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
healthy piece of citrus
Citrus Achievement AwardNeglected Research, Future Growers Top Of Mind For 2015 Citrus Achievement Award Winner
July 1, 2015
Orie Lee advises young up-and-comers to supplement production knowledge with business acumen; calls for more focus on blight. Read More
money down the drain
CitrusGovernor’s Budget Veto Likely To Shutter UF/IFAS Invasive Pest Quarantine Lab
June 25, 2015
A $180,000 increase, plus another $720,000 in funding for program gone in the stroke of a pen. Read More
blue orchard bee
CitrusPlight Of Pollinators Presenting Sticky Situation
June 24, 2015
Growers, beekeepers, and the ag-chem industry urged to work together to protect pollinators and plants. Read More
dripping orange
CitrusFlorida Legislative Session Bittersweet For Citrus
June 23, 2015
Gov. Rick Scott OKs almost $20 million to fight HLB; vetoes nearly $4 million in other related initiatives. Read More
CitrusCalifornia High Heat Warning Issued
June 23, 2015
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the Read More
Close-up of Sugar Belle LB 8-9
Varieties & RootstocksSounds Like Chime Is Right For Sugar Belle LB 8-9
June 22, 2015
Well-vetted variety is finding its sweet spot amid today’s HLB-influenced production practices. Read More
non-gmo label leafy greens
CitrusResearchers Ready To Testify Before Congress About GMOs
June 22, 2015
UF/IFAS grad students seeking to field questions relating to the GMO regulatory processes, food labeling, and product safety. Read More
The Latest
Photo of New Guinea flatworm found near Coral Gables, FL
CitrusSouth Florida’s Newest Pest Has Significant Ooze Factor
July 2, 2015
The infamous New Guinea flatworm, one of the ‘world's worst invasive alien species,’ might have found a new home. Read More
CitrusFlorida’s Young Farmers Working To Bridge Generation Ga…
July 2, 2015
Leadership conference to give GenNext Growers tools to become better agvocates. Read More
CitrusIndustry Stakeholders Rip Report Linking Citrus Consump…
July 1, 2015
Associations react swiftly; call out flaws in study released by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read More
money down the drain
CitrusGovernor’s Budget Veto Likely To Shutter UF/IFAS …
June 25, 2015
A $180,000 increase, plus another $720,000 in funding for program gone in the stroke of a pen. Read More
blue orchard bee
CitrusPlight Of Pollinators Presenting Sticky Situation
June 24, 2015
Growers, beekeepers, and the ag-chem industry urged to work together to protect pollinators and plants. Read More
dripping orange
CitrusFlorida Legislative Session Bittersweet For Citrus
June 23, 2015
Gov. Rick Scott OKs almost $20 million to fight HLB; vetoes nearly $4 million in other related initiatives. Read More
CitrusCalifornia High Heat Warning Issued
June 23, 2015
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the Read More
non-gmo label leafy greens
CitrusResearchers Ready To Testify Before Congress About GMOs
June 22, 2015
UF/IFAS grad students seeking to field questions relating to the GMO regulatory processes, food labeling, and product safety. Read More
2015 Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference crowd
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers’ Resolve Put To The Test
June 22, 2015
During annual conference, industry leaders call for an ‘all in’ approach to survive current crisis. Read More
CitrusPollinator Protection Dependent On Pure Partnerships [O…
June 18, 2015
Florida bee BMPs program has not only improved cooperation between growers and beekeepers, but also shows that voluntary efforts work. Read More
UF/IFAS certificate of farm labor management
CitrusFlorida Growers Working Toward Safety And Equality
June 17, 2015
New Certificate Program educates farm supervisors on best practices. Read More
CitrusPresident Obama Allocates $110M For Drought-Relief
June 16, 2015
On Friday, President Obama announced the investment of $110 million to support workers, farmers, and rural communities suffering from drought Read More
Lake Howell in Casselberry, FL
CitrusFarm Bureau Offers Detailed Analysis Of Waters Of The U…
June 15, 2015
Rule will give EPA “sweeping powers” to regulate land use, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Read More
Florida BMPs grower meeting
CitrusFlorida BMPs Program Racks Up More Successes
June 15, 2015
The Florida legislature passed the 1999 Florida Watershed Restoration Act that gives the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Read More
secrets can do lots of damage
CitrusConfidentiality Counterproductive For Today’s Far…
June 15, 2015
No longer is transparency an anomaly among the grower community, it's become necessary to survive and succeed. Read More
squeezing an orange
CitrusFlorida Citrus Season Grinding Toward Sour Finish
June 10, 2015
USDA’s updated estimate keeps orange count in check at historically low total. Read More
Charlotte's Web-medical marijuana in greenhouse
CitrusFlorida Still Playing Medical Marijuana Waiting Game
June 9, 2015
Growers and potential patients hold their breath while next steps are taken to spin Charlotte’s Web. Read More
CitrusParamount Farms Renamed As Part Of The Wonderful Compan…
June 9, 2015
Roll Global officially changed its name to The Wonderful Company recently. This strategic move will align the company’s long-standing passion Read More