The convention has come and gone and I hope each of you that attended had a good time with your family and friends. I know that my family looks forward to the gathering each year. Next year we will go back to Marco Island for the 2017 convention. I’m sure it will be as grand as they say and all we have hoped it to be.
I first would like to thank Erik Jacobsen for his year of dedicated service to the Florida Cattlemen’s Association as our President for 2015-16. His leadership resulted in not only a successful year, but will also carry over on FCA projects for several years to come. Thank you Erik for your leadership and your friendship.
Our theme for this year is “Our Roots Run Deep”. I thought a long time before settling on this theme. Florida cow people have a heritage that none other can compare to. Florida is not only the oldest cow state in the nation but our heritage is ongoing. With the exception of our Seminole friends, most other ranches didn’t exist at statehood. They were formed from various kinds of opportunity. Our history shows that many made money in other businesses such as timber and turpentine, and then made the investment in cattle. Some, like my family, came to Florida very early and used open tracts of land to graze their cattle. Others came and purchased large tracts of land. Whatever the way, the common thread was that there were and are opportunities of many kinds for many different folks. The Florida Cattlemen’s Association is made up of many different people all seeking the ever changing opportunity from our industry. Regardless of the member benefits, it is important that we as an association always remember to protect and promote these opportunities throughout the industry. In short, every member matters to the FCA and so do the opportunities that we support.
This year we will continue with a group of new members forming our Class III of the Florida Cattlemen’s Leadership Academy (FCLA) which is designed to prepare young cattlemen for their and the association’s future. We will also continue to strengthen our commitment of support for state agencies that offer land holdings for cattle leases. This project was started two years ago and will again be one of our focus items for this year. I believe that lease lands are not only key to good stewardship of state lands, but are also an expansion opportunity for existing operations and offer great opportunities for our young folks that are moving toward the next step in their operation. Every organization that understands what is best for Florida’s environment agree that ranchers are the choice stewards of private land. It only makes sense for state owned land managers to apply this proven practice to state lands. We will not only encourage agencies, but offer assistance to them through educational events for land managers in order to make these sometime unfamiliar choices easier.
Again, this year the Beef Cattle Enhancement Board will allocate funds for research and promotions. The amount allocated is two million dollars designated by the Florida House, Senate and signed by the Governor. I have suggested that again this year the Enhancement Board direct a minimum of thirty percent of these funds be utilized for promotional activity. These promotions should not be limited to just our product but also for educational programs about our industry. Through this education to the public, we could expect support of such things as food safety, conservation easements, cattle grazing of public lands, animal welfare, water issues, and many public interest issues that face us each year.
In closing, I would like to thank the staff of FCA for their hard work and dedication to the efforts of the many folks that give their time and money to make our Association the best. I am honored to serve as President for 2016-17 and will strive to make this adventure productive. Please know that this is your Association and that no matter who or where each of us are Our Roots Run Deep.
2016-2017 FCA President