Oct 11, 2023
Organic award recipient Rod Braga works ‘tirelessly’ for industry
Rod Braga, president and CEO of Braga Fresh, is the recipient of the sixth annual Grower of the Year Award, which will be presented at the Organic Grower Summit.
Braga was selected based on his ongoing commitment and dedication to excellence in organic production, organic industry leadership and innovation.
The Grower of the Year award, sponsored by AGCO, will be presented to Braga as part of the keynote presentation at the Organic Grower Summit, which is Nov. 29-30 in Monterey, California. The Grower of the Year presentation is part of an extensive educational program designed to inform and engage organic producers, their service providers and supply chain partners.
Matt Seeley, CEO of the Organic Produce Network, said Braga is “truly a grower’s grower.”
“His decades-long work exemplifies what hardworking, passionate organic farming means to the success of his family farm and to California agriculture,” Seeley said in a news release. “Rod has worked tirelessly to encourage natural methods for pest control, water conservation and always found ways to share information about those practices with other organic farmers.
“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.”
Braga grew up in his family’s multigenerational farming business, starting his first job on the home ranch when he was 8 years old. After graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California with a degree in business administration, he joined the company, now known as Braga Fresh, full time in 1990. Over the years, he’s helped it expand into today’s operation, which features multiple large-scale growing, processing and shipping locations in California.
Braga is a board member of the Western Growers Association and former board member of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California; he was a founding board member of Pacific Valley Bank in Monterey County and former board member of Natividad Hospital in Salinas, California.
The Grower of the Year award will be presented by Cale Sledge, regional sales director for AGCO. Previous winners of the award are Jeff Huckaby, CEO of Grimmway Farms (2022); Vic Smith, CEO of JV Smith Company (2021); the Lundberg Family (2019); Thaddeus Barsotti of Capay Organic (2018); and Vernon Peterson of Peterson Family Farms (2017).
The Organic Growers Summit is designed to provide information vital to organic growers and producers, including an overview of the opportunities and challenges in the production of organic fresh food.
Another keynote presentation at the event will be Grower Roundtable: The State of Organic Growing. Participants in the discussion will be announced later this month.
Educational sessions slated for OGS 2023 are:
• Strengthening Organic Enforcement Deadline Looms — Are You Ready?
• Understanding Evolving Production Challenges for Organic Growers
• Regenerative — What Does it Mean for Organic?
• Unlocking the Value of AI on the Digital Farming Journey
• Meet the Ag Sharks
• Roadmap to a Sustainable Pest Management Future for Organics
• How Organic Growers Are Using Ag Tech: Obstacles & Opportunities
The sold-out trade show floor will feature soil amendment, AgTech, food safety, packaging and equipment exhibitors who will have the opportunity to connect with organic field production staff, supply chain managers, pest management advisors and food safety experts.
For more information and to register for the summit, visit www.organicgrowersummit.com. Western Growers and the Organic Produce Network present the annual Organic Grower Summit.