Greg Kugel Named to 40 Under 40 Class of 2022

Name

Greg Kugel

Company/Organization

Greg Kugel Farms

ADVERTISEMENT
Your content continues below

What Does Your Company/Organization Do?

At Kugel Farms, LLC, we manage daily operations in the apple and peach orchards as well as the grape vineyards. After graduating from Michigan State University I returned to the farm and am in the process of switching over older apple blocks to more efficient high density orchards getting ready for robotic picking.

Age

25

Accomplishments

  • High School Sports Honors, including All-State Academic in Baseball
  • Agronomist for Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • Launched 150-acre grain operation
  • Fruit & Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2021

What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?

Continue to work my hardest and put the hours in on my farming operations which I love. Still learning the business world, but trying to make my mark.

Education

  • Berrien Springs High School Grad
  • Associates in Tree Fruit Management from Michigan State University

Residence

Berrien Springs, MI

Where were you born?

Berrien Springs, MI

What was your first job?

At the age of 12, I was already selling apples to the public from our farm stand with my grandmother.

Best advice you ever got?

Never let off the gas. Push harder!

Who inspires you most?

I think if you aspire to be like someone else, you’re setting an end goal, a ceiling that you’re comfortable with, and I don’t want to have an end goal, and don’t want to have a place I’m comfortable in…because I want to keep going.

That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.

I am always honored to be recognized for how hard I work, but at the same time, I love my job and what I do and that’s always more important to me than the whole world knowing what I do!

What do you love to do in your downtime?

Work on my house. I love drag cars and tractor pulls and spending time with my girlfriend, dog and family and friends.

What book are you reading now?

In prime harvest season, there’s little time to pick up any form of reading other than a market report on ag prices!

What motivates you to give back to your community?

I grew up my whole life on the farm, starting at the farm stand and transitioning at the age of 13 to working in the fields on my free time. I also started working for my neighbors at the Chicago Farmers Market three times a week. I played four years of sports at Berrien Springs High School and received honors every year. All through high school I worked on the farm at nights and on weekends as well as farmers markets while I attended school and played sports. In college, I began working as an agronomist while also working full time for my dad on the farm and helping with welding for my best friend’s dad’s shop. At that same time I was also helping cousins with corn harvest and starting my own 150 acre grain operation. I still do all of those jobs today, although I gave up grain and now rent apple trees and grape vines on the side from my dad’s main operation. I own Greg Kugel Farms, which is aside from Kugel Farms, LLC. We are currently in the biggest apple crop that Michigan has seen in 15-years, and have never had as large a crew as we have right now, currently fielding 35 guys. I’ve been operating 120 to 130 hours a week for nearly two months straight now. This community has been of immeasurable value to me and my entire family, and we love giving back through quality fruit and produce every day.

What Superpower would you most love to have? (for example, the ability to fly or to be invisible, or incredible strength, etc)

The simple ability to slow down time and be in far more than one place at a time.

What would you like to leave behind as your legacy once you are gone?

As a 4th generation farmer in my family, I hope that my legacy is to continue to make Michigan’s Great Southwest a major leader in feeding the nation and the world. Whether good or bad, I’ve always wanted to be known as the kid who worked the hardest, put the hours in and made change in the agriculture community to keep American farmers at the top level on a global scale.

What does the honor of being named to the 40 Under 40 most mean to you?

I am very honored to be a part of the 40 Under 40 as well as other awards I’ve received this year, but I guess I got here because I will do whatever it takes to keep the business running at 110-percent even if it means missing out on certain opportunities. Thank you!