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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.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
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.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS & SKILLS
• 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
processes.
• 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
leaders.
• 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.
PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS
• Degree in communications, marketing, or public relations with an agricultural
background.
• 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.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS
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.

WORK ENVIRONMENT
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

APPLY NOW

Your Land Grand Partner

September FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

By J. Scott Angle
jangle@ufl.edu
@IFAS_VP

 

 

 

 

 

It was a big day in August 2021 at the Hawthorne Creek Creamery. For the first time, Kevin Lussier loaded a truck with Gouda and shipped it off to a major supermarket chain.

The people who mattered most were there. They included his wife and business partner, Shelby. There was his dad Matt, who had Kevin working cows from the time he was 9. And there was the friend, mentor, scientist and problem solver to whom he’s so often turned to help keep Alachua County’s last private commercial dairy afloat: UF/IFAS Extension agent Cindy Sanders.

Lussier has asked Sanders for help navigating the complex food safety rules he needs to follow to be a cheese maker. He asked her to help him demonstrate for county regulators that he was taking proper steps to protect the creek from which his business draws its name. He asked her about how to kill weeds and how long after spraying he should wait to harvest hay.

Usually, he just called her. Other times, she’d ride shotgun in Lussier’s 22-year-old Chevy Silverado, cruising a pasture and answering his questions about what forages to plant and when, where and how to seed the fields.

So it was meaningful to both of them that Sanders could be there for such an important moment. But it was a moment. As soon as the truck pulled away, Sanders returned to the primary purpose of her visit—to help Lussier become a better farmer and better leader.

This time she asked the questions: How do you market the cheeses? Will you expand into ice cream? How has your involvement in Farm Bureau helped you get started as dairy farmer?

The questions were designed not only to elicit his competency as a farmer, but to hone his ability as a leader to articulate what he does, and what Florida agriculture is all about, to a visitor. Sanders was there as a mock judge for the Florida Farm Bureau’s Achievement in Agriculture competition, which recognizes the state’s top young farmer for excelling as producer and leader.

Sanders and Lussier also have a record of working together as agriculture ambassadors. Lussier is the state and the Alachua County Young Farmers & Ranchers president. Sanders chairs the Alachua County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee.

They serve together on the county Farm Bureau board. Three years ago, dissatisfied with Farm-City Week programming, they helped organize an agriculture day at the Cade Museum in downtown Gainesville. Their plan was to show off local food to 200 non-farmers. More than 1,500 people showed up.

Lussier credits his father with helping him get started by sharing his land, barn and herd.

Lussier inherited from his dad another key element of the operation—the expertise of Sanders. From the time she became a county agent 21 years ago—when Lussier was 6 years old—Lussier’s father was calling her about forages and asking her to drive the pastures with him.

When it came time for Lussier to go into business, he had so much more information, thanks to the Internet, than his father ever did. That was a curse as much as a blessing, though. He needed information he could trust. Sanders had already established that trust through what at the time was 15 years of calls, emails, referrals and farm visits.

Sanders and Lussier got to visit with each other at the Florida Farm Bureau annual meeting in Orlando last October. She was in Orlando to see Lussier honored for winning the Achievement in Agriculture competition she had prepped him for.

Just like that day at the dairy when they celebrated the cheese shipment, Sanders had another reason to be there. On the strength of a nomination from the Alachua County Farm Bureau board, Sanders was honored as the Florida Farm Bureau Extension Professional of the Year.

They sat together at their respective ceremonies. Lussier’s parents were there, as was Shelby, who shared the honor with him. As the state winners, Kevin and Shelby got $500 and the keys to a new Ford F150.

Sanders hasn’t been a passenger in the new truck yet. It’s Lussier’s going-into-town-vehicle, and Sanders always comes to him. She’s just fine with riding shotgun in the Silverado.

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).

Rooted in Resilience YF&R Spotlight: Matt and Kayla Gonzales

September FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Matt and Kayla Gonzales are first generation ranchers with a dream to leave a legacy for their children. The two got their first taste of agriculture when they joined FFA in high school, which is also how they met. As their love for agriculture (and each other) grew, they  decided to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga. Matt received his bachelor of science in diversified agriculture. After finishing her associates in animal science at ABAC, Kayla received her bachelor of science in animal science with a focus on animal food production from the University of Florida. Kayla plans to finish her masters in agronomy in the spring of 2023.

After graduation, the couple moved back to Florida to pursue agricultural careers. Kayla is the office and data manager at Fenco Farms and Matt is the beef division manager at Sparr. In addition to their full time jobs, the Gonzales’ started an agricultural consulting service in 2021 and beef cattle herd of their own in 2018.

Kayla and Matt first learned about Farm Bureau through their district field representative and were founding members of the Levy and Gilchrist County Young Farmers & Ranchers groups. They enjoy participating in activities like Ag in the Classroom and the peanut and blueberry festivals held in Levy County each year.

