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February 2024 President's Message

In February of 1934 (90 Years Ago) the founding members of FCA put out for public consumption a four-page document labeled VOL. 1-NO. 1 of The Florida Cattleman. This first published document, focused on the founding, objects and purposes, and other important information about the fledgling Association and was meant to entice Ranchers to join up and pay $1.00 in yearly dues. (the printing of the more commercial endeavor Vol 1- No.2 of The Florida Cattleman would happen in 1936 and start the unbroken monthly printing of the periodical you hold in your hand today). On Page 4 in 1934 the following message was printed…………

"THE ASSOCIATION

This Association belongs to the cattlemen of the State.

It is their representative, for their use and should be used by them.

Notify the Association in any case where your rights as a cattle owner are threatened or interfered with.

Notify the Association when you are suffering from cattle theft.

Notify the Association if there is some legislative question that will affect you.

Notify the Association of any possible new member that you might meet.

Call on the Association for any information that you might want concerning the cattle business.

Furnish the Association with such information as they might request.

Remember that every new member that you add is additional strength on legislative matters, greater advertising on your beef and a stronger effort to educate the public and the meat handlers of this state to use your meat."

The founding members of this association certainly realized the importance of all members big or small, having an equal say in the direction and the priorities of this association. We still believe those core values make us a better organization. Every single member adds value and strength to this organization therefore, I’m urging you to seek out new members. Our membership numbers have decreased over the last few years. Most of this was due to our inability to meet during the pandemic. Now we must reinvigorate our county affiliates, strengthen them, and assist them in growing back their membership.

Even though our total membership may have dropped since the pandemic, the Association continues to work on behalf of the State’s Cattle Industry and has made major headway in recent years with accomplishments like.

  • Securing permanent state sales tax exemptions for Ag Trailers and a growing list of fence and cattle containment materials, tools, and equipment.

  • Procuring Millions of Dollars in Research Funding to be administered by the Florida Cattle Enhancement Board.

  • Greatly increasing representation on the Water and Environmental issues front by creating and staffing with a professional engineer the Water and Environmental Affairs Manager position.

  • A legion of other “wins” like the Right to Farm, the TEAM CARD, and funding for a host of initiatives and LBRs to assist the work of our land grant university.

  • Increased Collaboration with various Conservation and Sportsman Groups, that help spread the message of our industry’s environmental sustainability.

Those accomplishments are just the tip of the iceberg for the work that YOUR Association has done for you over the most recent years and for the whole 90 years since the FCA founding.

We have added some new programs in the “JUST ASK” campaign and I have asked membership, chairman Tom Bryant to proceed full steam ahead with a goal of 1000 new members by the end of 2024. I know if we work together with a focused effort, we can accomplish this goal. Let us move into the future by standing on the bedrock of the past. Grass Roots Membership has always and will always be the true strength of this Association, and with your help we know that future generations will see for themselves that Cows Keep Florida Green!

God Bless,

Pat Durden

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