All posts by Shelby Martin


Florida Farm Bureau Federation is the Sunshine State’s oldest and largest general agriculture organization. We pride ourselves in being the voice of Florida’s farmers and ranchers and keeping their traditions, values and heritage alive for generations to come. Since our founding in 1941, the District Field Representative has been an integral part of the success of our organization. Our District Field Representatives work closely with the volunteers of each county Farm Bureau within their assigned area to accomplish the goals and objectives of our organization. This career requires a person with a deep passion for agriculture, a servant leader’s heart and motivation to succeed.

As a member of the Field Services team, everyone is expected to personally exhibit, at all times, three standards: uncompromising integrity, unyielding work ethic and a positive attitude. Furthermore, our team members are energetic, high achievers with a genuine love for people and seek to consistently improve our personal and professional abilities.

This position is expected to work autonomously with minimal instruction or direction and be able to accomplish the following:
● Serve as a communication conduit between Florida Farm Bureau and the county Farm Bureaus in the district.
● Collaborate and work effectively with all members of the Florida Farm Bureau team to accomplish goals and objectives as assigned.
● Work closely with the county Farm Bureaus, regularly attend county events, represent the organization at activities, and increase engagement within county boards.
● Build and develop productive relationships with your county Farm Bureau leaders and members.
● Assist county Farm Bureaus in the promotion of agriculture within their respective communities.
● Assist county Farm Bureaus in the marketing of membership in order to increase recruitment and retention.
● Work closely with the Leadership Programs Coordinator in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the Young Farmers and Ranchers and Women’s Leadership Programs within their respective district.
● Assist county Farm Bureaus in surfacing and developing effective leaders. Examples are state advisory committee members, YF&R and Women’s participants.
● Speak on behalf of Florida Farm Bureau at various events throughout the district.
● Write articles on behalf of agriculture and Farm Bureau to newspapers, legislators, and others.
● Proficient in the operation of Microsoft Office applications (ie. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

In order to perform the job successfully, the District Field Representative must be able to perform all the aforementioned duties, while being required to plan, conduct and attend various evening and weekend activities. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and ability required.
The District Field Representative is required to live within one of the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington.

A bachelor’s degree in an agricultural related field from a four-year college or university, and two years of work experience or master’s degree required.

A District Field Representative must have the ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or government regulations. They also must be effective in writing reports, articles, and business correspondence to a variety of audiences. They should be proficient in presenting information in a professional manner and to competently respond to questions from groups, members, and the general public.

A District Field Representative is able to solve practical problems and interpret a variety of instructions and information furnished in written, oral, and other forms. Emotional intelligence is necessary to achieve productive relationships with our members and county Farm Bureaus.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee in order to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
1. While performing the duties of this job, the employee will be required to travel extensively by automobile, during all hours and in various weather conditions.
2. Will be required to aid and assist in setting up meetings, moving tables, plants and other materials moving weights up to 50-60 lbs.
3. May be required to drive a truck or van.

Exempt, Grade 10


The Many Uses of the Mason Jar

Since its invention in 1858, the Mason jar has found itself a useful everyday item. From canning to décor to drinkware, people have found it to be very versatile.

Invented and patented over 150 years ago by John Landis Mason, the unique glass jar features a screw threaded lid. Since its inception, the Mason jar (U.S. Patent No. 22,186) has been made in hundreds of shapes and cap designs. A true Mason jar is always made of glass and should feature an airtight sealed lid.

First popularized in farming communities for canning and displaying canned goods at county fairs, Mason jars continue to be a staple in rural households nationwide. Farmhouse chic has become a popular design trend for many homes and décor includes the iconic Mason jar.

Mason jars have been found useful for more than just canning. The jar can be used as a coffee cup, sugar or salt dispenser, condiment server, candy holder, or to go cup. For more kid friendly uses it can serve as a baby bottle, snow globe, or piggy bank.

Mason jars make great gifts as well. Pre-mix recipes, cake in a jar, DIY ornaments or frames are unique ideas to incorporate the versatile jar into a gift. It is also quite handy around the house and can be used to hold Q-tips, soap, flowers, candles, buttons, and pens.

For more information about the Mason jar, visit here.

Growing Forward: Kayla Thomason

December 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Kayla Thomason
YF&R State Leadership Group, District 7

Agriculture runs deep in Kayla Thomason’s blood. Her father managed a fresh citrus packing house for 40 years in St. Lucie County which introduced her to agriculture at a young age. Thomason has fond memories riding around citrus groves and camping out with family amongst the trees. In high school, Thomason began working on research trials for the University of Florida in a citrus postharvest lab. This is what spurred her passion for agriculture.

