Said Dave Sargent, a grower from Arkansas, USA during the opening Session of the SUMMIT 2012 in Madrid, Spain. His heartfelt message began with a special story.

Sargent Farms, located in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, specializes in yellow and zucchini squash, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, and grains. The 1,000+ acre farm has been GLOBALG.A.P. certified for three years, recently completing its third GLOBALG.A.P. Primary Farm Assurance (PFA) standard food safety audit. Owner Dave Sargent has found that this distinction allows him to sell his produce more easily. Today Dave farms 1,400 acres in Bentonville, Arkansas and supplies 1,600 Walmart Supercenters in the U.S.

As an army paratrooper serving his country in 1965, Dave Sargent survived a harrowing airplane crash, and yet the 72-years-old was so impressed by his experience with GLOBALG.A.P. that, for the first time in 47 years, he boarded a plane to share his passionate convictions with his fellow growers and the industry at large.

As the first to address the 400 plus SUMMIT 2012 attendees, Dave affirmed his commitment to GLOBALG.A.P.:

“I am very excited to be here. I am a farmer. That's what I love. That's what I've done all my life. I would like to say that GLOBALG.A.P. in my opinion as a farmer is the best thing that's ever happened to the industry. I think that all farmers benefit from GLOBALG.A.P. audits. I know I do. I take full advantage of it, I embrace it... I support GLOBALG.A.P. 100 percent. My love has always been produce. It's a challenge. We have to make sure on the farm that we do an excellent job, and GLOBALG.A.P. has helped us there immensely. We have 48 logs that we fill out everyday. When I looked back at those records, I realized that it's the greatest thing I've ever done. Now if anyone ever has a question about what I did and when I did it, I've got it. And for that, I'm grateful.“

Dave Sargent’s words wonderfully expressed the passion, effort and commitment farmers and growers are prepared to invest in order to achieve GLOBALG.A.P. Certification and produce safe and sustainable food to feed the planet and protect its resources.

On behalf of everyone at GLOBALG.A.P., we wish to thank Dave Sargent for his inspiring contribution and unforgettable presence at the SUMMIT.

You can watch Dave Sargent’s entire speech here 

GLOBALG.A.P.’s video coverage of the sessions and presentations at SUMMIT 2012 is available here.