By Clint Thompson
The new executive vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) hopes to continue the success the previous leader sustained for 25 years.
Chris Butts has big shoes to fill when he takes over for Charles Hall as the new leader of the GFVGA on Dec. 1. But he believes the infrastructure is already in place to continue making the GFVGA a leading voice in the vegetable and specialty crop industry.
“Part of the allure of coming to the (Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association) was the team that’s here. They make it easy. My hope is that we can build on everything that Charles has done, not just in the fruit and vegetable industry but for all of Ag. The connections are there. The foundation is there. Our job is to continue serving those folks. I think we’ve got the right team to do it, and I’m excited to take it on,” Butts said. “The good news is Charles, he’s not riding off into the sunset. He’ll still be around. He’s been a great help already. I’m sure he will continue to be.”
Hall announced his semi-retirement in October. He will continue to serve in an advisory role and help with special projects.
Challenging Time for Producers
Butts, who joined the organization as director of public affairs, is familiar with the challenges farmers currently face and must be addressed if the producers are to stay sustainable in the future.
“The good news is we’ve been working on these issues for years. I’m looking at it on two fronts. We’ve got everything from inflation to input costs to supply chain challenges that are killing our guys on their cost side. All of that is going up. It’s getting harder to do business. There’s more regulation and greater cost,” Butts said. “On the revenue side, trade and imports continue to drive those prices down. You add the two of those together and that’s not a sustainable future. We’ve got to address both.”