St. Lucie County President, Gary “Bud” Roberts, is a South Florida native, born and raised in Fort Pierce. His family began a nursery business in the late 1970s and produce woody ornamentals, landscape trees, native trees-oaks, pines and crepe myrtles. The Roberts’ family history in Florida Farm Bureau dates back to 1986 when Roberts’ father, Gary Sr., was the state Achievement in Agriculture Award winner.
“My dad served on the local board of directors and I remember being involved in Farm Bureau community at a young age,” he said. Roberts attended the university of Florida where he received a bachelors degree in business and environmental horticulture in 2006. Upon graduation, he returned home to the family farm.
Today, Gary Roberts Nursery is a full-scale nursery operation which includes 10 acres of grapes on the vine. “Ten years ago we began Summer Crush Vineyard and Winery, and we grow Muscadine grapes,” he said. Roberts got involved in the St. Lucie County Farm Bureau by joining the local board in 2017 where he has served as treasurer and secretary. January 2022 will mark his one-year term as president.
“I remember growing up spending my summers potting plants and working on the landscape crew,” Roberts mentioned. “I got to experience all phases of the business and a little bit of everything.” Roberts and his wife Ariana, a kindergarten schoolteacher, live on the family farm with their two children.
Roberts said that there are two main events in St. Lucie County that he is particularly proud of, one of them being the annual Cattle Extravaganza cattle show at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds. In its second year, the event encourages local youth to be involved and expresses the many facets of Florida agriculture. Past YF&R State Leadership Group member, Kyle Patterson, has helped spearhead the event which takes place in December.
For the past 17 years, St. Lucie County Farm Bureau has held the annual Clay Shoot which supports the county’s Youth Enhancement Fund. “We distribute usually between 3-5 scholarships to someone pursuing a career/degree in agriculture,” Roberts stated. “We also give out teacher mini-grants to local teachers who incorporate ag in their classrooms.”
“The agriculture industry has changed significantly in the last several years. Getting people involved in Ag has been difficult,” he said. ” We need to, as a grassroots organization, continue educating the public about Ag and what it means to our communities and explaining how important it is to our everyday life.”