“Farm Bureau provides really great opportunities to learn about different commodities and meet new people,” said Matt. “These connections have offered us the opportunity to expand our network and knowledge of agriculture.”

As first generation college graduates and agriculturalists, Matt and Kayla’s dream is to leave a legacy for their ten month old son, John David.

“When they announced the theme I thought that was a really cool theme because it really does resonate with us,” said Kayla. “We have to be resilient because there are a lot of obstacles, trials and tribulations that come our way. Being rooted in resilience gives us the strength to continue to put our efforts to being successful in our farming and ranching operations.”

Land Grant Partner: UF/IFAS Extension

August FloridAgriculture eNewseltter

By J. Scott Angle
jangle@ufl.edu
@IFAS_VP

It was a big day in August 2021 at the Hawthorne Creek Creamery. For the first time, Kevin Lussier loaded a truck with Gouda and shipped it off to a major supermarket chain.

The people who mattered most were there. They included his wife and business partner, Shelby. There was his dad Matt, who had Kevin working cows from the time he was 9. And there was the friend, mentor, scientist and problem solver to whom he’s so often turned to help keep Alachua County’s last private commercial dairy afloat: UF/IFAS Extension agent Cindy Sanders.

Lussier has asked Sanders for help navigating the complex food safety rules he needs to follow to be a cheese maker. He asked her to help him demonstrate for county regulators that he was taking proper steps to protect the creek from which his business draws its name. He asked her about how to kill weeds and how long after spraying he should wait to harvest hay.

Usually, he just called her. Other times, she’d ride shotgun in Lussier’s 22-year-old Chevy Silverado, cruising a pasture and answering his questions about what forages to plant and when, where and how to seed the fields.

So it was meaningful to both of them that Sanders could be there for such an important moment. But it was a moment. As soon as the truck pulled away, Sanders returned to the primary purpose of her visit—to help Lussier become a better farmer and better leader.

This time she asked the questions: How do you market the cheeses? Will you expand into ice cream? How has your involvement in Farm Bureau helped you get started as dairy farmer?

The questions were designed not only to elicit his competency as a farmer, but to hone his ability as a leader to articulate what he does, and what Florida agriculture is all about, to a visitor. Sanders was there as a mock judge for the Florida Farm Bureau’s Achievement in Agriculture competition, which recognizes the state’s top young farmer for excelling as producer and leader.

Sanders and Lussier also have a record of working together as agriculture ambassadors. Lussier is the state and the Alachua County Young Farmers & Ranchers president. Sanders chairs the Alachua County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee.

They serve together on the county Farm Bureau board. Three years ago, dissatisfied with Farm-City Week programming, they helped organize an agriculture day at the Cade Museum in downtown Gainesville. Their plan was to show off local food to 200 non-farmers. More than 1,500 people showed up.

Lussier credits his father with helping him get started by sharing his land, barn and herd.

Lussier inherited from his dad another key element of the operation—the expertise of Sanders. From the time she became a county agent 21 years ago—when Lussier was 6 years old—Lussier’s father was calling her about forages and asking her to drive the pastures with him.

When it came time for Lussier to go into business, he had so much more information, thanks to the Internet, than his father ever did. That was a curse as much as a blessing, though. He needed information he could trust. Sanders had already established that trust through what at the time was 15 years of calls, emails, referrals and farm visits.

Sanders and Lussier got to visit with each other at the Florida Farm Bureau annual meeting in Orlando last October. She was in Orlando to see Lussier honored for winning the Achievement in Agriculture competition she had prepped him for.

Just like that day at the dairy when they celebrated the cheese shipment, Sanders had another reason to be there. On the strength of a nomination from the Alachua County Farm Bureau board, Sanders was honored as the Florida Farm Bureau Extension Professional of the Year.

They sat together at their respective ceremonies. Lussier’s parents were there, as was Shelby, who shared the honor with him. As the state winners, Kevin and Shelby got $500 and the keys to a new Ford F150.

Sanders hasn’t been a passenger in the new truck yet. It’s Lussier’s going-into-town-vehicle, and Sanders always comes to him. She’s just fine with riding shotgun in the Silverado.

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).

 

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 https://www.floridafarmbureau.org/annual-meeting-2022/.

Rooted in Resilience: Kateland Raney

August 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Kateland Raney has been immersed in the cattle industry since she was a young girl. Her parents owned and operated a livestock market for nearly 20 years and currently own a cow-calf operation. Raney grew up rodeoing and showing steers and beef heifers at the Polk County Fair.

In addition to her job as an agricultural loan closer at AgAmerica, Raney owns a commercial cow-calf operation and is the bookkeeper for her family’s beef business. She and her father run a direct to consumer beef business named Pine Lakes Beef Company. Together, they raise, and sell individual cuts to customers.

