IFG is devoted to revolutionizing cherries as we know them. Thanks to our latest world class developments and committed cherry team, we are offering an exceptional level of expertise and service to match our remarkable product selection. Our program develops low – high chill varieties that become adaptable to more regions around the world which will expand global cherry production.
Traditionally, a lot of chill hours are required to grow a great cherry - but IFG is changing that. Marketers in South America and South Africa are already very excited about our "low chill" cherry varieties. Until now, most cherry trees have required 800-1000 hours of temperatures ranging from 35° to 42° Fahrenheit. IFG has created varieties of cherries that need less than half that much.
IFG has over 50 cherry selections on test. These selections include both traditional dark red types and new blush types. They were selected for having very few doubled fruits, combined with large size, firmness and flavor. Many exhibited very little cracking after severe rains.
We are continuing our evaluations to determine which will consistently produce outstanding fruit especially in the warmest areas of cherry growing regions. We already have successful commercial plantings in several countries such as Chile, South Africa, Spain and Australia with ten of our protected varieties.
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As the CEO of IFG, Andy Higgins brings over 25 years of executive leadership experience to the company. His expertise in managing global, agricultural intellectual property companies is extensive. His mission at IFG is to realize the full potential of company developed fruit varieties. In addition, Andy is vigilant in defending and protecting all intellectual property assets, including trademarks and patents. He achieves these objectives through development of strong teams that are focused on improving the results of its licensees.
Before joining IFG in 2016, Andy served as president of International Master Products Corporation for three years. Previous to that, Andy was CEO of Ecke Ranch, a global agricultural company engaged in the breeding and production of numerous species of ornamental plants. Over his career, Andy has held numerous executive, production, sales and operational positions. He holds a B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture and a Graduate Certificate in Management from UCLA.
Van Kramer is the Chief Financial Officer at IFG. With more that 30 years of financial management experience, Van brings with him an extensive background in finance, accounting, financial planning, budgeting and analysis for food industry companies. Previously Van served as the CFO for California Dairies, Inc. with over $3B in revenue it is the second largest dairy cooperative in the US. Here he led the finance, IT and risk management teams of the company through a company restructure/relocation project, the implementation of a new company wide ERP system, the refinancing of the organizations $500M line of credit as well a major acquisition.
Van is a CPA and holds an MBA in finance from the Leeds School of Business University of Colorado Boulder, and has an undergraduate degree in accounting from the same institution. In his down time, Van and his wife Sheila enjoy traveling and exploring the great outdoors with their two dogs.
Chris Owens has been with IFG since 2016 and is now the Lead Plant Breeder, directing the development of improved varieties of table grapes and sweet cherries. He also directs IFG’s research and development efforts supporting the breeding program, including post harvest evaluations, plant pathology, and genetics. Chris interacts closely with the international technical and commercial teams with the goals to accelerate the adoption and maximize the success of IFG’s new varieties.
Chris holds a BS in Horticulture from the University of Maryland, an MS in Pomology from Cornell University, and a PhD in Plant Breeding & Genetics from Michigan State University. Prior to IFG, Chris spent more than 20 years in germplasm development, breeding, and genetics of both grapevines and cherries. The author of numerous book chapters and scientific articles, he has presented research results at national and international conferences and served on professional societies’ advisory committees.
Giancarlo Mazzini is the Variety Strategy Manager at IFG where he plays an important role in future market analysis, business performance, strategic planning and execution. He leads the Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) and New Product Development (NPD) processes and teams. He manages the varieties’ lifecycle roadmap of the products outlining the end to end vision. He also plays a key role in global forecasting, business intelligence and data integration. Previously Giancarlo worked for almost 3 years as Latin America Regional Manager at IFG establishing the organization and protocols for the region.
Giancarlo holds a BS in Information Engineering and is finishing an Executive MBA from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He worked with significant companies in Peru as Operations Manager, including Agricola Chapi and Sociedad Agricola Viru , for both fresh and processed produce. Before venturing into agribusiness, he worked for 8 years in multinational industry leaders including Tetra Pak, Owens Illinois and Procter & Gamble where he held Sales and Marketing management positions.
Jennifer Maguire has been a part of the IFG team since 2017, first managing the commercial business in Australia and now leading the global Commercial Team in licensing support and growth initiatives, execution of varietal strategies, product launches, promotional efforts and operational plans.
Jennifer holds a BS in Agriculture Systems and Environment and a MS in Horticulture from the University of California, Davis. Her experience in table grape production, research and development spans more than 20 years. She is a former Viticulture Farm Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension and following her relocation to Australia in 2011, she provided independent consultancy services to table grape growers, fruit breeding companies, industry associations and university partnerships in Australia, S. America and Europe and is an organizing member of the 6 th and 7 th International Table Grape Symposium.
Tersia Marcos, or better known in some regions of the world as Christina, is the International Business Manager for IFG and is responsible for new business development of IFG’s table grapes and cherries worldwide.
As the lead for the IFG’s international development, her goal is to drive key strategies in developing new territories, variety offers, product roadmaps, forecasting modules and inventory planning and marketing strategies to ensure a flawless execution at regional and country levels.
Tersia brings to this position a well established background and network in the global fresh fruit industry. Prior to taking on this position at IFG at the start of 2013, she spent 20+ years in the fresh fruit export sector in South Africa at Unifruco , which became Capespan after deregulation and later at Colors Fruit as New Business Development Director and Marketing & Sales Director and Managing Director: North Africa at Farmsecure Holdings.
She holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. Agriculture degrees from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.