Neglected Research, Future Growers Top Of Mind For 2015 Citrus Achievement Award Winner

Neglected Research, Future Growers Top Of Mind For 2015 Citrus Achievement Award Winner

This Q&A is the first installment of six featuring the 2015 Florida Grower® Citrus Achievement AwardSM winner Orie Lee, owner of Lee Groves in St. Cloud.

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Orie Lee, 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winnerQ: What advice would you give to young growers or others involved in the citrus industry?

A: As I get older, I joke the less I know about more and more. But I will provide this advice. My answer also is colored by the consideration of the consolidation and ownership of groves and processing facilities. This has impacted the fact that the opportunities are not the same in this industry as it was 20 years ago.

Having said that, I would tell a young person interested in citrus as a career to pursue as much education as possible, concentrating on a major in business and/or accounting and a minor in horticulture. Production knowledge is worth nothing without business and accounting skills. And, I would recommend pursuing an internship or apprenticeship with a government agency involved with some facet of the citrus industry.

Q: Is there any area of citrus research that you believe more investigation should be applied?

A: While there is no question, greening is the biggest challenge we have ever faced, I have spent much of my research career trying to sponsor and encourage more blight study. Unfortunately, I suspect my career will end without much help on that front.

Blight has never been a sexy research topic. People have tried and failed. Speaking as a grower, we really don’t have good management solutions for blight today.

Special thanks to Arysta LifeScience for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award.