New Class of FFVA’s Emerging Leaders Announced

Clint Thompson Florida, Fruit, Top Posts, Vegetables

MAITLAND, Fla. – The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) announced on Tuesday the selection of 15 up-and-coming agriculture industry leaders for Class 11 of its Emerging Leader Development Program.

Administered by the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, the creation of the Emerging Leader Development Program back in 2011 has provided more than 110 young leaders with an immersive experience on the many issues facing the industry and how to be leaders within FFVA. Six graduates have served at the highest level within FFVA, as members of the board of directors.

Class 11 members are:

  • Miles Armstrong, TradeMark Nitrogen, Tampa
  • Jackson Autry, Everglades Equipment, Belle Glade
  • Ben Backus, DLF Packing, Fort Pierce
  • Matt Bardin, Glades Crop Care Inc., Jupiter
  • Gracelyn Byrd, U.S. Sugar, Moore Haven
  • Leo Camelo, Harris Moran, Tampa
  • Jason Chandler, Grimmway Farms, Mayo
  • Charlie Hurst, PGIM Real Estate, Vero Beach
  • Carisa Keller, Alico Inc., Punta Gorda
  • Dan Kimble, Harplyn Irrigation, Arcadia
  • Chris Meyer, Corteva Agriscience, Bradenton
  • Jake Rothert, Rothert Farm Inc., Okeechobee
  • Chacen Taylor, Lipman Family Farms, Naples
  • John Watson, Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Gainesville
  • David Wheeler, Jr., Wheeler Farms, Inc., Lake Wales

The program this year marks a decade of identifying and developing young leaders to be strong advocates for Florida agriculture with the graduation of Class 10 at FFVA’s annual convention on Sept. 14.

During the year ahead, participants will visit FFVA’s headquarters to learn about all facets of the association; tour farming and packing operations in Florida; meet in Tallahassee with elected officials and state leaders during the legislative session; and travel to the heart of California’s agricultural region to get an even broader perspective. Class 11 will graduate at FFVA’s annual convention in September 2022.

More about FFVA’s Emerging Leader Development Program can be found at