The Organic Grower Summit Announces Vic Smith as 2021 Grower of the Year Award Recipient; Greg Milstead and Tonya Antle Comment
MONTEREY, CA - As industry members start fleshing out their plans and accommodations for the Organic Grower Summit (OGS), presented by Western Growers and the Organic Produce Network (OPN), the organizations are building excitement by honoring Vic Smith. The Chief Executive Officer of JV Smith Companies has been selected to receive the Grower of the Year award for his impact on the organic sector through leadership and innovation.
Smith has been overseeing all of JV Smith’s farming, packing, and cooling operations—including over 32,000 acres of vegetable production annually, of which half is grown organically—since 1991. He began his first organic operation in El Toro, San Luis, Mexico, and within a year had purchased an organic carrot operation in Colorado. Today, he farms a wide array of organic specialty crops that include Romaine, Iceberg, celery, mixed leaf, and spinach.
This year’s Grower of the Year award is sponsored by AGCO and will be presented to Smith as part of the Keynote Presentation at OGS, according to a press release. The Grower of the Year presentation is a key part of an extensive educational program designed to share insights with organic producers, their service providers, and supply chain partners.
“We are honored to present the annual Grower of the Year award to Vic Smith. Vic is truly a grower’s grower, and his decades-long work exemplifies what hardworking, passionate organic farming is all about,” said Greg Milstead, Director of Sales, Southwest Region for AGCO.
Past winners of the coveted award have included The Lundberg Family (2019); Thaddeus Barsotti of Capay Organic (2018); and Vernon Peterson of Peterson Family Farms (2017).
“Over the past three decades, Vic 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 farmers,” added Milstead. “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.”
OGS 2021 will be held December 1–2 at the Monterey Hyatt Conference Center in Monterey, California, with exhibition and general registration currently open, while the OGS trade show floor is sold out.
“In partnership with Western Growers, this year’s OGS will provide up-to-date resources and information to support the continued success of organic producers, with an emphasis on the role of ag technology,” said Tonya Antle, Co-Founder of the Organic Produce Network. “From seed to soil to harvest, our goal is to present the most relevant information on the most important subjects and issues facing organic production.”
Exhibitors at the show include companies involved with soil amendments, ag technology, food safety, packaging, and equipment connecting with organic field production staff, supply chain managers, pest control advisors, and food safety experts.
There will also be a host of in-depth educational sessions to further attendees’ knowledge about the current state of the organic sector.
Cheers to Vic Smith on earning this distinction!