Spring 2017 Meeting & Tradeshow Announced

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association’s SPRING MEETING AND TRADESHOW will be held Thursday, February 16th, 2017 at the Hillsborough Community College, Trinkle Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Plant City, FL. This will be a day-long event of educational seminars as well as the opportunity to visit with 60+ vendors to the blueberry industry.

Please click the following link to register:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/florida-blueberry-growers-association-spring-2017-meeting-tradeshow-tickets-29851548786

For questions or sponsorship information, please contact Lindsay Morgan in our Administrative office at 352-754-4145 or via email at Lindsay@floridablueberrygrower.com

Upcoming Meetings & Calendar:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/florida-blueberry-growers-association-spring-2017-meeting-tradeshow-tickets-29851548786
FBGA Spring 2017 Meeting & Tradeshow

The Florida Blueberry Growers Association SPRING MEETING AND TRADESHOW will be held Thursday, February 16th, 2017 at the Hillsborough Community College, Trinkle Center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Plant City, FL. This will be a day-long event of educational seminars as well as the opportunity to visit with 60+ vendors to the blueberry industry.

Lunch is included in your paid registration and will be provided by Curly Tails BBQ of Bartow, FL.

REGISTRATION FEES –

PRE-PAID Member:
Price through Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. – $15
LATE/Day-of-Registration – $45

PRE-PAID Non-Member:
Price through Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. – $45
LATE/Day-of-Registration – $45

Vendor Cancellation Fee: A fee of $100.00 plus Eventbrite service fees will apply if cancelled after February 1, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

The “Pre-Paid Registration” desk will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. for vendor and attendee check-in. The “Day of Registration/Membership” desk will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for day of registration/payment and/or to check the status of your membership and contact information.

SEMINAR AGENDA –
(Subject to Change)

T.B.D.

VENDOR INFORMATION/SETUP –

Wednesday, 02/15/16 from 2-4:30 p.m.
FBGA staff will be available from 2:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. to provide assistance and distribute name badge lanyards. The HCC Trinkle Center will be open until 5:00 p.m., should you arrive between 4:30-5:00 p.m. your lanyards may be picked up on Thursday morning at the registration desk. Tables will also be labeled and there will be a display board at the registration desk with company name, booth number and hall location for your convenience.

Thursday, 02/15/16 from 6:30-8:00 a.m.
FBGA staff/Directors will be available to provide assistance the morning of setup. Tables will also be labeled and there will be a display board at the registration desk with company name, booth number and hall location for your convenience. Please remember to check-in at the registration desk for your name badge lanyard.

OPTIONS/COST –

Premium Vendor Booth – $450
Space is limited. (Please note that if you would like electricity for your booth you must sign up for a premium vendor booth and provide your own extension cord)
Prime booth location
Electricity
(2) attendee registrations
(1) table
(2) chairs

Standard Vendor Booth – $350
Space is limited. (Please note that if you would like electricity for your booth you must sign up for a premium vendor booth and provide your own extension cord)
(2) attendee registrations
(1) table
(2) chairs

SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE –
Please contact lindsay@floridablueberrygrower.com for availability.

Platinum Sponsorship $1500
(6) attendee registrations includes lunch
Company banner to be displayed on stage
Premium booth location in lobby (table and (2) chairs; electricity if available)
Company logo on e-blasts and website
Ten (10) minute presentation during program agenda

Gold Sponsorship – $1000
(4) attendee registrations includes lunch
Company banner to be displayed on stage
Premium booth location in lobby (table and (2) chairs; electricity if available)
Company logo on e-blasts and website
Five (5) minute presentation during program agenda

Breakfast Sponsorship – $550 — SOLD OUT
(2) attendee registrations includes lunch
Premium booth location in lobby (table and (2) chairs; electricity if available)
Optioln to provide company banner to be displayed on stage
Company logo on e-blasts and website

Silver Sponsorship – $500
(2) attendee registrations includes lunch
Premium booth location in lobby (table and (2) chairs; electricity if available)
Option to provide company banner to be displayed on stage
Company logo on e-blasts and website

Supporter of the FBGA Sponsorship – $500
(2) attendee registrations includes lunch
Option to provide company banner to be displayed on stage
Company logo on e-blasts and website
Five (5) minute presentation during program agenda

 

President’s Letter: Learning from the past and moving forward

berries_prez-letter_fall2016

ONE OF THE GREAT PARTS of working in Florida agriculture is that every year we get to start fresh. If we learn from past successes or mistakes, then we have another opportunity to do a better job in a new season.