During her time at the University of Florida, Thomason interned with Syngenta in the plant pathology lab and her passion continued to grow. She graduated from UF with a bachelors in Environmental Management in Ag and Natural Resources in 2012 and went on to pursue a master’s in Agronomy in 2016 and a doctorate in Plant Medicine in 2017.

Upon graduation from UF, Thomason accepted a job as an agronomist for the Sugarcane Growers Cooperative of Florida. Thomason recently accepted a new role as a farm manager for King Ranch at one of their farms in South Florida. She currently grows sugarcane and sweet corn.

Thomason’s involvement with Florida Farm Bureau began when a college friend introduced her to the organization. At the time, her friend was on the state leadership group and encouraged Thomason to attend the Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers conference. During college, Thomason would volunteer at county events when she went home to visit.

After college, Thomason moved back to St. Lucie County and now sits on her county board. Joining the YF&R Leadership Group seemed like a logical step for Thomason to grow in her leadership skills and involvement in Farm Bureau.

“Farm Bureau has allowed me to network with so many people from around the state,” said Thomason. “I like being part of a group who wants to support their communities and who fight for agriculture to remain a vital part of Florida’s way of life.”

Thomason is proud of her county’s involvement in the community. Every February the St. Lucie County Farm Bureau hosts the Brian Schirard Memorial Clay Shoot. The clay shoot raises money for a scholarship fund that is awarded to high school students every year. In addition to the clay shoot, the county hosts a cattle show fundraiser each December. Named the Kyle Patterson Cattle Extravaganza, this show raises money to provide funds for anyone ages 18-35 that are furthering their career in any agricultural related field.

“It’s rare to find funding for anything other than college,” said Thomason. “I think having an opportunity to help young people develop much needed trade skills are important and I’m proud that we are able to do it.”

As more technology becomes available, agriculture is always evolving. Thomason continues to utilize new technology in her career like precision agriculture that pinpoints the exact amount of fertilizer to apply. Additionally, she has been testing soil moisture probes that will help reduce fuel consumption and resources needed to run irrigation.

“To me, ‘growing forward’ means utilizing new technology and practices to help overcome the many obstacles faced in agriculture so we can be as sustainable and productive as possible.”

In Tallahassee

November 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

By Madeline Wright and Courtney Larkin, FFB Legislative Affairs Team

The 2022 Election results were extremely positive for Florida Farm Bureau Federation, with 96% of FarmPAC supported candidates winning in the General Election.  More than 7.7 million votes  were cast across the Sunshine State; and Florida Bureau’s FarmPAC supported 43 out of the 45 candidates who will represent agriculture.

“On behalf of all of us at Florida Farm Bureau,” said Legislative Affairs Director Courtney Larkin, “We would like to extend a thank you for contributing to the FarmPAC. The success of our PAC, and our contributions to candidates wouldn’t be possible without your help.”


Historically a swing state, Florida shifted to red. Republicans flipped Miami- Dade County, a district that has not “gone red” for nearly two decades.

In the Senate, FarmPAC supported 10 Republicans and two Democrats.  In the House, FarmPAC supported 26 Republicans and three Democrats. FarmPAC formally endorsed both Governor Ron DeSantis for his reelection, and Senate President Wilton Simpson for Commissioner of Agriculture. The following candidates were supported by FarmPAC:


Governor Ron DeSantis secured his second term in a landslide victory over Congressman Charlie Crist with nearly a 20% margin. This win is the widest margin that Florida has seen in a gubernatorial race.

Former Pasco Farm Bureau President Wilton Simpson, has been elected as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture. Senate President Simpson is a friend to agriculture and has been a strong advocate for Florida Farm Bureau in the legislature.

Attorney General Ashley Moody defeated her democratic challenger to secure her position as Attorney General. Attorney General Moody is a former prosecutor and federal judge and was first elected in 2018.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis won his reelection campaign with 58% of the vote. CFO Patronis was appointed to the position in 2017 by then Governor Rick Scott, winning reelection in 2018.


In the senate, FarmPAC proudly had a 100% win across the board, with the following candidates being supported:

District 1: Senator Doug Broxson

District 2: Jay Trumbull

District 3: Corey Simon

District 6: Senator Jennifer Bradley

District 9: Senator Keith Perry

District 10: Senator Jason Brodeur

District 11: Blaise Ingoglia

District 16: Senator Darryl Rouson

District 20: Senator Jim Boyd

District 25: Senator Vic Torres

District 27: Senator Ben Albritton

District 28: Senator Kathleen Passidomo


We are proud to have supported so many great candidates for the House, and look forward to working with them as they keep our industry strong.

