FFVA 2016 will serve up key industry topics

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and FFVA producer member Paul Orsenigo chat during last year's convention.

Producers, shipper/handlers, suppliers and industry leaders will come together Sept. 28-30 in Naples to hear the latest on important issues, do business and socialize at FFVA’s 73rd Annual Convention.

Registration will open online in June.

Highlighting the convention will be a keynote presentation on the political landscape by Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for Politico, and a “state of the industry” address by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

A founder of Politico, Allen also served as White House correspondent for Time magazine. He spent six years at The Washington Post, where he covered President George W. Bush’s first term, Capitol Hill, campaign finance, and the Bush, Gore and Bradley campaigns of 2000. Read more about Mike Allen here.

The convention also tackles timely topics at its Issues Forums.

Last year's issues forums were well received.

In “Discussing GMOs: A Marathon, not a Sprint,” science communicator Kavin Senapathy will talk about how the public debate over genetically modified foods often pits science against emotion and fear-based arguments.

Senapathy, who tackles myths on science, health and food, is the co-executive director of March Against Myths. She also co-authored “The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House,” a book discussing popular food misconceptions and why they proliferate in the face of mountains of evidence against them. Senapathy is a regular contributor to Forbes and Grounded Parents, and her work also has appeared in Gawker, Slate and the Genetic Literacy Project.

Kam Quarles, who works on Capitol Hill on behalf of FFVA, will lead the second Issues Forum, “The Post-Election Outlook for Agriculture.” Quarles, director of legislative affairs for the law firm McDermott Will & Emery, will discuss how the outcome of elections in both houses of Congress could have a significant effect on major issues important to agriculture, including workforce, nutrition programs and trade.

FFVA members Jennifer Lytch (left) and Michael and Brooke Hill catch up at FFVA 2015.

The third Issues Forum will be a moderated discussion on “World Markets: Opportunities and Challenges.” International trade is an important component of Florida’s economy, creating jobs and growth, but finding and growing new markets for agricultural products presents its own set of challenges. The panel will feature Cuba expert Dr. Bill Messina of the University of Florida, producer Dan Richey, president and CEO of Riverfront Packing; and Wade Elliott, vice president of marketing and business development for Port Tampa Bay.

FFVA also will honor leaders important to the Florida specialty crop industry. Awards for Legislator of the Year, Researcher of the Year and Merchandiser of the Year will be presented.

The annual Benefit Auction will offer up a wide variety of great items, including wine, artwork, jewelry, outdoors items and more. Proceeds will benefit the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, which supports the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program and the George Sorn Scholarship. Bidding will take place through FFVA’s BidPal mobile app.

Class 5 of FFVA's Emerging Leader Development Program will graduate at FFVA 2016.

The auction raised more than $34,000 last year and FFVA hopes to make this a very successful year to support these programs that are so important to our industry. To donate an item for the auction, contact Sonia Tighe at 321-214-5200. FFVA will be happy to suggest donation ideas or put together a gift basket on your behalf.

Also during FFVA 2016, Class 5 of the Emerging Leader Development Program will graduate, and the incoming Class 6 will be introduced.

On the final day, participants can join the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation for its annual golf tournament at the Tiburon Golf Club. The Greg Norman-designed course blends traditional and modern elements to create an elegant golf experience that is challenging for any player.  The Foundation funds research, education and outreach activities specifically to benefit Florida’s fruit and vegetable producers.

For non-golfers, an exciting angling experience awaits in the annual fishing excursion in the beautiful 10,000 Islands. Participants can enjoy a splendid morning fishing for snook, trout, redfish, snapper and more.

Keep an eye on your email in-box for registration information in June.

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