FFVA 2012 tackles timely industry issues

What other convention offers a spy, bears, the latest industry updates, networking, a round of golf and more?

FFVA 2012 has something for everyone. This year’s annual convention will offer opportunities to learn about priority issues for agriculture, hear dynamic speakers, and have some fun in the Florida sunshine .

FFVA 2012 takes place Sept. 19-21 at the popular Ritz-Carlton in Naples. This year, the convention moves move from a beginning-of-the-week format to a Wednesday-through-Friday schedule. The change was made based on input received from previous convention attendees. Also new this year is the option to register for a single day of attendance.


Issues forums cover topics important to the business of agriculture

Every year, FFVA’s convention brings experts in critical fields to the table. This year’s lineup includes:

FFVA 2012 will feature three informative and exciting issues forums.

The Labor Landscape: A Growing Concern

Access to an adequate workforce is an ever-present concern for growers, and the outlook does not appear to be getting brighter. Find out what’s on the horizon related to immigration in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.  This forum will be held Sept. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

The Worldwide Economics of Produce

Competition in a global marketplace is an ongoing challenge, but the situation was especially troubling during the 2011-2012 growing season. Learn what options exist for the grower community to help ensure a strong market for domestic production. Also on tap: A discussion on the European economy and how it’s affecting the fresh produce market. This session will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 20.

Election 2012: What’s Ahead for Agriculture?

From immigration to private property rights to water quality and quantity, the 2012 state, congressional and presidential elections will affect a variety of issues important to Florida growers. Hear a forecast at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20 of what could be in store for agriculture after voters go to the polls this fall.


Former CIA operative on life as a spy

Keynote speaker James Olson spent 31 years leading a double life as a CIA officer.

FFVA 2012 keynote speaker James Olson led a double life as a career officer with the Central Intelligence Agency in overseas clandestine operations. Olson also served as chief of counterintelligence at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

Among his many honors are the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and the Counterintelligence Excellence Medal.

Olson will share with us his (and his wife’s) experiences as undercover officers in the CIA’s clandestine service for 31 years.  He will describe his recruitment and training by the CIA, his missions overseas, the impact of an undercover lifestyle on marriage and children, and the role of the CIA in today’s global war on terror.

Olson currently serves on the faculty of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He is the author of “The Ten Commandments of Counter Intelligence” and “Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying.”

Olsen will speak at the annual Cracker Breakfast Sept. 20.


Benefit auction will help build a strong generation of leaders

Auction proceeds this year go to the FFVA Emerging Leader Development Program.

Money raised from his year’s benefit silent auction will go to the FFVA Emerging Leader Development Program. The ELDP was created to provide members of FFVA ages 25-40 an opportunity to acquire a diverse understanding of public policy and advocacy, current issues affecting specialty crop producers and specialty crop production outside their area of expertise.

The program is designed to equip leaders with knowledge of a wide array of issues as well as the tools to deal with them. Leaders who complete the program will be better prepared to improve the sustainability and economic viability of specialty crop agriculture.

“We will be graduating Class 1 of the Emerging Leader Development Program at the convention’s closing banquet.  It will be the highlight of their full year of educational sessions and production trips.  Additionally, we will be starting Class 2 at this session with 12 new members of this exciting program,” said Sonia Tighe, program director.

Learn more about this valuable program that will make a meaningful difference in the future of FFVA and the state’s specialty crop industry here.

Last year’s Benefit Auction raised nearly $15,000. To date, auction and the “Above and Beyond” donations have generated more than $443,473 for deserving causes.  If you would like to participate by donating an item for the auction, please contact Tighe at (813) 975-8377 or via email sonia.tighe@ffva.com.

Other highlights of FFVA 2012 include Thursday evening’s dinner with entertainment, the annual Awards Luncheon, the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation Golf Tournament, a fishing excursion, bingo and a very special activity for guests and spouses. Wednesday’s event will give participants a chance to brighten the life of a child from a Redlands Christian Migrant Association school by building and dressing a plush bear for each child to take home.  Lunch will be served at the event.

Learn more about the convention and register at www.ffva.com/ffva2012 or call FFVA at (321) 214-5200.

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