Adam Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture

Growing the Future of Florida Agriculture Around the world, Florida is known for its white sandy

beaches, world-class theme parks and booming business cen- ters. However, few people realize that agriculture has also been an important part of our state for more than five centu- ries. Today, agriculture is entrenched in Florida’s culture and

economy. Tens of thousands of farms in Florida work day in and day out to produce the food and fiber that helps feed the world. These farms are also a driving force for our economy. Agriculture is one of the state’s largest industries, generating more $120 billion in annual economic impact and supports around 2 million jobs for Floridians. As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, a fifth generation

Floridian and a citrus grower and cattle rancher, I know agri- culture’s invaluable contributions to Florida’s culture and econ- omy firsthand. I also know that the future and continued suc- cess of our proud industry is dependent on further connecting our state’s residents to agriculture and the land, especially young people. I firmly believe that Florida’s fairs, livestock shows and youth organizations, like FFA and 4-H, will play a central role in reconnecting Florida to our agricultural roots. Having participated in fairs and livestock shows as an ex-

hibitor growing up, I can speak firsthand of how they are an excellent opportunity for communities to come together and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders while sharing the time-honored traditions of Florida agriculture.

Convention News They also present unique

opportunities for residents and visitors to learn more about Florida’s agriculture industry, its impact on the state’s economy, its role in feeding our nation and its potential as a career path. As Commissioner of Agri- culture, I’ve made it a top priori- ty to support Florida’s many fairs and livestock shows, as well as FFA and 4-H. Working with the Florida Legislature, we’ve helped fund

more than $1.7 million in support for 4-H and FFA and awards and premiums for deserving youth exhibitors. In addition, we’ve worked hard to grow the number of agriculture educa- tion facilities around the state. During my time as Commis- sioner of Agriculture, we’ve helped secure over $14 million in funding in the state budget for facilities that will promote agri- culture and educate Florida’s residents and visitors about its impact on our economy, culture and quality of life. Despite these investments, we still have a daunting task ahead of us. In the next 30 years, Florida’s population will be nearing 30 million, and the need to tell the story of Florida ag- riculture will be greater than ever before. I’m excited about what Florida’s fairs and livestock shows

are doing to tell the story of Florida agriculture’s past and fu- ture, and I value your partnership in working to reconnect Flor- ida to our agricultural roots.

First Time Attendee Networking Session

The Welcoming Committee chaired by Rita DeMier Lincoln, South Florida Fair initiated a networking session for first time attendees. They had 2-3 minutes to meet some of the long time Federation members and leaders. Clockwise: Lisa Hinton, Rita DeMier Lincoln, Moderator, South Florida Fair

Mentors; Clark Converse Pasco County Fair, Paul Davis, FL Strawberry

Festival, Jeanne Keaton, St. Lucie County Fair, Cheryl Flood, Florida State Fair, Dawn Rowe, Osceola County Fair, Doris Graska, Citrus County Fair.


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