Farm Foundation Names Innovator of the Year at 90th Anniversary Gala

Fifth-generation farmer Philip “PJ” Haynie III was named the 2023 Farm Foundation Innovator of the Year at the Farm Foundation 90th Anniversary Gala in Chicago. The focus of the Farm Foundation Innovator of the Year Award is to recognize those change makers that are an integral part to solving some of the most influential challenges we face today in the agriculture and food industries. The award was announced live at the gala, which took place on June 15, 2023, at The Drake. 

Philip PJ Haynie receiving the Farm Foundation Innovator of the Year Award at the Farm foundation 90th Anniversary Gala.
Philip “PJ” Haynie accepting the Innovator of the Year Award at the Farm Foundation 90th Anniversary Gala. Also pictured are Farm Foundation Board Chair Dan Basse and Farm Foundation President and CEO Shari Rogge-Fidler.

Haynie owns and operates Haynie Farms, LLC, a grain farming business, producing corn, wheat, soybeans and canola throughout all four counties of the Northern Neck of Virginia. He also farms rice in Arkansas and owns Arkansas River Rice Mill, the only Black-owned rice mill in the country and which utilizes leading innovative processing technology. Haynie and his family own and operate a transportation company specializing in food grade liquid bulk and dry bulk transportation, a timber harvesting company as well as a landscaping and excavating company.  He currently serves as chairman of the National Black Growers’ Council. 

The award, which originated through a public nomination process, recognizes Haynie’s constantly growing entrepreneurial spirit on his fifth-generation farm, his continued advocacy for farmers, and his willingness to delve into new agricultural business ventures. His service as chairman of the board for the National Black Growers Council has elevated that organization into a well-respected resource that has been instrumental in promoting technology adoption, providing assistance in USDA program utilization, and increasing grower awareness for marketing and risk management programs.   

“We had some remarkable people and organizations nominated for our inaugural Innovator Award, but from the start, PJ stood out as someone whose ideas and accomplishments were having significant impact across so many important parts of the food and ag sector,” says Farm Foundation Vice President of External Relations Tim Brennan.   

The Innovator of the Year award concludes the 2023 slate of Farm Foundation’s awards, which also includes the R.J. Hildreth Public Policy Award, the Transformational Leadership Award, and the Emerging Leader Award. The recipients of those awards were announced prior to the gala, with the recipients recognized and the awards presented at the gala. 

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