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2012 Florida Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting news items
Achievement in Agriculture winner announced at Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla. – Josh Farley, a cattleman from Green Cove Springs, was named the 2012 Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award winner at Florida Farm Bureau’s 71st Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Richard May of Gadsden County and Jeff and Kelly Willis of Columbia County were the runners-up for this prestigious award.
To qualify, applicants must be between 18 and 35 years of age and be full-time agricultural producers. Finalists are evaluated on the financial stability and development of their respective farm enterprises as well as their leadership in Farm Bureau and their local communities.
Josh Farley began his own operation in 1995 with 25 head of cattle and now has a herd of 1,060 cattle. He and his wife, Amy, are actively involved in the Clay County Farm Bureau. He serves on the board of directors, is a committee chair of the county organization’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee and is a member of the Farm City Legislative Committee. Amy also serves as a member of the county Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committee.
Discussion Meet winner named at Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla. – Kelvin Moreno of Miami-Dade County was named the 2012 Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet winner at Florida Farm Bureau’s 71st Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Jeffery Hamrick of Madison County, Nick Larsen of Western Palm Beach County and Kelly Mosley of Clay County were the runners-up for this prestigious award.
The Discussion Meet contest is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. The judges are looking for the contestant that offers constructive criticism, cooperation and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions.
Kelvin Moreno is the president of Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Group. He runs his family business, Moreno Ranches, registered seedstock Limousin and Brahman cattle operations, in both Miami-Dade and Highlands counties. He also manages Moreno Firms, which specializes in cattle brokerage and consulting services.
By winning the Discussion Meet, Kelvin will receive a $500 cash award, an ATV four-wheeler courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty and an expense-paid trip to the 2013 American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., where he will represent Florida in the national YF&R competition.
Team Player Award winner announced at Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla. – Gadsden County Farm Bureau Insurance agent Tommy Young has received the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Team Player Award for going above and beyond his call of duty.
In addition to being a sociable guy, Young is a forward thinker and remains active in his community. “He thinks outside of the box and speaks to youth groups and civic clubs,” said Dan Buchanan, Florida Farm Bureau District 2 senior fieldman.
Young is always the first to step up to the plate and volunteer his time to help with Florida Farm Bureau functions such as legislative meetings, candidate forums, Farm-City Week celebrations and a Youth Ag Venture Program that included over 1,000 students who learned about contemporary agriculture.
“Tommy is absolutely one of the most energetic agents in my district and he thoroughly loves his job as selling insurance and promoting the Farm Bureau programs,” Buchanan said.
Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee gathers for the 2012 Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla. – The Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s Women’s Leadership Committee gathered on Wednesday, Oct. 25 to vote for officer seats and recognize volunteers who have demonstrated exceptional service over the past year.
County Farm Bureaus were awarded for making donations to the Women’s Leadership Committee. Among the top contributors were Hamilton County, Taylor County, Lee County, Madison County, Seminole County, Hillsborough County and Marion County, with Hamilton County coming out on top as the “Most Overall” contributor.
Sarah Carte, of Suwannee County, was elected as vice chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee and will also serve on the Florida Farm Bureau Federation board of directors.
The Florida Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Program was organized for the purpose of implementing Farm Bureau policy goals and objectives. The program uses the unique talents of women to enable Farm Bureau to be more effective in its organizational, legislative, educational and promotional efforts. Any woman from a Farm Bureau family is eligible to participate in local, state and national activities.
Florida Farm Bureau Youth Speech Contest winner makes a grand performance
Gainesville, Fla. – At the Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s Youth Speech Contest finals on Oct. 25, Andrew Horvath took top honors, as judges selected him over seven other competitors. The event was held at the organization’s annual meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
This year’s topic was “What role, if any, should agriculture play in addressing health and obesity issues?” The contestants were judged on content and delivery, and were given five minutes of talking time.
Horvath argued that agriculturalists are already doing their part to produce a healthy product and educate the public about food. He explained that ultimately it is up to the individual to make the proper eating choices.
The contest is meant to promote a stronger interest and clearer understanding of the many aspects of agriculture among our youth. Each year the Youth Speech Contest begins at the county level. The winner of county contest competes in district contests and the eight district winners then make their presentations at the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting.
Ag Journalist of the Year winner announced
Gainesville – Kathleen Rasche, a veteran reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, has been named Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Ag Journalist of the Year. Rasche earned the award for her excellent coverage of agriculture and the people who make it successful in the Volusia County area.
