Daniel R. Richey Is A Master Motivator

In Growers' Own Words“Be silent as to services you have rendered, but speak of favors you have received.”

These words from the ancient Roman philosopher and politician Seneca seems to be embodied in Riverfront Packing chief executive officer Daniel R. Richey. Always quick to defer accolade and promote the deeds of his predecessors, Richey speaks with an energetic humility and understands his place in Florida citrus was made possible by those who have come before him.

“Throughout history, the industry has been filled with people of character and pure guts,” Richey says. “We [the younger generation] have an obligation to those before us to take the mantle of leadership in citrus and continue the success. The truth is, though, we don’t hold a candle to the men and women who have already blazed the trail.”

A Different Path

Richey’s appreciation for those past leaders is even more impressive in that, before 1981, he was completely unaware of any of them.

“I’m a [New] Jersey Shore guy,” he says. “When I came to Florida, I didn’t know the difference between an orange and a grapefruit.”

He did, however, know how to hit a fastball.

“I went to Florida Southern College on a baseball scholarship,” he says. “I played second base and really loved the game. I still do.

“But, I found something I love even more.”

Richey is speaking, of course, about his wife, Audrey, who he met while in college. As the daughter of Victor Knight, a longtime Indian River grower and packer, Audrey certainly knew the difference between the fruit.

“After I realized I wasn’t going further in baseball — mainly because I couldn’t hit a big-league curve ball — I started learning about the citrus industry through her,” Richey says. “After college, I taught physical education for a while before taking a job with my new father-in-law.

“The rest is history.”

From The Ground Up

Today, Richey is the chief executive officer of the Vero Beach-based growing, harvesting, and packing company. But, he says, he did not start out behind a desk.

“I worked in the groves when I started out here,” he says. “I did everything from preparing a field, to planting trees, to digging irrigation lines, to picking fruit. I think those early jobs gave me the perfect knowledge base to do what I do now.

“Even though I wanted to move up faster and do a lot of things my way, my father-in-law always kept me going at the right pace. I learned a lot from all of the industry leaders during that time, which helped make me who I am.

“The biggest lesson I learned was that it doesn’t matter what you think you know, it only matters how hard you are willing to work.”

Even in the early stages of his career, Richey made sure he got to industry and association meetings, to both learn about the business and the growers who modeled activism.

“My brother-in-law [Victor Knight Jr.] really mentored me about the importance of staying involved beyond your own business,” Richey admits. “I watched as growers not only debated issues, but went out and made things happen. That was what stood out for me.”

Building Relationships

Richey says it is not only important that growers stay active outside their own fences, but necessary.

“The citrus industry has been so great to me,” he says. “It’s my passion. I have been given the wonderful opportunity to serve my industry in a number of ways. And, while it means working nights and weekends, it is my responsibility to give back to the industry that gives so much to me.

“I think every grower feels the same way.”

Beyond that, however, Richey says staying involved in the industry equates to individual success.

“If the industry thrives, we all thrive,” he says.

Richey says that the key to success in citrus — or any business — is building relationships, both up and down the chain of command.

“People are, by far, the most valuable asset any business or industry has,” he says. “I know a lot of people say that, but I truly believe it. I make it a point to personally know everyone who works for me.

“These people not only have a vested interest in the success of the business, but they are my family. I like to think I treat them as such.”

Those who know Richey would agree.

“Richey is a great example of someone that is always available to work for the betterment of the Florida citrus industry,” says Duke Chadwell, a Lakeland grower and fellow citrus commissioner. “He has always been there for our industry and his employees and will continue to shoulder more than his share of the responsibility. He cares deeply about the welfare of the Florida citrus industry and every man and woman who works at Riverfront Packing.”

Making A Difference

To say Richey is active in the industry would be an understatement. During his 25 years in the industry, he has served as chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, president of the Florida Citrus Packers, chairman and president of the Indian River Citrus League, secretary/treasurer of the Citrus Administrative Committee, member and director of HESCO, is an active member of Florida Citrus Mutual, the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, and served as the co-chairman of the Florida Citrus Canker Technical Advisory Committee. He was also instrumental in the development of the Citrus Health Response Plan (CHRP).

“Even though I’ve spent a lot of time on industry issues, I always feel I could do more,” Richey says. “I know the men and women who came before me worked tirelessly, and I hope I can carry on the legacy.”

The industry involvement and hard work Richey puts forth on behalf of his fellow growers is not lost on those he serves.

“Richey has and is currently spending countless hours working for growers and shippers of fresh Florida citrus to ensure the fresh side of the business remains viable,” Chadwell says. “He is a true beacon in Florida citrus right now.”

Richey lives in Vero Beach with his wife, Audrey. The couple have three children: Jacqueline, Jessica, and Tyler. And, while his children are following career paths outside of citrus, Richey says the future of the industry belongs to the younger generation.

“There are a lot of young growers, researchers, and allied members in citrus right now,” he says. “It’s up to us to make sure we lead the industry like its forefathers have.”

And what does the future of Florida citrus look like, according to Richey?

“In 10 years, citrus is going to be a very different industry,” he says. “We will have to be smarter than ever before about our production practices, marketing techniques, and legislative activism.

