At the first board of directors meeting of the newly formed direct services organization called the Florida Citrus Research & Development Foundation held on May 8, Tom Jerkins was elected President, Ricke Kress VP, Jerry Newlin Secretary and Joe Joyce Treasurer. Tom Turpen was appointed interim chief operating officer (COO). Committee assignments were made and the organization is moving forward. The thirteen member board has two UF/IFAS representatives, one from FDACS and ten are Florida citrus growers. Mixed apprehension, optimism, and excitement best describes the feelings of most growers, processor, packers, and harvesters.
The R&D Foundation has a huge list of challenges to deal with, and as we all know time is not the friend of the Florida citrus grower. Contracts will need to be managed. As soon as the foundation is ready to assume this task, the Florida Department of Citrus will transfer their contracts. A review of research results will need to take place to determine which ones have potential “products” to move forward from lab to the grove and commercialization needs to take place. A business plan needs to be developed and adopted. The plan will define staffing, budget, goals, objectives, role in the research process, and much more. The R&D Foundation has a monumental assignment and no firm blueprint to follow. The 13 members of the board must work together and they need the help of every organization, grower, packer, processor, harvester, regulatory entity, research agency ,and anyone else associate with the citrus industry.
You will be learning more every month as this key entity steps out to manage the research process. They need your support, encouragement, and ideas.
Source: John Jackson, In The Loop Newsletter