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
CitrusWestern Growers Praises Introduction Of California Emergency Drought Relief Act
July 30, 2015
Legislation contains short- and long-term provisions to deal with the historic drought. Read More
CitrusGroup Food Safety Audits May Help Prepare You For The Produce Rule
July 29, 2015
Group food safety audits, slated to be available next spring, may save small- to mid-size growers time and money. Read More
CitrusNew Director Named For Florida’s Citrus Research And Education Center
July 28, 2015
Michael Rogers takes a positive charge at finding solutions to greening. Read More
Washington Capitol building
CitrusHouse Passes Bill To Block State GMO Food Labeling Mandates
July 27, 2015
The legislation would offer a federal standard for voluntary labeling of foods containing GMOs.   Read More
Citrus2 Dozen Florida Nurseries Vying For Coveted Cannabis Growing Licenses
July 27, 2015
With only five spots available to produce the low-THC ‘Charlotte’s Web’ strain, tedious review process is in full swing. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateSecond Case In A Month Of Citrus Greening In California
July 24, 2015
More trees testing positive for disease within close proximity of original find. Read More
CitrusUSDA Expands Crop Insurance Options For Fruit And Nut Growers
July 24, 2015
The USDA announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Read More
The Latest
woman smashing an alarm clock with a hammer
CitrusDon’t Become A Time Crunch Casualty
July 31, 2015
Finding the balance between work life and home life is easier said than done for GenNext Growers. Read More
money
CitrusBankrupt Florida Farm To Yield Plenty Of Land, Equipmen…
July 30, 2015
As many as seven different buyers could be part of this Chapter 11 proceeding. Read More
CitrusWestern Growers Praises Introduction Of California Emer…
July 30, 2015
Legislation contains short- and long-term provisions to deal with the historic drought. Read More
CitrusGroup Food Safety Audits May Help Prepare You For The P…
July 29, 2015
Group food safety audits, slated to be available next spring, may save small- to mid-size growers time and money. Read More
CitrusNew Director Named For Florida’s Citrus Research And Ed…
July 28, 2015
Michael Rogers takes a positive charge at finding solutions to greening. Read More
Washington Capitol building
CitrusHouse Passes Bill To Block State GMO Food Labeling Mand…
July 27, 2015
The legislation would offer a federal standard for voluntary labeling of foods containing GMOs.   Read More
Citrus2 Dozen Florida Nurseries Vying For Coveted Cannabis Gr…
July 27, 2015
With only five spots available to produce the low-THC ‘Charlotte’s Web’ strain, tedious review process is in full swing. Read More
CitrusUSDA Expands Crop Insurance Options For Fruit And Nut G…
July 24, 2015
The USDA announced the expansion of crop insurance to provide additional options for fruit and nut producers. The Supplemental Coverage Read More
FFVA 2015 Annual Convention logo
CitrusFlorida Fruit & Vegetable Association Annual Conven…
July 23, 2015
Association's 72nd gathering to feature high-profile speakers, up-to-the-minute Issues Forums, and some fun to mix in with the business of the day. Read More
CitrusMarketing Order Amendments Referendum Set For Fresh Flo…
July 22, 2015
Changes include the authorization and regulation of new varieties. Read More
Shannon Shepp
CitrusInterim Executive Director Named For Florida Department…
July 22, 2015
Shannon Shepp will take on leadership duties immediately after unanimous Citrus Commission vote. Read More
CitrusInternational Report Confirms 2014 As Earth’s Warmest Y…
July 21, 2015
Scientific compilation notes climate markers continue to show global warming trend. Read More
non-gmo label leafy greens
CitrusGMO Labeling Battle Moves To House Floor
July 21, 2015
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 was passed by the Agriculture Committee last week and will head Read More
Doug Ackerman
CitrusFlorida Department Of Citrus Executive Director Resigns
July 21, 2015
Doug Ackerman steps down after traffic incident. Read More
CitrusWOTUS Wranglings Leaving Agriculture High And Dry [Opin…
July 17, 2015
In late May, the EPA announced the highly anticipated final rule re-defining the waters of the United States (WOTUS) under Read More
man expressing opinion through bullhorn
CitrusStay Opinionated, My Farmer Friends
July 15, 2015
How far are you willing to go to defend your beliefs? Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Water Managers Keeping Close Eye On Dry C…
July 15, 2015
Traditional wet season has been anything but so far as certain parts of the region now experiencing “extreme drought.” Read More
Washington Capitol building
CitrusUnited Fresh Washington Conference Connects You With Ke…
July 14, 2015
United Fresh has announced the Washington Conference, which will be held Sept. 28-30 in Washington D.C. The conference offers an Read More