“But, we will make it. The future will be a good one for Florida citrus.”

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
CitrusFarm Bureau Supports Bill To Halt Controversial WOTUS Rule
April 21, 2015
 Legislation would force EPA and the U.S. Army of Engineers to withdraw Waters of the United States proposal. Read More
CitrusRecord Number Of Organic Producers In U.S.
April 21, 2015
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services says domestic production has increased by 250% across all markets since 2002. Read More
Captain Citrus running through an orange grove
CitrusFlorida Citrus Gaining Leverage For Next Growth Spurt
April 21, 2015
Amid the battles, moments of real and sustainable hope have emerged this season. Read More
citrus black spot symptoms
Insect & Disease UpdateCitrus Black Spot Rears Its Ugly Head Again In Southwest Florida
April 20, 2015
Recent confirmed findings of the fungal malady forces USDA-APHIS to expand regulated area. Read More
Natalie Parkell and Kevin Osburn of Vertical Horizon Farms
CitrusSmall Family Farms Can Survive [Opinion]
April 17, 2015
It is reassuring amid the corporate climate the agriculture industry has experienced in more recent times that there is still room for the little guy, and — more importantly — a need. Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusMore Social Commentators Changing Their Views On GMO Crops
April 15, 2015
Could public opinion be swayed by evolving narration on genetic modification? Read More
CitrusFlorida Agriculture Rings Up Record $4.2 Billion In International Sales
April 13, 2015
Accomplishment represents third year in a row that Sunshine State exports have topped the $4 billion mark. Read More
The Latest
Havana, Cuba view
CitrusRenewed Relations With Cuba A Concern For Florida Growe…
April 23, 2015
It might be said Sunshine State producers are worried if wider trade is opened as the potential for competing winter crops is real. Read More
CitrusFarm Bureau Supports Bill To Halt Controversial WOTUS R…
April 21, 2015
 Legislation would force EPA and the U.S. Army of Engineers to withdraw Waters of the United States proposal. Read More
CitrusRecord Number Of Organic Producers In U.S.
April 21, 2015
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services says domestic production has increased by 250% across all markets since 2002. Read More
Captain Citrus running through an orange grove
CitrusFlorida Citrus Gaining Leverage For Next Growth Spurt
April 21, 2015
Amid the battles, moments of real and sustainable hope have emerged this season. Read More
Natalie Parkell and Kevin Osburn of Vertical Horizon Farms
CitrusSmall Family Farms Can Survive [Opinion]
April 17, 2015
It is reassuring amid the corporate climate the agriculture industry has experienced in more recent times that there is still room for the little guy, and — more importantly — a need. Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusMore Social Commentators Changing Their Views On GMO Cr…
April 15, 2015
Could public opinion be swayed by evolving narration on genetic modification? Read More
CitrusFlorida Agriculture Rings Up Record $4.2 Billion In Int…
April 13, 2015
Accomplishment represents third year in a row that Sunshine State exports have topped the $4 billion mark. Read More
Florida citrus packinghouse
CitrusLatest Florida Orange Crop Outlook Puts Brakes On Downw…
April 9, 2015
Updated numbers from USDA reveal count continuing to hover just above the 100 million box mark. Read More
CitrusForecasters Predict Historically Weak Atlantic Hurrican…
April 9, 2015
Extended range outlook cites El Niño as culprit in what could be one of the least active seasons in recent memory. Read More
One World Challenge Wall
CitrusToday’s Youth Set To Sustain The World [Opinion]
April 9, 2015
A select group of University of Florida students are thinking of innovative ways to meet the challenges of supporting 9+ billion people on Earth by 2050. Read More
Summer Foley, Miss Florida Citrus 2015
Citrus6 Questions With Miss Florida Citrus 2015
April 7, 2015
Pageant's much-anticipated comeback brings with it a breath of fresh air. Read More
non-gmo label leafy greens
CitrusNational Farmers Union Supports Mandatory GMO Labeling
April 3, 2015
Organization calls on Congress for unified standards to bridge several pending labeling proposals. Read More
CitrusRainfall Relief Welcomed Across South Florida
April 3, 2015
Below-average precipitation for the region during March helps lower high water levels from what has been a rather wet Dry Season. Read More
CitrusEPA Says It Is Unlikely To Approve New Neonicotinoid Ou…
April 3, 2015
The agency is waiting until new bee data has been submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete. Read More
FFVA Emerging Leaders Class 4 visits Tallahassee
CitrusMarch On Tallahassee A Fruitful Exercise For Florida…
April 2, 2015
Road trip to the state capital beneficial for Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association's board of directors and Class 4 of its Emerging Leader Development Program. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Snowpack Is Virtually Gone
April 2, 2015
With the lowest water content since 1950, the governor orders first-ever mandatory water reductions in cities and towns, and growers face tighter regulations. Read More
CitrusMake Every Day Ag Day
March 31, 2015
Another National Ag Day came and went on March 18. Did you do anything to promote it this year? Even Read More
Laboratory beakers
CitrusGrowing Demand For Magnesium Nitrate Spurs TradeMark Ni…
March 30, 2015
Via enhancements made to its manufacturing plant, Florida company is able to provide more of its product to various fertilizer distributors and retailers throughout the country. Read More