Exclusive: Walt Dasher Discusses Key Retailer Contributions Made to the Growing America's Farmers Foundation

Exclusive: Walt Dasher Discusses Key Retailer Contributions Made to the Growing America's Farmers Foundation



INDIANAPOLIS, IN - The continuous cultural expansion we’ve experienced in the U.S. over the past few decades has significantly changed the way we farm. Not only has advanced technology shifted the way we work, but it has bred a new generation of people who aren’t accustomed to the slow-going process of watching a crop flourish. Many industry leaders like Walt Dasher of G&R Farms, for example, are becoming increasingly more aware of this, causing worry for the future of farming. The Growing America’s Farmers (GAF) program was created for this exact reason, with its number one goal being to draw young adults into the production ag division of farming. Walt teamed up with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization in order to implement the GAF program and begin educating the next generation of farmers.

Walt Dasher, Founder, Growing America's Farmers, and Co-Owner, G&R Farms“With the average age of American farmers getting older each year and our younger generation deciding on different career paths, my hope is that the retail sectors’ continued support of GAF will show the new era of American farmers that retailers and consumers really do care about the next generation of farmers and how and where our produce is grown,” Walt told me. “I continue to pray that more kids will choose to take over the family farming business or create new businesses of their own that can bring new products and ideas to our current marketplace within the retail sector.”

 In May of this year, several big-name retailers came together to generate more GAF scholarships than ever before

When I asked Walt what’s different about this year’s GAF program, he said there is more and more involvement from the retailer side of things, which shows that they are really starting to take hard looks at this program and how well it works. In May of this year, several big-name retailers came together to generate more GAF scholarships than ever before.

“The more companies help promote the cause, the more companies want to join the following year,” he continued. “We are going to be running the promotion in fall 2020 with a marketing company that wants to help generate funds using American produce items other than G&R sweet onions. The kids in FFA are so blessed to have consumers paying attention to this, the retailers help, and the national FFA foundation all pulling together for the same cause.”

At the end of this year’s GAF program back in August, Walt posed for a photo op at the FFA corporate office as he awarded the current scholarship recipients with a giant check

Companies that participated this year include:

  • Kroger–multiple divisions

  • Wakefern Companies

  • Harris Teeter

  • Roundy’s

  • Costco–multiple divisions

  • Sam’s–multiple divisions

  • Target Company

  • Safeway/Albertsons–multiple divisions

  • Jewel Stores

  • Wegmans

  • C&S–independent retailers

The GAF seed was first planted in Walt’s mind in 2015, and he has already seen the positive effects at work. He told me that GAF receives letter after letter from kids who won scholarships and wish to express their gratitude. It is a truly heart-warming thing to know that this awesome group effort is starting to make a difference in the lives of America’s youth.

The GAF seed was first planted in Walt’s mind in 2015, and he has already seen the positive effects at work

“Since the GAF program was created, we’ve started to see kids thinking twice about leaving their family businesses. I have really started to see some excitement amongst kids in the FFA applying for the GAF scholarships,” he said. “It gives the kids a chance to actually have discussions with retail partners about the whole produce industry from their perspective. I have really enjoyed getting to know all the winners of the scholarships and watching them interact with retailers at the in-store picture event. It really opens the kids’ eyes to see executives have one-on-one talks with them, allowing the kids to ask their questions.”

Walt teamed up with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization in order to implement the GAF program and begin educating the next generation of farmers

At the end of this year’s GAF program back in August, Walt posed for a photo op at the FFA corporate office as he awarded the current scholarship recipients with a giant check. Bravo to all the industry leaders who are fighting to preserve the culture of farming by educating America’s youth.

Keep reading AndNowUKnow as we report on how produce continues to evolve.

Growing America's Farmers Foundation G&R Farms



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G&R Farms

We have a sense of pride each and every day to cultivate the best sweet onions year-round and have grown to become a world...