President's Letter: Something Lost, Something Gained

November 10, 2022

     Last month I closed my letter by asking you all to review the Hurricane Preparedness Guide and make a plan. No one would’ve wagered that five weeks later we would need to put that into place. As I write this month’s letter, it’s Election Night and there is another named storm on our doorstep.  From the early looks of it, a number of FNGLA-supported candidates will prevail in their races. Hopefully, by the time you read this, FNGLA member businesses will have safely weathered another storm. Regretfully, but necessarily, we chose to postpone the FNGLA Board of Directors meeting scheduled for the week of November 7 in West Palm Beach at the UF/IFAS Extension office.

     In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian a number of FNGLA events were postponed or outright cancelled. One event, the 34th Annual Manasota FNGLA Golf Tournament in Bradenton, pressed on, intent on continuing their scholarship efforts, and helping fund the FNGLA Disaster Relief Fund. On behalf of the participants (and as one of three ‘Closest to the pin’ winners!) I’d like to thank FNGLA's Manasota Chapter for putting on a very fun and successful event which helped fund both initiatives with thousands of dollars. To the Chapter Committee of J.C. Diem (Southern Ag), Greg, John & Janyel Taylor (Ralph Taylor's Nurseries), Jay Perez (Bloomings Landscape), Ellie Ohlman-Fuesser (Big Earth Landscape Supply), Anne Glenn (UF/IFAS Extension, retired), and Christine Russo (UF/IFAS Extension) a big tip of the Stalling’s Crop Insurance Commemorative Ben Bolusky cap.

     And, despite my beloved Florida Gators' best efforts, we recently suffered a loss to the loathed Georgia Bulldogs. However, just days later, FNGLA’s Big Bend Chapter held a fantastic meeting just over the Georgia border in Cairo at Flowerwood Nursery. I guess I never imagined having an event in Dawg country, but what a great event hosted by Stephen Strickland (Flowerwood Nursery). There was a certain buzz in the air - unrelated to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (as tailgating for the Florida-Georgia games have come to be known as each year) - and the Big Bend Chapter was in full swing. Cheers to you all!

     It seems with the late activity in this year’s hurricane season, there’s been more cancellations than actual events but something which still moves full speed ahead is the effort to help each other. Despite setbacks, we have managed to continue our stated goals of promotion and protection of FNGLA members on multiple fronts. Hopefully, with favorable results in the elections, we can carry that momentum to Tallahassee for our February Board of Directors meeting and achieve those goals.

     When something is lost, it’s likely something else, perhaps near or far, is gained. Ups and downs, and give-and-take in life and in business. In my short 15 years in the industry, there’s been many of both. It’s been an amazing experience thus far. I applaud you all and hope you have a joyous  - and, when possible, restful holiday season with your families.


Eric Smith (BioSafe Systems, Tampa)

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