By Clint Thompson
Conferences like this week are needed for the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA) to grow and increase its stature in the Southeast. Not only does it allow university specialists from across the region to provide intel on various fruits and vegetables, it also brings producers together.
They can share what is working on their farm and be an encouragement during the current challenging agricultural landscape.
That’s what Blake Thaxton, executive director of the AFVGA, is taking away following this week’s meeting.
“We love our people at the universities and Extension. The innovation that comes out of there is crucial, but I firmly believe that the biggest innovations come on the farm. They’re practical and if you study any other Ag industry, it always starts with a couple of people. Those couple of people can spread ideas, and these networking events helps spread those ideas even further. That gives the university Extension folks ideas to build off of. That’s what we hope to accomplish here, give a venue for that to naturally happen.
“The educational sessions are important and they’re going to gain information from those, but really the networking that is done at the tradeshow with the farmer-to-farmer interaction is really what helps build the industry.”
The conference started Thursday and concludes Friday at The Lodge at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Attendees from Alabama, Florida and Georgia shared and learned about the latest news in the association and trends impacting the specialty crop industry.
“We’re very excited with the attendance that we have. We just finished up our general business meeting and probably had our best attendance we’ve ever had,” Thaxton said.