Oct 3, 2019
Awards presented at Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association conference

The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s 76th annual conference at The Breakers in Palm Beach drew record attendance with a crowd of 485.

“This is our 76th year of service to the agricultural industry,” said David Hill, convention chair, at the opening lunch on Oct. 2. “We continue to be the leading voice of Florida agriculture, ensuring we stay competitive in the marketplace.”

FFVA President Mike Joyner commented on his first year with the organization and thanked the convention sponsors and attendees for their support. “It is an honor to serve alongside you in the fight for our industry,” he said. “I believe that farming, like teaching, is a calling that provides you with a special opportunity to work with your family.”

In the past year, FFVA has addressed key issues for Florida agriculture, including transportation, trade, labor, water and food safety, Joyner added. “Our goal at FFVA is to lead on all these issues and exceed your expectations for our association.”

At the lunch, FFVA leaders recognized several leading individuals and organizations for contributing to the success of Florida agriculture. Aaron Troyer, incoming chair, presented the Karen and Mike Stuart Humanitarian Award to the Light House Cafe and Ella’s Closet in Belle Glade.

The Legislator of the Year awards went to state Rep. Bobby Payne (R-Palatka) and state Sen. Ben Albritton (R-Alachua). “This is a huge honor for me, and I deeply appreciate all FFVA does for agriculture,” said Albritton. “Thank you for fighting for Florida agriculture.”

Richard Raid, professor of plant pathology with the University of Florida’s Everglades Research & Education Center, was recognized as Researcher of the Year.

Conference attendees also celebrated the growth of FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program, which is expanding horizons for the next generation of Florida’s agricultural professionals. “Our program continues to have a powerful impact on our industry,” said Sonia Tighe, director of the program.

Members of the incoming Class 9 were introduced at the luncheon, as Class 8 members wrapped up their yearlong learning experience.  “The Emerging Leader Development Program is a great success,” said Tiffany Dale, who recounted the adventures of the graduating class. “We appreciate the support of FFVA and our sponsors for an incredible year of learning.”

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