Flashback 1993

From The Harvester, Fourth Quarter, 1993

FFVA celebrates 50 years of service to Florida agriculture

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association members – present and past – gathered in Amelia Island in September to get a glimpse into what the future holds for Florida agriculture, as well as to celebrate the association’s 50 years of service to the industry.

Held Sept. 15-19 at The Ritz-Carlton, the convention program was as varied as the issues facing Florida agriculture. The workshop sessions examined critical topics ranging from emerging issues to marketing strategies to the next generation of produce technology. And, at other functions, the attendees were treated to a historical and nostalgic look at the industry and FFVA’s past.

Hugh Sidey (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1133407,00.html), contributing editor of TIME magazine, keynoted FFVA’s traditional Cracker Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 17, with tales of behind-the-scene accounts of U.S. presidents from Kenney to Clinton. The event marked the official opening of the convention, and the association’s present and past leaders were given special recognition.

Former FFVA presidents in attendance included Rudolph Mattson, George Wedgworth, Buford Council, Vance Vogel, Peter Harllee Sr., Ken Jorgensen, J. Luis Rodriguez, Jeffrey Gargiulo and Frank Bouis. Also recognized at the breakfast were former Executive Vice Presidents Joffre David, Jimmy Duncan and George Sorn.

Members and their guests arriving early for the convention participated in the annual golf and tennis tournaments held on the grounds of the hotel on Thursday morning.  Thursday afternoon the FFVA board of directors met to review the final business for the fiscal year 1992-1993.

Immediately following the Cracker Breakfast on Friday, the annual membership meeting was held to elect its 1993-1994 slate of officers and board of directors.

Rep. Karen Thurman (D-5) energized the approximately 200 guests attending the political action committee luncheon.  Her talk touched on all aspects of Florida agriculture and the impact NAFTA would have on the industry.

Three workshops were conducted focusing on the current issues affecting the agricultural industry today.

“Emerging Issues: Labor, Environment & Trade,” the first workshop, dealt with awareness of the many issues facing Florida growers in the future. FFVA director John (Jack) Norris served as moderator. Panelists included Bill Bryant, president of W.L. Bryant Co.; Monte Lake, an attorney with the firm of McGuiness and Williams; and Larry Elworth, administrative assistant to the assistant secretary, Natural Environment, USDA.

“Marketing Strategies for the ‘90s,” the second workshop, was devoted to a look at the marketing strategies necessary for growers to remain competitive in the years ahead. Bill Schaefer, director of marketing, J.R. Brooks & Son Inc., was moderator. Panelists included Jack Flanagan, USDA, chief, PACA branch; Bob DiPiazza, vice president of produce operations, Dominick’s Finer Foods; Cynthia Kerr, sales service manager, Mann Packing Co.; and Jim Ratliff, corporate director of procurement, Hilton Hotels.

The last workshop, entitled “Produce Technology: The Next Generation,” was moderated by FFVA Director John Gargiulo. Participants presented an overview of the technology shaping the agricultural industry. Panelists included Mark Stowers, Ph.D., business director, New Products Division , Monsanto Co.; Robert Shulman, president of Copernicus, a marketing investment strategy group; and Leslie Benning, principal, Booz Allen & Hamilton, a New York management consulting firm.

An “Old-Fashioned Country Cookout” theme party was held Friday night. Many guests dressed “country-style” and danced to the music of a western band.

At Saturday’s Annual Award Luncheon, Legislator of the Year Awards were presented by Prentiss Mitchell to Sen. Mark Foley (R-35), West Palm Beach, and Rep. Ken Pruitt (R-32), Port St. Lucie.

The Researcher of the Year Award went to Dr. Salvadore J. Locascio, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, who has devoted most of his research to the development of efficient use of fertilizer and water for vegetables.

This year’s winner of the Merchandiser of the Year Award was Goodings Supermarkets.

The 50th Annual Banquet, held Saturday evening, marked the end of a very successful 50th anniversary celebration. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 1993 Distinguished Service Award to Rep. Bert Harris Jr. (D-77), Lake Placid. The award was presented to Rep. Harris by FFVA Director Jeff Gargiulo. Rep. Harris received the award due to his tireless effort to promote and protect agriculture.

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