| A longstanding ag tradition is diversifying its membership |
THE 64-YEAR-OLD FLORIDA CLUB, a social club promoting the state’s citrus industry, is broadening its focus and membership to include agriculture as a whole. “People are diversifying, rather than being in just oranges and grapefruit,” says club President Chris Barranco, manager of international sales for Florida’s Natural in Lake Wales.
Barranco, a club member for 10 years, says most of the members are based in Winter Haven, Haines City, Lake Wales, Sebring, and Lake Placid — “the seat of Florida citrus products.”
“The Florida club was designed to take care of dignitaries, political and other, when they came to the Central Florida area,” Barranco explains. The club, which currently has 80 members, is now aimed at promoting Florida agriculture. It donates funds annually for a scholarship to Florida Southern College’s Horticulture Science/Citrus Department.
Each year, the club features five main activities — a fall party, a Commissioner of Agriculture party, a Lake Wales Mardi Gras parade party, a ladies night function, and
a big end-of-the-year party, the black-tie Florida Club Ball.
To be a Florida Club member, individuals must meet one of these requirements:
1) Have their principle income derived from the agriculture industry;
2) Be a senior manager of a firm directly involved in the production, processing, sales, sale of products used for production or processing, financing, promotion or research of agricultural products; or
3) Own or effectively control at least 40 acres of agricultural products.
article by CHERYL ROGERS