The Alabama Farmers Federation recently welcomed a new member to its agricultural family – the Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (AFVGA).
Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan made the announcement July 28 at the organization’s 44th Commodity Producers Conference in Mobile.
“This is an exciting time for both organizations,” Pinyan said. “Fruit and vegetable production is growing rapidly in Alabama, and the impact this partnership will have on our members is immeasurable.”
AFVGA began in 1980 and is a nonprofit organization with members in 51 of Alabama’s 67 counties. AFVGA has about 200 members with anticipated growth thanks to its merger with the Federation.
Other goals include expanding educational programs for growers, promoting Alabama’s horticulture industry and increasing legislative and regulatory involvement on issues affecting specialty crop farmers.
AFVGA President John Aplin said his organization’s knowledge of specialty crops and the Federation’s large membership is mutually beneficial.
“Many fruit and vegetable farmers don’t know AFVGA exists,” said Aplin, who farms in Slocomb. “Partnering with the Federation brings more tangible benefits to our members and will hopefully increase membership in AFVGA.”
Federation Horticulture Division Director Mac Higginbotham said the mission of AFVGA parallels that of the Federation — to promote the agricultural industry and support Alabama farmers.
“There’s some overlap in membership between the organizations,” said Higginbotham, who became AFVGA executive director following the merger. “Together, we can accomplish more and strengthen the specialty crops industry as a unified voice.”
Higginbotham thanked the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) for its work with AFVGA. He said he wants to strengthen AFVGA’s relationship with ACES and state land grant universities through joint efforts on educational programs, field days and research variety trials.
“This partnership can only grow our organizations,” Higginbotham said. “It’s a win-win.”