Although she was aware of the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Raney credits her involvement in the Young Farmers & Ranchers program to one of her colleagues at AgAmerica. He invited Raney to a meeting and she was surprised at the amount of people she knew and how much she enjoyed it. Since that first meeting, Raney has involved herself in the Polk County YF&R group and currently serves as county co-chair and represents District 5 on the state leadership team.

“I love the relationships I get to build with other farmers and ranchers from not only across the state, but across the country,” said Raney. “It’s nice to be around people who share the same interest. Having the opportunity to go on farm tours and be introduced to other commodities that I don’t necessarily know, has really helped grow my knowledge of the industry. Every farm has story and it’s really cool to see first hand how time has shaped these operations into what they are now.”

Raney is proud of the growth she has seen in District 5 and the events they host for members. They have recently seen great success on their first district farm tour held earlier this year. With approximately 40 people in attendance, members from across the district toured farms in the area and heard from professionals in agriculture. YF&R members from the panhandle drove down for the tour as well. Despite rainy weather and many alterations to the day’s schedule, the group remained resilient and had a successful event. Raney said she is excited to make the tour a semiannual event.

“Farmers and Ranchers are resilient by nature. Overcoming hardships and rebounding quickly from setbacks, is a necessity to continue to provide for our families and the country”, said Raney. “The passion we share for the ag industry is greater than the struggles being faced at the time, and at the end of the day, all of the hard work will be worth it.”

 

 

 

Assistant Director of Public Relations

Essential duties:

  • Outstanding and effective writing and editing skills
  • Proactively pitches positive stories and engages with media
  • Seasoned social media strategist with proven experience in developing content across digital platforms
  • Reviews media requests and responds in a timely manner
  • Ambition to introduce new storytelling approaches and lead the way in delivering a branded and unified message in support of farmers and rancher members.
  • Knowledge of news media monitoring systems, such as Cision preferred.
  • Ability to create and manage a budget
  • Oversees and trains department staff as needed on projects and day-to-day communication needs
  • Oversees project content calendar and collaborates with departments on production of materials

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Qualification Requirements:
• Four-year college degree (major study in journalism, public relations or related discipline preferred)
• Ability to use the tools of Microsoft Office suite, including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint (experience with desktop publishing programs preferred)
• A basic knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite programs
• Skill in placing and editing text, photographs and other data using WordPress
• Advanced ability to use Social Media platforms
• Superior interpersonal relationship skills
• Demonstrated knowledge of emerging media
• A willingness to build upon existing skills and develop new ones in the position

Travel Requirements:
Must be able to travel within the state or elsewhere.

Language Skills:
Must be able to read and interpret documents. Proficiency in writing letters, news articles and press releases must be demonstrated with completed work. Must be able to make presentations before both professional and non-professional audiences.

Mathematical Skills:
Must have a knowledge of basic mathematical concepts and be able to apply them in various tasks of calculation and computation.

Reasoning Ability:
Must be able to solve practical problems and operate with a number of variables in situations that are not determined by standard, repetitive arrangements. Must possess the ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram or schedule form.

Physical Demands:
The physical actions expressly stated or implied above are representative of the kinds of demands that must be met by the employee to perform in this position successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made so that individuals with disabilities may be enabled to carry out the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, use hands to finger, handle or feel objects, tools and controls and see, talk and hear. The employee is occasionally required to reach with hands or arms. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, stoop, kneel, crouch and/or crawl. The employee must use a computer keyboard and view a screen.

The employee must frequently lift or move up to 10 pounds. Specific vision requirements required by this job include close-up vision and the ability to adjust focus.

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.

No Phones Calls Please.

Apply Now 

Florida Farm Bureau Federation Staff Directory

EXECUTIVE OFFICE | 352.374.1504
Jeb Smith, President
Staci Sims, Chief Operating Officer
Amanda Overstreet, Executive Secretary

ACCOUNTING | 352.378.8100
Liza Bradford, Director
Debbie Westbrook, Controller
Wendy Bryant, Accountant, County Services
Shelley Keppel, Accounting Clerk III
Emily Parrish, Accounting Clerk II

AGRICULTURE EDUCATION SERVICES AND TECHNOLOGY (AEST) | 855.315.8745
Keitha Bennett, Director
VACANT, Assistant Director
Blair Buchanon, AEST Coordinator

AG POLICY | 352.374.1543
Jaime Jerrels, Director
Jason Mathis, Assistant Director
Geoffrey Patterson, Assistant Director
Donyelle St. Pierre, Administrative Assistant

