The past month has been a busy one in the ag community, and it has filled me with admiration of and appreciation for the incredible people in it.
The Polk County Farm Bureau held its 81st Annual Membership Meeting on October 12, where the community recognized the accomplishments of Lexi Sanchez, Dawn Coatney, David Byrd, and Ellis Hunt. Keitha Bennett and Jessica Anderson shed light on the various education programs and projects in the works. Check out the photos from the event on page 24.
On October 25, the Florida Blueberry Growers Association held its Fall Meeting and Short Course in Lakeland, where Ag Commissioner Wilton Simpson took time to talk with growers and a panel discussion shed light on hot topics. You can find photos from the even on page 30.
Camaraderie resonated throughout both meetings, as did innovation and skill.
But it doesn’t end there! My inbox was filled with pleasant surprises this month. First, I was introduced to the writing of budding poet Alex Bryant, an 18-year-old junior at Frostproof High School. His beautiful writing is powerful and insightful, capturing the true spirit of Florida ag. I encourage you to read some of his work on page 36. Nice job, Alex!
I also heard from a young lady named River Selser, who is a Girl Scout Cadet working toward her Silver Award. River is working on a project called “Planting for Pollinators,” in which she is raising funds for signage and a pollinator-friendly garden at Michael V. Lewis Arboretum in Winter Haven. One of the signs, she says, will educate the public about pollinators, while the other will explain Florida-friendly, pollinator-friendly plants. In addition to the educational signage, a small demonstration pollinator plant garden area will be installed. Possible plants planned for the garden include firebush, dutchman’s pipe vine (maypop), milkweed, and beautyberry.
I’m blown away by the drive of these young individuals. But then again, a strong community and strong role models pave the way for future generations. So while I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m still delighted to get a glimpse at what the future holds if it’s in the hands of students like Alex and River.