District 1: Representative Michelle Salzman

District 2: Representative Robert Alexander “Alex” Andrade

District 3: Joel Rudman

District 5: Shane Abbott

District 6: Griff Griffitts

District 7: Representative Jason Shoaf

District 8: Gallop P. Franklin

District 11: Representative Sam Garrison

District 19: Representative Paul Renner

District 22: Representative Charles Wesley “Chuck” Clemons, Sr.

District 23: Representative Ralph E. Massullo, MD

District 26: Representative Keith Truenow

District 35: Representative Fred Hawkins

District 38: Representative David Smith

District 51: Representative Josie Tomkow

District 55: Kevin M. Steele

District 58: Kim Berfield

District 59: Berny Jacques

District 68: Representative Lawrence McClure

District 70: Representative Mike Beltran

District 75: Representative Michael Grant

District 78: Representative Jenna Parsons-Mulicka

District 83: Representative Kaylee Tuck

District 84: Representative Dana Trabulsy

District 85: Representative Toby Overdorf

District 94: Representative Rick Roth

District 103: Representative Robin Bartleman

District 116: Representative Daniel A. Perez

District 117: Representative Kevin Chambliss

For questions on the agricultural candidates or FarmPAC, please contact Courtney Larkin at

Your Land Grant Partner: Dr. Angle

November 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

By J. Scott Angle

In the near future, a new UF/IFAS hub dedicated to revolutionizing agriculture will help you make a leap forward in farming.

A center for applied artificial intelligence in agriculture will be that hub. Last month we announced our plan for a 19,000-square-foot facility anchored by a workshop for developing precision ag machine prototypes.

GCREC Director Jack Rechcigl and Associate Director Nathan Boyd have been talking this up for some time. They invited me to GCREC about a year ago to present their vision to me and to a council of stakeholders. The council unanimously supported the project, and several members individually urged us to move on this immediately.

Plans call for research and office space as well and areas designed to encourage conversations to build teams for AI research and Extension. That’s important, because while the center will be based at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, it will develop technologies for the entire state, from the Everglades Agricultural Area to the Panhandle to the Tri-County Agricultural Area.

Hillsborough County has already made a $1.5 million commitment to the center. Our advancement team is seeking private support. We’re requesting funding from the legislature in 2023.

The center will be our most important facilities investment in a generation. We’ll need support from Tallahassee and possibly Washington. You can help by supporting our legislative budget request. I hope it will be top of mind for those of you who participate in Florida Farm Bureau Day and the Taste of Florida Agriculture Reception at the Capitol on March 8.

A center will add momentum to a movement. It will be a declaration that Florida’s farmers and agricultural scientists are the vanguard of feeding the world in a more sustainable way. It will be the epicenter of accelerated evolution of agriculture from human-labor-intensive to technology-driven.

We need to do this now. Global spending on smart technologies such as AI and machine learning directed toward agriculture is projected to triple in the next three years. There is enormous interest in scientific advance, giving us the opportunity to employ the land-grant university-industry-government partnership model to make major global impacts.

Help us imagine a future for agriculture that the center will help create, one where technology again keeps Florida globally competitive, producing our own food, employing Floridians, contributing to the local economy, and making Florida the leader in feeding the world.

There have been few moments in the history of UF/IFAS when the way to create the future is so visible and reachable. We have the experts to do it. The center will help unleash their talent and imagination.

J. Scott Angle is the University of Florida’s Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

Growing Forward: Chad Flint

November 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Chad Flint is a fourth-generation Floridian with a passion for agriculture. Flint resides in Lee County with his wife, Kirstin, and their son Tripp. In addition to running the family business of Structural Moving and Home Elevations, Flint manages their cow/calf operation in Glades County. Although it is just a part-time operation, Flint enjoys the opportunity to be involved in agriculture through his beef cattle herd.

Flint’s involvement with Florida Farm Bureau began through his cousin, an insurance agent in Lee County. At the time, he was involved with the Florida Cattlemen’s Association but was looking to be involved in an organization with likeminded people in his age bracket. His cousin introduced him to District 6 Field Representative Andy Neuhofer who encouraged Flint to become involved with the Young Farmers & Ranchers Group.

Because of his involvement in YF&R, Flint has made numerous connections across the state who share common interests and values.

“Everyone is always warm and welcoming and that is harder and harder to find in today’s world,” said Flint. “I enjoy the opportunities and exposure Farm Bureau provides whether it be from farm tours of different operations to meeting with legislators in Tallahassee. It provides you with insight on how everything works within the state.”