FIELD SERVICES | 352.384.2630
Jason Davison, Director
Halee Winder, Membership Acquisition Manager
Michele Curts, Leadership Programs Coordinator
Lauren Philipps, Member Benefits Marketing Representative
Caraline Coombs, Membership Assistant
Taylor Swoyer, Administrative Assistant
Allen Scheffer, District 1 Field Representative
Hannah Love, District 2 Field Representative
Greg Harden, District 3 Field Representative
Jared Lanier, District 4 Field Representative
Ellen Cruz, District 5 Field Representative
Andy Neuhofer, District 6 Field Representative
Kyndall Bauer, District 7 Field Representative
Sam Phares, District 8 Field Representative

FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL MARKETING ASSOCIATION (FAMA) | 352.728.1561
Chad Roberts, Director
Nathan Stewart, Assistant Director
Cody Clark, Manager of Direct Marketing
Suzanne Makin, Operations Manager
Jill Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant

GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | 352.374.1543
Charles Shinn, Director
Curt Williams, Assistant Director
Jake Fojtik, Assistant Director
Donyelle St. Pierre, Administrative Assistant

NATIONAL AFFAIRS | 352.384.2658
John Walt Boatright, Director

PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS | 352.374.1535

Rachael Smith, Director
VACANT, Assistant Director
Shelby Martin, Communications Coordinator
Jessica Wells, Digital Media Coordinator
Nathalie Yoder, Social Media Coordinator

STATE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS | 850.222.2557
Courtney Larkin, Director
Madeline Wright, Assistant Director
Christine Scovotto, Facilities, Office and Events Coordinator

EPA Issues PFAS Limits in Parts Per Trillion

July 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

EPA published ‘Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisory for Four Perfluoroalkyl Substances’ in the Federal Register on June 21, 2022.  The new health advisory levels are in the parts per quadrillion range which is not currently achievable by commercial laboratories. 

Interim updated health advisory for PFOA = 0.004 ppt 

Interim updated health advisory for PFOS = 0.02 ppt 

Final health advisory for GenX chemicals = 10 ppt 

Final health advisory for PFBS = 2,000 ppt 

Though PFAS compounds are derived in industrial processes, they have been known to impact agriculture through groundwater close to where PFAS compounds were used and through the application of biosolids on forage crops (including pasture) for livestock.    

Given EPA’s new health advisory levels, farmers and ranchers utilizing municipal biosolids need to be aware of the potential presence of PFAS compounds and the risks associated with application.   

More information about PFAS compounds and the impact on agriculture can be found on a very thorough webpage provided by Dragun Corporation.  The webpage can be accessed by clicking here. 

Reimbursement for COVID-19 Prevention and Protection Expenses

July 2022 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has funding available to reimburse growers for 100% of their COVID-19 Prevention & Protection expenses between April 2, 2021 and now (or until September 2025). The process to get fully reimbursed only takes a few steps. Eligible expenses are: Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): Gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, touchless thermometers, clothing and foot coverings, disinfectant spray, COVID-19 test kits.

Facility Adjustments for Worker and Product Safety: Plexiglass barriers and installation, handwashing stations, appropriate sanitary dividers and installation, portable ventilation/air filtration systems, touchless faucets and installation, touchless toilets and installation, touchless hand dryers and installation, touchless soap dispensers and installation. 

Specialty Crop Assistance Available 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will provide assistance through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program HR133 Assistance Program for eligible expenses related to costs associated with COVID-19 prevention and protection.

To be eligible for the Specialty Crop Assistance Program, applicants must be specialty crop growers, specialty crop processors, and/or specialty crop distributors. Please refer to the USDA-AMS lists of specialty crops and eligible and ineligible crops. 

  • Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis until funds are depleted. 
  • Each operation may only receive one reimbursement per year the program is offered. 
  • Expenses prior to April 2, 2021 will not be approved for reimbursement. 
  • Last day to apply for assistance: September 1, 2025. 
  • Application reimbursement minimum: $565. 
  • Program funds available: $2,735,124. 

Eligible Expenses:

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): Gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, touchless thermometers, clothing and foot coverings, disinfectant spray,  COVID-19 test kits.

Facility Adjustments for Worker and Product Safety: Plexiglass barriers and installation, handwashing stations, appropriate sanitary dividers and installation, portable ventilation/air filtration systems, touchless  faucets and installation, touchless toilets and installation, touchless hand dryers and installation, touchless soap dispensers and installation.

Application Instructions: 

  1. Register as a state vendor at www.myfloridamarketplace.com. 
  1. Provide a substitute W9 form to the Florida Department of Financial Services. 
  1. Complete the HR133 Assistance Program application. 
  1. Provide proof of purchase: Invoices marked “paid”, cancelled checks, or other substantial documentation of any costs to be reimbursed detailing purchased item or installations. 

Where to Apply: Email the application and proof of purchase cost documentation to:  SpecialtyCrop@FDACS.gov

For additional questions call (850) 617-7397 or email SpecialtyCrop@fdacs.gov.