In my opening remarks at the annual meeting I mentioned that my theme for the year would be “Developing Leaders for the Future” and I listed four areas where I plan to focus in the next year. First, leadership development for the industry utilizing the new Florida Cattlemen’s Leadership Academy (FCLA) and industry internships for Florida students. Second, supporting the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation through continued promotion of the Ranch Rodeo State Finals and Cowboy Heritage Festival, and by growing the “Foundation Herd” to provide needed funding. Third, continuing to facilitate research that is relevant to the industry through our FCA priorities and by using the new funding just received by the legislature. Specifically, moving the UF Bos Indicus improvement proposal forward recently initiated by the Research & Education Committee. And fourth, continuing our efforts in Tallahassee and following up on initiatives started this past year on grazing of public lands and water policy.
I am happy to report that we have selected a new FCLA class of 12 individuals for the 2015/16 year. We had a great response from the county associations providing us with an excellent pool of candidates from whom to select this year’s class. Those selected will participate in quarterly leadership and industry training activities sponsored by the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation. Ned Waters as President Elect and I, along with other members of the executive team, will attend these quarterly training events. We look forward to getting to know the FCLA Class II members better; congratulations to those selected to participate!
I would ask those who can, to consider offering internship opportunities on your operation for college students interested in entering the business. We would like to add a listing of available internships to the FCA website that would provide students with a central “go to” location to identify internships that might be available. Including an internship opportunity on the website would not be an obligation to hire someone, but a commitment to at least review the applicant and consider hiring him or her. Of course, you could remove your name at any time. If you think you might be interested in offering an internship in the future please contact Dusty Holley at email@example.com to make us aware. We are just beginning to think about this program so understanding the level of interest from producers by contacting Dusty will be very helpful.