supplier Development, Nestle Gerber
  2. Nathan Bender, Chief Operating Officer, Tasteful Selections
  3. Kevin Bittner, Pomology Specialist, Bittner Singer Orchards
  4. Brett Blaauw, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, The University of Georgia and Clemson University
  5. Cory Blumerick, Senior Crop Insurance Specialist, GreenStone Farm Credit Service
  6. Hannah Burrack, Professor & Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University
  7. Dario Chavez, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia
  8. Susan Colucci, Technical Sales Representative II, HM Clause, Inc.
  9. Rob Glover, Farm Owner/Farmer, Rob Glover Farms, LLC
  10. Wenjing Guan, Clinical/Engagement Assistant Professor, Purdue University
  11. Charlie Hamilton, PCA, CCA, QAL, Graper Grower, Grow West, Inc. & Pressley Ranches, LLC
  12. Creela Hamlin, Co-owner, Lake Michigan Berry, LLC
  13. Trevor Hardy, Farm Supplies Manager, Systems Engineer & Assistant Crop Production Manage, Brookdale Fruit Farm Inc.
  14. Zachary Hayden, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, Michigan State University
  15. Shannon Higginbotham, Farmer, Cheyenne’s Road Market
  16. Benjamin Keim, Field Operations Manager, Keim Orchards
  17. Andrea Kirchoff, Operations Supervisor/Food Safety Specialist, Tim Campbell Farm, LLC
  18. Aaron Libby, Owner, Libby & Son U-Picks
  19. Amy Metrick, Farm Partner/4-H Extension Educator, Metrick’s Harvest View Farm & Market/Penn State Extension
  20. Kari Molter, Co-owner, Molter Produce
  21. Justin Morgan, Vice President, Dairy Doo
  22. Melissa Morlock, Co-owner, J.W. Morlock and Girls, LLC
  23. Nick Oomen, Owner, Oomen Brothers, Inc.
  24. Felipe Pacheco, Agricultural Specialist, Georgia Department of Labor
  25. Josh Pagura, Farmer/Operations Manager, Pagura Farms LLC/Slocum Farms LLC
  26. Emily Pochubay, Tree Fruit IPM Educator, Michigan State University
  27. John Price, Manager, Archlynn Farm
  28. Steve Rachut, Grower, Steve’s Sweet Corn and Produce/Kittleson Brothers
  29. Jordan Rasch, Orchard management, Green Tree Orchards
  30. Sarah Reel, Grower/Crop Consultant, Double R Farm & Reynolds Farm Equipment
  31. Don Seifrit, Extension Educator – Tree Fruit, Penn State Extension
  32. Darren Sinn, NW Business Management, Berry Fresh
  33. Ben Sklarczyk, CEO, COO, Sklarczyk Seed Farms
  34. Ben Smith, Executive Secretary and Farmer, Michigan State Horticulture Society
  35. Laurie Swanson, Assistant Operations Manager/Labor Coordinator, Great Lakes Ag Labor Services, LLC
  36. Nicolas Tipper, Director of Research and Development, Application Insight, LLC
  37. Ariana Torres, Assistant Professor, Purdue University
  38. Kyle Wafler, Operations, Wafler Nursery
  39. Yi Wang, Assistant Professor Horticultural Sciences, University of Wisconsin Madison
  40. Margaret Worthington, Assistant Professor/Fruit Breeding and Genetics, University of Arkansas, Department of Horticulture

The 2020 Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Awards are sponsored by AgBiome, BioWorks, Corteva Agriscience, FMC and Stokes Seeds. For more information about each member of the Class of 2020, visit https://fruitgrowersnews.com/40under40 or https://vegetablegrowersnews.com/40under40. Nominations for the Class of 2021 will be available online, at www.fruitgrowersnews.com and www.vegetablegrowersnews.com, beginning in December with a nomination deadline of March 15, 2021.


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