It’s officially the halfway point of my Presidency. December is here and that means cooler weather, baby calves on the ground and family time around the Christmas season. I love this time of the year when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I hope everyone can take some time and spend together celebrating the true meaning of Christmas in the birth of Jesus.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My family has always spent Thanksgiving in the woods cooking and appreciating the outdoors. As cattlemen we wake up with struggles every day. Whether it is poor weather, an unstable market or anti- agricultural pressure we are still thankful for the opportunity to tend to God’s creation. There is a wonderful satisfaction in managing the land and cattle that the Lord left us dominion over.
November was also busy with county meetings from Jackson County in the panhandle to Polk and Highlands Counties in the heartland, and even up to ABAC in Tifton, Georgia to speak to their collegiate cattlemen’s group.
We are sure getting our value out of our Water & Environment Director Benita Whalen. She has represented your FCA at numerous meetings like the Blue Green Algae Task Force, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board meetings, BMP workshops and conservation meetings all over the state. She has been instrumental in the update of the BMP manual which will be more a part of what we do as ranchers in the future. One thing about it, there is always a meeting to attend to represent your FCA. I appreciate President Elect Gene Lollis taking the time to attend these meetings as well. There seems to be more meetings than just one person can attend. I also appreciate the other FCA members who I have asked to invest time , and get engaged in these important workshops and meetings. We are making some progress in this manner. One success is that the Governor appointed Ben Butler, a dairyman from Lorida and a fellow FCA member to the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District. This is a huge asset and was made possible by Ben’s willingness to serve, and our lobbying to help get him appointed.
I continue to encourage you, our membership to #shareyourheritage. Share your story of your ranch, post pictures of water and wildlife so the non-agriculture citizens of this beautiful state see the benefits you provide. We are making progress to get our story out to those non-agricultural people. With the help of Rick Hartman, Sr. I was able to speak to the Martin County Taxpayers Association in Stuart on “The Benefits of Ranching”. I was encouraged by the positive response from the crowd after they heard what ranches provide in the way of water storage and filtration as well as wildlife habitat. That meeting has resulted in some follow up meetings with ranch tours for other groups. If anyone has a large civic organization to share our positive ranching story with, please let me know and we will work to continue to get our message out.
I would like to invite everyone to the Year-end FCA Quarterly meeting in my hometown of Okeechobee on December 5-6. There is a full agenda of business that your FCA needs to discuss. Some of the topics include a discussion on a proposed dues standardization and increase, as well as committee meetings and a steak out at Pearce Cattle Company. These meetings are open to all members FCA is a grassroots organization that works for YOU! Please come and get involved.
As the year ends I want to wish every member a Merry Christmas!! I look forward to continuing to serve your organization into 2020. If there is anything I can do for you please reach out to me. 863-634-3489 or firstname.lastname@example.org.