Flint has seen a lot of agricultural changes in his area. This has provided him with unique opportunities for agriculture to remain a part of their community. Their largest agricultural event is the Southwest Florida County Fair, an event Flint attended since he was a young child. He enjoys seeing 4-H and FFA youth show their animals and share their passion for agriculture with fair attendees. Flint assists with the livestock sales when needed.

As his community continues to change due to urban sprawl, Flint finds it important for agriculturalists to find new ways to continue growing forward.

Growing forward to me means continually innovating and looking into the future to adapt to all of the challenges we face as producers. I believe it is also important to maintain our collective values and morals and make sure that we do not lose those along the way. It is easy to lose sight of what is important in our day to day struggles but we have an obligation to preserve those things from the past and pass it down to the next generation.”


National Affairs Coordinator


POSITION OBJECTIVE: Coordinate National issues with Florida’s Congressional Delegation.

REPORTS TO: Director, Ag Policy Division


SUMMARY: Coordinates Florida Farm Bureau’s national affairs programs and serves as liaison with our 29 congressional offices and staff. Coordinates FFB’s Political Action Committee, including fundraising and other political activities. Provides support to the Ag Policy Division with policy development and implementation efforts through regulatory and legislative involvement. Is responsible for supporting and organizing county legislative programs.

Works closely with assigned advisory committees, sets meeting dates and agendas, maintains accurate minutes of the meetings. Must have the ability to build consensus among members to reach policy objectives.

Must have the ability to grasp agricultural related policy initiatives, programs and/or agency rules and communicate effectively with other staff and/or members. Must be capable of working with volunteers to achieve policy and legislative goals.

Should have sound communications skills including both speaking and written types of delivery. Must be capable of developing, preparing and presenting reports to staff, membership or others on various agricultural related issues. Must possess necessary computer skills to compile and present data in a variety of formats.

Should have ability to deal with the media through interviews and written comments.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE: Bachelor’s degree from four-year College or University with 1 to 3 years related experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.

LANGUAGE SKILLS: (Initial language – please modify according to info. supplied) Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports and business
correspondence. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, members, and the general public.

REASONING ABILITY: (Initial language – please modify according to info. supplied) Ability to solve practical business problems and interpret a variety of instructions and information furnished in written, oral, or other forms.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee in order to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
(Initial language – please modify according to info. supplied) While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear. Travel by automobile and air are required to perform this job.
Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision.
(Initial language – please modify according to info. supplied)

WORK ENVIRONMENT: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
(Initial language – please modify according to info. supplied) The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all the essential duties, responsibilities and requirements of personnel.

Apply Now

Rooted in Resilience: Jennifer Swain

October 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Jennifer Swain
YF&R State Leadership Group, District 6

Jennifer Swain’s life has been intertwined in numerous areas of agriculture. Surrounded by pecan orchards, cotton and peanut fields, Swain’s life first began in Alabama where her father worked in a carpet factory, and later, a plant nursery.

Because of her father’s involvement in agriculture, Swain was introduced to other areas of the industry such as watermelon, potato, sugar cane, citrus, and cattle. While she was still young, Swain and her parents moved back to their roots in Sebring where her grandfather had a citrus grove and was involved in the industry for nearly 40 years.

“I have fond memories of riding through the groves with my grandfather, learning to identify different citrus varieties, pests and diseases,” said Swain. “This family tradition of agricultural work sparked a lifelong love affair with the industry for me.”

In addition to her full time job as the Geographic Information System (GIS) Coordinator for Lykes Bros Inc., Swain is a first generation rancher and currently owns and operates her own beef cattle operation, Crimson and Lace LLC. Established in 2019, Swain’s long-term goal is to grow her ranch to be self-sustainable and serve as her full time job.

Swain’s involvement in Florida Farm Bureau began after a Highlands County Farm Bureau member shared his story and passion for the organization. She knew she wanted to be involved after hearing about the support Florida Farm Bureau offers farmers and ranchers across the state.

One of Swain’s favorite events she coordinates within her county is “Taste of the Heartland”. Held in the spring, this event coincides with the Avon Park Lake Farmers Market and is used to educate the community about different commodities grown locally. They reached out to other organizations and businesses like Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, Sutton Milk, local tractor dealerships and the Highlands County AgVenture program for support and donations.

“Bringing awareness to agriculture both publicly and legislatively has made a lasting impact on me,” said Swain.

As the District 6 representative of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Group, Swain has enjoyed networking with other members and participating in various professional development events.

“Above all else, I love knowing that I have a voice to share my passion with others, including legislators, who can help make a difference.”

