Statewide Meeting Honors Volunteers

November 2022

Left to right: 2022 Achievement in Agriculture state finalists Amanda Borek (Gilchrist County), John David Peterson (Baker County) and Lee Bigham (Jackson County).

More than 400 grassroots members gathered at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Oct. 26-28, 2022. Florida Farm Bureau voting delegates discussed and approved policy resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureaus throughout the state. The resolutions were adopted as policy for 2023.

Voting delegates also elected the following officers of the state board: Steve Johnson of Hardee County as vice-president, Michael J. Dooner of Gadsden County as treasurer and Clay Archey of Seminole County as secretary. Other newly elected board members included Steven Dicks (District 6), Glenn Ritch (District 8), Reed Hartman (District 18) and Matt Gonzales (YF&R Chair). To view a full listing of board directors, visit https://www.floridafarmbureau.org/state-board/.

The meeting included award and recognition programs to honor outstanding young farmers and ranchers, state lawmakers and the accomplishments of county Farm Bureaus and individual members for their service to agriculture.

Florida Farm Bureau presented a notable list of awards to recognize its volunteer members at the annual meeting, including:

Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement in Agriculture Award: Lee Bigham (Jackson County);

Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award: K’Leigh Combs (Duval County);

Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet Award: Bernie LeFils (Volusia County);

Collegiate Discussion Meet Award: Maddie Dvorak (University of Florida Collegiate Farm Bureau);

Youth Speech Contest Winner: Mackenzie Cunningham (Volusia County);

Newsperson of the Year Award: Dawn West (Nassau County);

Volunteer Communicator of the Year Award: Morgan Pinkerton (Seminole County)

Excellence in Crop Advising Award: De Broughton (Suwannee County)

Extension Professional of the Year Award: Dr. Ann Blount (Gadsden County)

Legislator of the Year Award: Sen. Ben Albritton and Rep. Lawrence McClure

Distinguished Service Award: William Dudley Putnam III (Polk County)

2023 Florida Farm Bureau Farmer of the Year: Wade Purvis (Lee County)

Commissioner’s Ag-Environmental Leadership Award: Lynetta Usher Griner of Usher Land & Timber (Levy County), Brooks Garland of Lee Peanut Farms (Madison County) and Marlon L. Pendergrass of the Groves of Peace River (Hardee County).

Multiple county Farm Bureaus received awards of excellence for achieving top membership and/or sale of fresh products offered by Florida Agricultural Marketing Association, a subsidiary of Florida Farm Bureau.