Nine specialty crop industry professionals were honored on Jan. 8 at the 2022 Annual Awards Breakfast at the 2022 Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference.
“We love recognizing outstanding members of the Southeast produce industry during the Awards Breakfast,” said Drew Echols, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, GFVGA, President. “These men and women are an integral part of the specialty crop industry, and we could not do what we do as growers without their support.”
Excellence in Extension
Jake Price, University of Georgia Extension Agent, was nominated by GFVGA Board Member and Georgia Citrus Association President, Lindy Savelle.
“Jake goes above and beyond what is required to promote the citrus industry in Georgia,” said Savelle. “He makes himself available to all growers interested in citrus, not just those within his county.”
The Donnie H. Morris Award of Excellence in Extension was established by the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, GFVGA, to recognize University of Georgia Cooperative Extension personnel for their important contribution to Georgia fruit and vegetable operations.
2021 Mr. Peach
The South Carolina Peach Council is proud to award Sonny Yonce the title of Mr. Peach for 2021 because of his many contributions and years dedicated to the SC peach industry. Sonny returned to his family farm in 1969 following a successful coaching career in Greenwood, South Carolina. He oversaw packaging, production, sales, trucking, and Integrated Pest Management before he retired from JW Yonce and Sons Farm, which has been providing top-quality peaches for almost 100 years. He has also served the SC Peach Council since its inception, and they are grateful for all the work he has done. Because of COVID last year, the Council decided to recognize him at this year’s in-person conference. The award was presented on January 8th by Ginny Gohagan, executive director of the South Carolina Peach Council.
Southeast Farmer of the Year
Robert “Bob” Hall, is the owner of Bush-N-Vine Farm, a fruit and vegetable operation. Hall began his farming career forty-one years ago on land that’s been in his family for 150 years.
He started Bush-N-Vine Farm with seventy-five acres and converted the old 1930s peach packing shed into a retail market stand in York which, over the years, has served us well. Bush-N-Vine Farm’s land under cultivation has doubled since the early 1980s and now supports three direct marketing fruit stands. He grows peaches, melons, blackberries, blueberries and a variety of vegetables.
The Southeast Farmer of the Year is awarded to an outstanding grower from one of the 17 co-sponsoring states of the Sunbelt Ag Expo.
40 Under 40
Angelos Deltsidis is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia – Tifton in the Department of Horticulture, where he specializes in post-harvest physiology of fresh produce. His research focuses on extending the shelf-life and improving the marketable quality of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Albolfazl Hajihassani is an assistant professor of nematology specializing in vegetable research at the University of Georgia – Tifton where his current work is focused on identifying and controlling plant-parasitic nematodes that damage Georgia vegetable crops.
Corey Harmon is a second-generation farmer and current vegetable manager at Titans Farm, where he has worked since 2015. Harmon takes great pride in trying to advance the vegetable program through trial partnerships with the mindset of a more sustainable future for agriculture.
Ashley Hoppers, an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent with the University of Georgia, began her career in 2017 in Liberty County Georgia where she has been involved in nearly a dozen applied research projects.
Clark MacAllister is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent with the University of Georgia in Dawson and Lumpkin counties, where he works extensively with the Georgia wine grape industry, as well as with a wide range of fruit and vegetable producers. He also manages the local farmers' market.
Kimberly Post is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent in Lanier and Clinch counties with the University of Georgia. She works closely with UGA specialists on disease surveillance and on-farm trials for blueberry and blackberry producers.
Sedrick Rowe, first-generation owner and operator of Rowe Organic Farms in Albany, Georgia. He is one of only three certified organic peanut growers in Georgia and was the first licensed organic hemp grower in 2020.