Agriculture is used to its share of challenges, Swain stresses the importance of resilience. From regulatory issues to pests and diseases and most recently a natural disaster, she knows firsthand how important it is to adapt in order to survive.

“I’m a first-generation rancher, and my passion for this industry has always been rooted in my heart. When you’re proud of what you do, you’ll be better equipped to overcome any obstacles that come your way.”

AEST Assistant Director

Your primary responsibilities are to build, develop, and advance external strategic partner relationships with academia, the agriculture industry, government, and nongovernmental agencies. This position will direct our outreach efforts to build brand awareness and promote AEST’s various certification programs by assessing engagements through researching industry trends and attending industry events. Additionally, this position will stay abreast of changing market needs and trends.
Excellent organizational, communication, time management, critical thinking, project management, and effective team working skills are essential.

Develop and implement an effective industry outreach plan to help position AEST as the leader in supporting employment initiatives within the agriculture industry and beyond. Develop promotional campaigns, execute marketing activities, and oversee content development (graphics, videos, and other forms of digital media).
Establish, develop, and manage an Industry Relations Council to expand industry partnerships, increase partnership engagement, and capture opportunities to strengthen our market position.
Identify and acquire consistent economic and workforce data sources. Collect the necessary data and inputs from industry partners, commodity associations, and governmental agencies to track, evaluate, and credibly report certification use in agriculture employment data. Develop and maintain relationships with industry partners to determine internship opportunities and job availability, salary ranges, and educational requirements for emerging careers in agriculture as needed. This could include regular communication, industry visits, presentations, tours, recruiting events, and other professional development events.
Support stakeholder initiatives by participating in working groups, serving on committees,
and assisting with the promotion, implementation, and execution of plans and projects that
align with AEST initiatives, including those of our parent company.
Work with the leadership team to identify speaking and networking opportunities with
professional and trade organizations to promote AEST initiatives. Promote and market
certifications to various audiences, attend meetings, and/or make presentations to various
audiences to expand industry support and use of the certification program. This requires a
strong understanding of AEST certification exams and includes developing audience appropriate
engaging presentation materials, sourcing creative and appropriate
promotional materials, and participating in industry trade shows and meetings.
Manage the Hire.Ag job board and develop content for users. Develop, manage and
execute Hire.Ag marketing activities to build the program and drive industry participation.
Measure and report on the performance of marketing campaigns, gain insight and assess
against goals.

• Bachelor’s degree from a four-year College or University with 2 to 4 years related
experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
• Must possess a valid State of Florida driver’s license.
• Advanced computer knowledge includes Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint,
Publisher, and Internet usage.
• Ability to use social media platforms and management tools.
• Knowledge of traditional and digital marketing tools and best practices.
• Proven ability to successfully influence and lead others without direct authority.
• Ability to demonstrate initiative by taking responsibility for learning new skills and
• Excellent leadership, time management, and organization skills.
• Superior problem-solving and analytical skills.
• Excellent communication (written and verbal), presentation, facilitation, and listening
skills, including the ability to converse clearly and knowledgeably with industry
• Strong collaboration skills and willingness to be a team player to solve problems
and incorporate input from various sources.
• Solid planning and researching skills to help identify gaps, streamline processes,
and forecast future needs.
• Ability to work on strategic plans as well as day-to-day tasks.
• Ability to think both creatively and strategically.
• Ability to work under minimal supervision and be self-directed with the workload.
• Willingness to travel within the state by auto and occasional out-of-state air travel
for a day and/or overnight events.
• Willingness to work nights and weekends to meet business needs.
• Degree in communications, marketing, or public relations with an agricultural
• Professional certification/accreditation in agricultural communications (AEST), digital
marketing (AMA), public relations (APR), or equivalent.
• Working knowledge of Word Press, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.
• Graphic design skills.

An employee must meet the physical demands described here to perform the essential
functions of this job successfully. Reasonable accommodations may enable individuals
with disabilities to perform essential functions.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; while
using their hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; talk and hear. In
addition, the employee is occasionally required to stand and walk.
The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or
move up to 40 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision.

The work environment characteristics described here represent those an employee
encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable
accommodations may enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
The above statements describe the general nature and level of work being performed.
They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all the essential duties,
responsibilities, and personnel requirements.

No Phones Calls Please


2022 Florida Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

Florida Farm Bureau’s grassroots members will convene at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Oct. 26-28, 2022 for the organization’s 81st annual meeting, themed “Rooted in Resilience”.

This year’s meeting will be in-person and include a member benefits showcase, networking, volunteer recognitions and voting delegates will discuss and approve policy resolutions.

To register for this year’s annual meeting, visit