She also serves as the editor of the Volusia County Farm Bureau’s newsletter. Rasche was nominated for the honor by George Benedict, president of the Volusia County Farm Bureau. In his nomination letter Benedict noted that “Kathleen has worked hard to promote Farm Bureau and production agriculture. We think her work deserves recognition.”
Rasche’s articles and photographs have offered non-farm readers a reliable portrait of contemporary farms and ranches. She has also provided a diverse array of feature articles on various aspects of rural life. Her work has contributed to an improvement in urban-rural relationships. At the same time, she has demonstrated the best qualities of journalism.
Rasche received a plaque in recognition of her award on Oct. 25 during Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Nurseryman re-elected as Florida Farm Bureau’s state secretary
Gainesville, Fla. – Mark Byrd, an Orange County nurseryman, has been re-elected as secretary of Florida Farm Bureau. The election was held on Oct. 26 by the organization’s state directors immediately after Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Byrd represents Farm Bureau members in Orange, Osceola and Brevard counties on the state board.
He has also been active in the Florida Nurseryman, Growers and Landscape Association, serving on its state board of directors. In addition, Byrd has been a member of the Orange County Environmental Protection Commission.
Statewide Crop Advising Award presented at Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla. – Florida Farm Bureau and the Florida Certified Crop Advisors Board of Directors have presented Tim Hurner with the 2012 Excellence in Crop Advising Award. The award recognizes a professional who has provided farmers with superior service in nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest control and crop production.
Hurner, a Highlands County resident, was also selected for the recognition because of his dedicated support of continuing education for crop advisors and growers throughout the state.
The Excellence in Crop Advising Award highlights the efforts made by growers and service advisors who follow production strategies that enhance productivity, maintain the economic viability of farm operations and help sustain Florida’s natural resources.
Hurner received the award during Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach on Oct. 25.
Statewide environmental award presented to Florida Farmers
Gainesville, Fla. – Paul and Annick Deroose, owners of Deroose Plants Inc. in Apopka, and Allen and Nicki Smith, owners of Southern Accent Farm in Okeechobee, have received the 2012 Commissioner’s Ag-Environmental Leadership Award. This award recognizes innovative, outstanding natural resource management by farm producers who supply us with food, fiber and renewable fuels.
Both couple received the award from Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam during Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach on Oct. 26.
“It is an honor to highlight the efforts and accomplishments of these couples,” Putnam said. “Together we can protect and preserve our state’s vital natural resources.”
Deroose Plants Inc. features a state-of-the-art recycling system that allows the nursery to capture and recycle irrigation water. The system is so efficient and effective that the business has only used a well twice in 12 years of operation.
Southern Accent Farm’s has implemented various strategies to protect wetlands. The Smith’s have also installed the largest array of commercial solar panels in the territory served by the Glades Electric Cooperative.
Farmer receives highest honor at Florida Farm Bureau’s Annual Convention
Gainesville – D.A. Lewis Jr., a lifelong Marion County farmer, has been named the recipient of Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award. Lewis received the award during Florida Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting at Ponte Vedra Beach on Oct. 25.
The award – the highest honor Farm Bureau offers – recognizes outstanding farm production, dedication to the agricultural calling and long-term support for the organization. In making the presentation FFB President John Hoblick said he was pleased to introduce such a deserving candidate for the honor.
“Thank you for your good service to Farm Bureau and Florida agriculture,” Hoblick said. “We appreciate your contributions over many years.”
Lewis is a beef cattle and hay producer who also has extensive experience as a peanut and vegetable grower. He has been a director of the Marion County Farm Bureau since 1977 and served as president from 1982 to 1988. An effective spokesman for agriculture, Lewis has served as volunteer leader in Farm-City Week, Food Check-Out Week and 4-H club activities. In addition, he has been a long-term leader in the Southeastern Youth Fair, local Ag in the Classroom events and other educational programs for young people. Along with several colleagues, Lewis helped to create major scholarship funds sustained by the Marion County Farm Bureau for agricultural majors who attend the University of Florida and for students at the
College of Central Florida.
According to Marion County Farm Bureau Director Todd Dailey, “his experience and knowledge of farming, combined with his passion to mentor and educate youth make him an exceptional ambassador for agriculture.” Local residents recently inducted Lewis into the Marion County Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Excellence in Agriculture Award announced at Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla.— Emily Eubanks of Alachua County has been chosen as the winner of Florida Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Agriculture competition. This competition is open to farmers and ranchers who are under the age of 35 and do not derive the majority of their income from an owned farm operation.
