Florida’s Future Farming Leaders Dig Up Knowledge In The Golden State

Class 3 of FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program recently spent three days touring farms, packinghouses, and shipping operations throughout California’s Salinas Valley. The 11 young professionals visited with growers of a variety of specialty crops, some of which they hadn’t seen before, including artichokes and mushrooms.
It was the final session for the class members before they graduate at FFVA’s annual convention Sept. 17-19 in Naples.

Class members said they were struck by the size and scope of California operations and impressed by the innovation and technology they saw on the farms and in produce processing plants. Growers shared their concerns with the group, with availability of labor and water topping the list of challenges. The men and women who hosted each stop were generous with their time and spoke candidly about markets, customers, new products, and more. Class members had a similar experience in January during their tour of South Florida farms and packinghouses. It’s that level of information exchange that makes FFVA’s Emerging Leader program so valuable for participants.

Members of Class 3 of FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program toured artisan lettuce production at Tanimura & Antle in Salinas, CA. Photo by Lisa Lochridge
Members of Class 3 of FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program toured artisan lettuce production at Tanimura & Antle in Salinas, CA. Photo by Lisa Lochridge

California Dreamin’

In California, the group saw production of numerous crops including strawberries, lettuce and leafy greens, celery, mushrooms, and peppers. They also toured processing plants that produce bagged salads and leaf lettuce for retail and foodservice customers. They met with representatives from C.H. Robinson, equipment builder Ramsay Highlander, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, and the United Fresh Produce Association.
Tour stops included California Giant Berry Farms, Gizdich Ranch, Duda, Taylor Farms California, Mann Packing, Ocean Mist Farms, Church Brothers, Uesugi Farms, D’Arrigo Brothers, Monterey Mushrooms, Tanimura & Antle, and Bianchi Vineyard.
“Our experience from this educational trip was profound and encourages me to educate consumers on the differences in production between the two states, to always support U.S. farmers by buying Fresh From Florida produce when available, and to rely on our western growers when Florida crops are not in season,” said class member Jamie Lang.

Learning Along The Way

Class 3 started out the year by participating in FFVA’s 2013 convention last September. They met and mingled with FFVA members, heard from industry leaders about top-of-mind issues, and laid the foundation for a year of learning.
In a November seminar at FFVA’s Maitland office, class members learned more about the association’s history, mission, and its staff. They were briefed on key issues and how FFVA works on behalf of its membership to develop solutions. Members got to know each other better through team-building exercises.

In January, participants braved a cold snap in South Florida with a tour of farms and packinghouses in Belle Glade, Loxahatchee, LaBelle, and Clewiston. Nine members of the Western Growers Association’s leadership program joined them on the tour. The three-day trip was capped off by a roundtable discussion with industry leaders on the Farm Bill, immigration reform, and political challenges.

The class joined members of FFVA’s board of directors to walk the halls of Florida’s capitol during the legislative session in March. Members of the leadership group saw firsthand the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the legislative process. For some, it was their first visit — but certainly not their last — to Tallahassee.

