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Apple growers elect 2014 president

Jerred Nix was re-elected president of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association during the organization's Winter Apple School on Feb. 5.

A fourth generation farmer from Edneyville and graduate of N.C. State University, Nix works with his father, Jeff, on orchards covering about 100 acres.
The Apple Growers Association also honored Larry Henderson of Dana as Grower of the Year; Jim Robinson, a fruit buyer with Michigan-based Peterson Farms, as Friend of the Apple Industry; and Keith Moss of Edneyville as Lifetime Ashievement Award winner.
JerredNixJerred NixOther officers elected were Jerry Ellis, vice president; Lola Coston, secretary; and Dawn Creasman, treasurer. Directors for 2014-15 are Jason Blackwell, Trey Enloe, Mathew Hoots, Don J.W. Justus, Randy Newman and Adam Pryor.
Growers and friends of apple farming the industry lost in 2013 were BRAG members Reid McConnell (1927-2013) and Ronald Lamb (1936-2013) and Marvin Stodghill (1927-2013), a master pomologist who volunteered in the apple industry for more than 20 years; and Tom Moore (1931-2013), a dairy farmer and partner in Moore Brothers Farm and Moore Brothers Farm Supply in Mills River.
Keynote speaker Cordell Watt, the 2013 Virginia Apple Grower of the Year, told his fellow apple farmers that he grows 25 different varieties of apples and follows a business approach that puts the buyer first.
"We're looking at how much money per acre we can return to the farm," he said. "It's not all about yield."

He has planted Mutsus, Jonagolds and other varieties that he considers "northern varieties."
"I grow apples I don't want to grow but I grow what my customers want," he said. "We're trying to deal with the chain stores, farm markets and the export markets. These people will pay what I consider to be a good price if you give them a good product."