— FFVA’s annual convention will offer more issues, more networking and more of everything it’s known for Sept. 23-25 at The Breakers in Palm Beach. The event will feature high-profile speakers, up-to-the-minute issues forums, recognition of leaders and the annual auction to benefit the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation.
Producers and allied business leaders say FFVA’s convention is the premier agriculture meeting in Florida.
“I get more done in two days of meeting and discussing issues with other attendees than in a week otherwise,” said one grower who attended last year’s meeting.
The convention also promises to provide the perfect backdrop for networking, visiting with old friends and making new ones. A fishing excursion and the benefit golf tournament will top off the event.
“We have an outstanding lineup of keynote speakers and respected industry experts who’ll be giving their perspective on some of the most pressing issues Florida growers are dealing with today,” said Lisa Lochridge, FFVA’s director of public affairs. “We pack a lot in two-plus days, and attendees tell us it’s just the right mix of information, networking and fun.”
Invited to give his “State of the Industry” address is Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. The commissioner‘s presentation kicks off the convention with an overview of challenges and opportunities for Florida agriculture.
Veteran journalist and TV commentator Tucker Carlson will be keynote speaker at the traditional Cracker Breakfast. Carlson is co-host of Fox and Friends Weekend and the editor-in-chief of the news website TheDailyCaller.com. His credits also include co-hosting Crossfire on CNN, where he was the youngest anchor in the history of that network. He also hosted a weekly public affairs program on PBS.
Carlson has reported from around the world, including dispatches from Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon and Vietnam. He has been a columnist for New York magazine and Reader’s Digest. He currently writes for Esquire and The New York Times magazine. And he was once on “Dancing with the Stars.”
Issues forums will cover biotech, expanding markets, water policy and more.
“Food Crop Industries and GMO: Talking to a Concerned Public” will cover the strengths and weaknesses of this technology, public perceptions and how it applies to Florida fruits and vegetables. Dr. Kevin Folta will lead the session. Folta, chairman of the University of Florida’s Horticultural Sciences Department, is a widely sought-after speaker on the topic.
“The Global Market: What’s in it for You?” will focus on how specialty crop producers can benefit from Florida’s strong export position. Attendees will hear from trade expert Dan Sleep, bureau chief of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Bureau of Strategic Development.
And “Addressing Critical Water Challenges” will update attendees on what’s ahead for water policy at the state and federal levels. A moderated panel discussion will focus on the EPA’s newly released Waters of the United States final draft rule.
The Awards Luncheon will feature the Emerging Leader Development Program Class 4 graduation as well as recognition of the Legislator of the Year, Researcher of the Year and Merchandiser of the Year. Two deserving young people will receive the George F. Sorn Scholarship.
The FFVA board of directors will meet during the convention, and the association will hold its annual membership meeting to elect the 2015-2016 slate of officers and board members.
There’s plenty of socializing and fun throughout the event. The Chairman’s Reception offers a great opportunity for casual conversation and catching up. Bingo is always a hit for spouses and guests, and the final evening’s dinner with live entertainment brings everyone out on the dance floor.
During Friday’s fishing excursion, anglers will enjoy a memorable morning on the water with great camaraderie and knowledgeable captains. The golf tournament will be held at The Breakers Ocean Course in Palm Beach. With its vintage feel, the course is situated on 140 acres overlooking the Atlantic.
A long list of sponsors is helping to make the convention possible. FFVA thanks all of its sponsors for supporting the event and the Florida specialty crop industry. See the sponsor list here.
Online registration is now open. To register and for more information, visit ffva.com/ffva2015.