Each year, graduates have finished the year-long program better informed and more plugged into the big issues of the day. Just as important, they have expanded and solidified their network of peers throughout Florida and in California. They are eager to use what they have learned to become better leaders and advocates for Florida agriculture in their community, in Tallahassee, and beyond. Their increased engagement and involvement will strengthen FFVA and help our industry continue to thrive.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
raindrops in standing water
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance, Water Testing, and Farm Inspections Announced
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
citrus grove damage from Irma at SWFREC in Immokalee
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts of Irma
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biological Control
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Talking
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Whose Sustainable Standard Wins?
Retailers’ race to win the most sustainable produce prize leaves growers trying to keep up with fast-developing demands. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Improving Water Management: Can Silicon Valley Help?
Though very much-needed, technological solutions must be cost-effective and industry appropriate. Read More
Florida oranges
Citrus
August 31, 2017
Extra Early Florida Citrus Forecast Calling For Sunshine
Marked increase in production predicted for the next crop of oranges. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2017
How Harvey May Impact Specialty Crop Growers
The devastating human toll from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has rightly dominated news coverage. Growers and those who work with them, however, should also think about how this historic storm will also affect them.  Read More
Insect & Disease Update
August 28, 2017
California Extends Citrus Quarantine
A 94-square mile area of San Bernardino, Riverside counties now a part of state huanglongbing quarantine. Read More
Strawberry fieldworker in Florida
Citrus
August 28, 2017
Specialty Crop Concern Feeds Need to Negotiate NAFTA Now
Although trade talk objectives may not deliver the short-term relief for Florida fruit and vegetable growers, they appear on the right track. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Citrus
August 28, 2017
3 More Florida Growers Given Green Light to Cultivate Medicinal Cannabis
Once exclusive enterprise continues to expand for more seeking to engage alternative crop endeavor. Read More
multiple hands holding a plate full of veggies
Citrus
August 27, 2017
USDA Releases Software to Help Small Operations with Food Safety Plans
While the free tool was primarily designed for use by small firms, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Read More
Workers picking in a Florida strawberry field
Citrus
August 25, 2017
Transcending Farm Labor Crisis No Easy Task [Opinion]
Technology could be on cusp of fixing labor problems for growers of crops that are traditionally hand harvested. Read More
two-spotted spider mite
Citrus
August 25, 2017
California EPA Seeking to Review Chlorpyrifos
Department of Pesticide Regulation, Office of Environmental Health pursuing health protections. Read More
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Varroa Mite Researchers Talk High Infestations in Bee Colonies
In 2016, The New York State Beekeeper Tech Team (which is attached to Cornell University’s Dyce Lab Beekeeping Resources) found that Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Precision in Specialty Crops Gains Momen…
Here are some of the key drivers that may transform your farm in the years ahead. Read More
Citrus
September 19, 2017
Hopes High for Hops Fresh From Florida
When it comes to alternative crop solutions, something good is brewing in the Sunshine State. Do you have what it takes to tap in? Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2017
Help Extended to Hurricane-Weary Farmers…
USDA chief grants extra time and special procedures to document and file claims. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
New Guidance on FSMA Ag Water Compliance…
FDA issued a rule to extend compliance dates for agricultural water and announced a start date for farm inspections. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2017
Florida Farmers Digging out From Impacts…
Damage reports starting to flood in from the field following monster storm, and it's not pretty. Read More
Biocontrols Conference
September 11, 2017
The Grower’s Take: Citrus, HLB, and Biol…
Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice brand has enjoyed steady growth since its 2002 inception. The brand’s success is due to Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Summer News Stories that Have Growers Ta…
Farming has been in the media spotlight this year. I asked each of this month’s columnists and contributors for their Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Whose Sustainable Standard Wins?
Retailers’ race to win the most sustainable produce prize leaves growers trying to keep up with fast-developing demands. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2017
Improving Water Management: Can Silicon …
Though very much-needed, technological solutions must be cost-effective and industry appropriate. Read More
Citrus
August 31, 2017
Extra Early Florida Citrus Forecast Call…
Marked increase in production predicted for the next crop of oranges. Read More
Citrus
August 30, 2017
How Harvey May Impact Specialty Crop Gro…
The devastating human toll from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has rightly dominated news coverage. Growers and those who work with them, however, should also think about how this historic storm will also affect them.  Read More
Citrus
August 28, 2017
Specialty Crop Concern Feeds Need to Neg…
Although trade talk objectives may not deliver the short-term relief for Florida fruit and vegetable growers, they appear on the right track. Read More
Citrus
August 28, 2017
3 More Florida Growers Given Green Light…
Once exclusive enterprise continues to expand for more seeking to engage alternative crop endeavor. Read More
Citrus
August 27, 2017
USDA Releases Software to Help Small Ope…
While the free tool was primarily designed for use by small firms, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Read More
Citrus
August 25, 2017
Transcending Farm Labor Crisis No Easy T…
Technology could be on cusp of fixing labor problems for growers of crops that are traditionally hand harvested. Read More
Citrus
August 25, 2017
California EPA Seeking to Review Chlorpy…
Department of Pesticide Regulation, Office of Environmental Health pursuing health protections. Read More
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Varroa Mite Researchers Talk High Infest…
In 2016, The New York State Beekeeper Tech Team (which is attached to Cornell University’s Dyce Lab Beekeeping Resources) found that Read More
Citrus
August 23, 2017
Advice From the FDA on How Growers Can K…
Want tips that will keep your operation on the right side of the FDA when it comes to food safety? American Vegetable Grower® decided the best advice would come directly from the FDA itself.  Read More