In addition, the class toured the Redlands Christian Migrant Association's center in Belle Glade.
Along with members of FFVA's board of directors, the leadership group met in March with legislators and state officials during a two-day Tallahassee trip. They met with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Senate President Don Gaetz and Deputy Secretary Greg Munson of the Department of Environmental Protection.
The class completed its “course work” in June with a busy three-day California farm tour. The itinerary included lettuce, berry, garlic, pepper, mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower, artisan lettuce, celery and grape production. The group also saw the next generation of “visioning technology” in equipment.
The class visited Uesugi Farms and Christopher Ranch in Gilroy; Gizdich Ranch and Monterey Mushrooms in Watsonville; Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Wish Farms, Ramsay Manufacturing, Taylor Farms, Mann Packing, Bengard Ranch, Tanimura & Antle and Dole in Salinas; Gonzales Packing in Gonzales; and Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad.
The 15-stop tour also included a meeting with representatives from Western Growers Association, the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California and United Fresh Produce Association.
Special thanks to DuPont Crop Protection, which is the sustaining sponsor for the ELDP. Thanks also to Farm Credit National Contributions and the United Fresh Produce Association for a grant to help offset costs of the California trip.
Lisa Lochridge is the director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in Maitland. She can be reached at 321-214-5206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.