But putting last season behind us will not be easy for some. While those fortunate few who had a good season or those who had crop or whole farm revenue insurance will be okay, many other farms are strained financially. Read More…

 

Join “Fresh From Florida”

The vast majority of Florida’s 47,000 agricultural producers are small farmers. As such, they do not have the resources to individually conduct promotional and advertising campaigns to help market their products. By joining the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC), both small and large producers can benefit from the “Fresh From Florida” programs conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The hallmark of the program is the familiar “Fresh From Florida” logo, which is displayed on product packaging and signage and in a variety of print and electronic media. Only members of the FAPC are permitted to use the logo. The logo associates the member’s products with Florida agriculture’s worldwide image of excellence, which has been carefully cultivated and promoted by the FAPC program since its beginnings in 1990.

FAPC members have the opportunity to use the “Fresh From Florida” logos, participate in industry trade shows at a reduced cost, receive point-of-purchase materials, have access to trade leads, receive the “Fresh From Florida” magazine and industry newsletter, tie in to supermarket promotions that feature Florida products in newspaper and store circular advertisements, and receive a farm sign customized with the member’s business name.

“Fresh From Florida” Membership

There are two levels of FAPC membership. Paying members (that pay an annual fee) include producers, packers, repackers, processors, brokers, shippers, cooperatives, agriculture supporters and industry organizations. Non-paying members include retailers, restaurants, food service, nonprofits, wholesalers, educational organizations and governmental organizations.

Order “Fresh From Florida” Marketing Materials

Many types of point-of-sale and retail display materials promoting Florida agricultural products are available free of charge to FAPC members. These display materials can only be used to promote Florida products.

Logo Incentive Program

At this time, the program is being revised. Please check back in January 2017 for new criteria and a revised program application

 

President’s Letter: Remaining Committed and Vigilant as Ever

prez-letter-art-summer2016
AS YOU ARE ALL AWARE, our last season was one of the most challenging ones we have ever experienced.

Warmer-than-normal conditions during late fall and winter delayed the onset of dormancy and resulted in very low winter chill accumulation. The unusually warm winter, combined with an El Niño climate phase (cloudy and cool conditions during our fruit set and development phase), were major factors delaying harvest of the 2016 Florida blueberry crop.

As a result, we were later than we have ever been on our harvest, which meant our fruit hit the market at an unusual time this year. Read More…

 

From the desk of President Dudley Calfee…

As you are all aware, our last season was one of the most challenging ones we have ever experienced.

Warmer than normal conditions during late fall and winter delayed the onset of dormancy and resulted in very low winter chill accumulation. The unusually warm winter combined with an El Niño climate phase (cloudy and cool conditions during our fruit set and development phase) were major factors delaying harvest of the 2016 Florida blueberry crop.

As a result, we were later than we have ever been on our harvest, which meant our fruit hit the market at an unusual time this year.

Many of you also lost entire fields to weather events like wind and hail storms and packing facilities closed down early due to low volumes of fruit. Because our neighbors to the north did not experience the same issues we faced, they came in on time and our labor left before we could finish our harvest.

It is important that you know your Executive Committee and Board of Directors are committed to finding assistance for our members. We have been in close communication with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office. Last week, the majority of your Board of Directors were on a call with the commissioner and his executive team, who expressed concern and a willingness to help anyway they could. We are currently working closely with them to get answers to questions involving insurance, bonding, credit lines, and loans. While there is not much they are able to do at the state level, they are helping us navigate the USDA to see if there is any assistance available to our members on the federal level. We will also be having a meeting with our friends at UF/IFAS to see if there is any assistance to be had there.

Commissioner Putnam’s chief of staff put me in touch with Tom Hockert at the Farm Service Agency. Tom is going to put his troops on alert that we have a situation. I made sure he was aware that counting the fruit left in the fields as harvestable is nonsense. Not only is the fruit worthless if it costs us more to harvest it than we get paid, but delaying trimming operations by continuing to harvest too long affects next year’s crop. This is an issue we will continue to work on with them. If you had losses greater than 30 percent, please contact me so that when FSA starts calculating losses, I can put them in touch with you.

Commissioner Putnam’s office will begin promoting U-Pick Blueberry Season in Florida on social media and radio this week. The primary target area is Central Florida, Tampa and Gainesville/Ocala. If your location and farm layout can be made to work for public harvest, please let us know so we can help you market your operation. Getting the last of the fruit off the bush with little or no labor cost will help add needed revenue this season. The FBGA website has a portal for you to add your farm for you pick operations and is one of the most popular destinations on the site.

The most important thing to remember right now is that one bad year does not kill an industry. We are innovators and have always met obstacles to our success. We will overcome this season and grow and learn from it.

Your FBGA Executive Committee and Board of Directors remain committed to helping our industry grow and thrive, but we need your help. While this year was undoubtedly a difficult one, we ask that you resist speaking to the media or other outside groups about the problems we have faced. Doing so will not elevate our industry or gain us assistance, rather, it could make an already difficult situation more difficult by ensuring our members have trouble securing lines of credit and insurance in the coming years.

Last year’s harvest season is behind us now and we are beginning our summer growing season. At this time, it is vital that we pull together, stay positive, and do everything in our power to make sure next year’s harvest is a productive one.