Jul 17, 20197 questions with FFVA’s Mike Joyner
The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) named Mike Joyner as the organization’s new president in October 2018. He succeeded long-time FFVA president Mike Stuart.
Joyner’s experience in agricultural and environmental issues runs deep. Most recently, he served as assistant commissioner of agriculture and chief of staff for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, helping to lead the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for almost eight years. Before that, Joyner represented clients throughout Florida and the United States before the Florida Legislature and state regulatory agencies. He also served in public affairs and environmental affairs positions for The St. Joe Company and Progress Energy (now Duke Energy) and worked as chief of staff for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
“Mike is uniquely equipped to lead FFVA into the future,” FFVA Chairman Paul R. Orsenigo said at the time of Joyner’s appointment.
“Given his experience and leadership in Florida agriculture, he has a keen grasp of the issues that Florida producers face in growing and marketing their crops,” Orsenigo said. “We’re looking forward to having him at the helm of our association.”
“I’m excited to join this association, which I’ve admired for many years,” Joyner said. “The positive influence that FFVA’s advocacy work has had on public policy is impressive. There are challenges ahead for agriculture, which means that advocacy is more important than ever.”
Joyner is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food and resource economics. He and his wife, Alicia, have two daughters.
Outgoing FFVA President Mike Stuart stayed on board for a brief transition period before his retirement, Orsenigo said.
“Mike’s tireless efforts and contributions on behalf of specialty crop agriculture in Florida and nationally have been monumental,” said outgoing Stuart, who served in the role for 26 years. “We’re grateful for his leadership, talents, integrity and coalition stewardship over the years. Our volunteer leaders are committed to providing a smooth succession to new leadership.”
Here are Joyner’s answers to some questions from Vegetable Growers News:
1. What are the best words of advice you’ve ever received?
As important as what we do is how we do it.
2. What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Get into the fields and listen to the growers. Learn their challenges, their priorities, find out how FFVA can add value and learn what their expectations are for the FFVA and for me.
Build and strengthen relationships with the other agricultural organizations in Florida and throughout the country. The many challenges we face in agriculture will be solved by working together, shoulder-to-shoulder in coalitions with other agricultural organizations.
Continue the work started many years ago by FFVA to find a near-term solution to stop the unfair trade practices from Mexico’s fruit and vegetable industry Because the original NAFTA failed to provide the specialty crop producers in the Southeast with fair recourse against Mexico’s unfair pricing practices, the hemorrhaging losses and farm closures in the Southeast are now reaching a tipping point. The Southeast produce industry’s survival depends heavily on a solution in the near term that is durable, transcends administrations, and is statutory and effective.
Continuing to work on a federal solution to address the growing concern with the lack of qualified farm labor.
3. What do you do to relax?
Spending time with my wife and two adult daughters at the beach or in the North Carolina mountains. I also enjoy gardening, biking and bird hunting.
4. What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
That I was honest, tried to always do what is right, that I led with character, mentored those around me, that I was intentional with my time and that I was a good son, husband, father and friend.
5. What are the top things on your bucket list?
I would like to be a volunteer park ranger in Yellowstone or Grand Tetons National Park after retirement.
6. What job or work would you have pursued if you had not been in the fruit and vegetable industry?
I would like to have been a farmer and rancher. If not that, a hospital administrator. The positive impact you can have on others is significant.
7. What is the one truth you’ve learned about the fruit and vegetable industry?
The women and men who make up this industry have been called to feed the world. They are proud of their calling. They understand that responsibility and they are great stewards, honest, hardworking and humble. They are servant leaders.