The winner was announced during the President’s Celebration and Awards Ceremony at Florida Farm Bureau’s 71st Annual Meeting at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort in Ponte Vedra Beach, Oct. 24-26.
Finalists in the competition also included Matt Hickey of Clay County and Trent Matthews of Santa Rosa County.
Contestants were judged on the basis of their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, participation in Farm Bureau and community service. In addition to other prizes, Eubanks received an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in January where she will compete in the national awards program.
Emily Eubanks and her husband John raise their two children on their 8th generation Ramsey Stock Farm in Micanopy, Fla. Eubanks is the communications coordinator for the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology. She manages a garden program for television and radio along with a consumer horticulture website. Eubanks is a leader in the Micanopy 4-H and serves as a board member for the Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show and the Alachua County Cattlemen Association. Eubanks also serves as the Alachua County Young Farmers and Ranchers chair and is a member of the Florida Farm Bureau State Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Group. Eubanks holds a B.S. and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Communications from the University of Florida.
Local dairyman elected as Florida Farm Bureau’s state treasurer
Gainesville – Rod Land, a Lafayette County dairyman, has been elected as treasurer of Florida Farm Bureau. The election was held on Oct. 26 by the organization’s state directors immediately after Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Land represents Farm Bureau members in Madison, Taylor, Jefferson and Lafayette counties on the state board. He is also President of the Lafayette County Farm Bureau.
Local dairyman elected to Florida Farm Bureau’s state board
Gainesville – Jacob Larson, an Okeechobee County local dairy farmer, has been elected as a member of the Florida Farm Bureau state board of directors. The election was held on Oct. 26 during Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Larson will represent Farm Bureau members in Okeechobee, Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie counties.
Farm Bureau honors Hays and Albritton with 2012 “Legislator of the Year” award
Gainesville, Fla.--State Sen. Alan Hays (R-20) and state Rep. Ben Albritton (R-66) received Florida Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year award during the 2012 Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach Oct. 24-26. Both lawmakers have earned the recognition because of their outstanding leadership and for their support of production agriculture.
Sen. Hays, a semi-retired dentist, has served as the chair of the budget subcommittee on general government appropriations and has been a member of the agriculture, banking and insurance, budget, criminal justice, joint administrative procedures committee, among other duties.
Rep. Albritton, a self-employed business manager, displayed spirited leadership on behalf of agriculture.
Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick expressed his appreciation for the work of both men. “We are grateful to Sen. Hays and Rep. Albittron for their committed support of farm producers throughout Florida,” Hoblick said. “Our members have routinely found that these public leaders endorse sound public policy that helps sustain production agriculture. We are pleased to acknowledge and recognize them for their good service to agriculturists and the people of Florida.”
The awards were presented during an Oct. 25 luncheon at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort – the site of the annual meeting.
Statewide environmental award announced at Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
Gainesville, Fla. – Allen and Nicki Smith, owners of Southern Accent Farm in Okeechobee, have received the 2012 Commissioner’s Ag-Environmental Leadership Award. This award recognizes innovative, outstanding natural resource management by farm producers who supply us with food, fiber and renewable fuels.
The couple received the award from Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam during Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach on Oct. 26.
The Smith beef cattle operation has implemented various strategies to protect wetlands. The couple has also installed the largest array of commercial solar panels in the territory served by the Glades Electric Cooperative.
“It is an honor to highlight the efforts and accomplishments of Allen and Nicki Smith,” Putnam said. “Together we can protect and preserve our state’s vital natural resources.”
Local grower elected to Florida Farm Bureau’s state board
Gainesville – Jeb Smith, a Putnam County farmer, has been elected to a seat on Florida Farm Bureau’s state board of directors. The election was held on Oct. 26 at Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Smith is also president of the Putnam/St. Johns County Farm Bureau. He will represent Farm Bureau members in Flagler, Marion, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
Florida Farm Bureau re-elects vice president
Gainesville – Brant Schirard, a third generation citrus grower, has been re-elected to a two-year term as vice president of Florida Farm Bureau. The election was held at the organization’s 2012 annual meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach on Oct. 26.
Schirard, a St. Lucie County farmer, has served in the organization’s second highest office for four years. He produces citrus both for the fresh market and for juice.
“I am truly honored to serve Florida Farm Bureau and its members,” Schirad said. “I appreciate the opportunity to continue my support of our programs and policies on behalf of our farm families across the state.”