Years ago, when I worked at Big Trees Plantation, another grower once told me, “when the Sycamores flush, winter is over.”
Well I'll be damned, if it wasn’t true in those years at the farm afterward. Hopefully by now the Sycamores have budbreak wherever you’re reading this, and the sun is out. Spring is right here, and there’s lots to look forward to - despite what you see on television.
First, a quick look back to FNGLA's leaders' visit to the Florida Capitol Building. FNGLA Board of Directors had a fruitful meeting while in Tallahassee. Our legislative meetings were successful in helping FNGLA leaders convey its concerns and ideas to the elected officials. Many of those elected officials expressed support of these initiatives and positions, so we’ll hope to build upon that during the ongoing session. It was a distinct honor to visit the Capitol as FNGLA President and sit amongst the Board of Directors on the Floor of the House of Representatives. I will cherish that memory. Thank you, Jim Spratt and Speaker Pro Tempore, Representative Chuck Clemons.
Looking forward again: Hopefully those of you who grow, install or maintain all our beautiful palm trees throughout Florida have signed up for FNGLA's Palm Quest Conference, which is slated for April 12 - 13 in Ft. Lauderdale. A very robust educational schedule focusing on one of our signature plant families will have an indoor and outdoor component. There will also be plenty of CEUs. Come build your knowledge base with UF/IFAS, network with industry peers and maybe even have a cold one at the reception. Hope to see you there!
Later that week, we have our FNGLA/SHARE Golf Tournament at Candler Hills Golf Course in On Top of The World Communities near Ocala. All proceeds go to research projects at UF which directly impact our industry. This is money well spent when it comes to research support for member businesses - weed control, fertilizer use, irrigation improvements and many others across a wide swath of our markets. Sponsor a hole, put together a foursome and come have a great time on a great course for a great cause.
Regretfully, I’ve not yet attended FNGLA Miami-Dade Chapter’s Dick Fuhr Fishing Tournament, but I’m looking to change that this year. Islamorada is one of my favorite places, and Dolphin one of my favorite fish, so hopefully I’ll be able to join the members down there in their now 37th Annual event slated for June 2 - 3. Proceeds to go to the National Horticulture Foundation for scholarship efforts.
Lastly, we’ve unveiled the location and schedule for this year’s FNGLA Annual Convention! I’ll take a deeper dive on this event in an upcoming President’s Letter, but had to make mention of it here. The Convention Committee has done a fantastic job of planning the event with the Westin Sarasota serving as the host hotel for our Board of Directors meeting and all Convention festivities. There’s plenty on the menu for R&R - like Marie Selby Gardens' world-renowned Orchid collection, and the best beaches in the USA. So, make your plans to come celebrate with us as I hand off the “Big Shoes” in Sarasota.
Eric Smith (Biosafe Systems, Tampa)