On October 26th, 2017, the Florida Blueberry Growers Association elected a new President, Vice President and Director to its Board.
Brittany Lee, President for a two-year term of office through October 2019. Brittany currently serves as the Vice President and Farm Manger of Florida Blue Farms, Inc. a 110 acre Southern Highbush blueberry plantation located in Northeast Florida.
Brittany also is a Sales Representative at Florida Woodland Group, a real estate firm based in Gainesville, Florida that specializes in the sale of rural/agricultural properties.
Brittany is heavily dedicated to and involved with various community service organizations both locally and statewide.
In January of 2017 she was appointed by the US Secretary of Agriculture as the Florida delegate for the US Highbush Blueberry Council.
She participated in the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources program, Class IX; she serves as a board member for the Alachua Farm Bureau, YBS Advisory Committee for Farm Credit of Florida, Wedgworth Advisory Board and has served on the Membership Committee for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association.
In 2016 Brittany and Florida Blue Farms received the CARES award for Environmental Stewardship. This year Brittany was awarded the Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement award and she accepted the Commissioner of Agriculture’s Environmental Leadership Award on behalf of Florida Blue Farms, Inc.
Brittany earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida, and resides in Gainesville with her husband Ryan Brown, their son JEB and Weimaraner, Carlos.
Ryan Atwood, Vice President for a two-year term of office through October 2019. Ryan is a first-generation farmer and owner of Atwood Family Farms and H&A Farms, located near Umatilla and Mount Dora, FL. He grows and packs blueberries. He earned a B.A. and M.S. from the University of Florida, where he later became a fruit crops extension agent for the University of Florida Extension Service. Ryan is a Certified Crop Advisor through the American Society of Agronomy. He owns a consulting and a farm management company which work with blueberry farms located in Florida. He also serves on the board of directors for the Lake County Farm Bureau and the Florida Blueberry Growers Association. Ryan lives in Umatilla, Florida, with his wife and two children.
Jerod Gross, Board of Director, for a three-year term of office through October 2020. Jerod is a blueberry grower in Arcadia, Florida. He began his career in blueberries in February 2007 with Island Grove LLC. Jerod was hired to do anything and everything Island Grove LLC needed to get their farms established. From helping clear land, layout farms to plant the newest and best varieties for south Florida. He has experience in harvesting/packing, along with the many other day-to-day aspects of farming. In 2008, he and his family made the decision to start their own farm. We put in 30 acres of blueberries in Arcadia. Along with the responsibilities of managing his own farm, he also was still managing all of Island Grove’s operations, Arcadia Division, since 2012. It has been a great pleasure to learn this exciting, yet challenging and ever so vastly expanding industry.
In 2013, Jerod was honored in DeSoto County to receive the Young Farmer/Rancher of the Year award. In 2015, he was appointed by Secretary of Agriculture as USHBC Southern Region Alternate. In 2016, USHBC placed Jerod on the Industries Relations Committee where he currently serves. At the beginning of 2017, he was asked to serve on the Florida Farm Bureau’s Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Committee.
Jerod is excited to learn more about our industry on a State and National level and how we can keep our industry pointed in the right direction. As a grower and producer, he knows some of the challenges faced daily as an industry. He has a vested interest in making sure Florida blueberry growers succeed. After all, this is how we feed our families. Jerod is honored to represent my fellow growers and our industry and thankful for the opportunity.
About the Association-
The objectives of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association are to advance the interest of the Blueberry industries; to collect, preserve and circulate valuable and useful information relating to the business of growing and marketing of Blueberries; to collect, distribute and publish such information; to promote economic and production research to improve the quality of products; to standardize grades; to promote betterment of markets; to promote integrity, good faith, goodwill and just and equitable principles of business in the industry; and to strive in all ways to promote the best interests of its members. FBGA is devoted to the support, education, and production of Florida blueberry operations. FBGA represents some 500 members, which include growers, farm operation staff, allied professionals, research and education experts, as well as those interested in Florida blueberries. To learn more about the organization and membership, visit www.floridablueberrygrow