Speakers and Issues Forums

State of the Industry

Our speaker will provide a state of the industry presentation that focuses on a current view of top issues for Florida specialty crop agriculture and insights on what's to come based on current legislation.

Cracker Breakfast

Phil Hansen

FFVA is pleased to feature internationally recognized multimedia artist, speaker, author and innovator Phil Hansen as our Cracker Breakfast keynote speaker at FFVA 2018. 

Crashing irreverently through conventional boundaries, Hansen works at the intersection of traditional art, electronic media, offbeat materials and interactive experiences. He is most widely known for his meta-art and videos that document the creation process (sometimes even through destruction), showing that art is action, not just result. Hansen's work also extends into traditional media with features on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, the Rachael Ray Show, Last Call with Carson Daly and many more. His work is sought-after by many influential clients including the Grammy Awards, Disney, Skype, Mazda and the Rockefeller Foundation.

For those who have seen Hansen’s art, it’s hard to imagine that his artistic journey nearly came to an end when a tremor developed in his drawing hand. In exploring new ways to create, he discovered that by embracing his shake, his limitations could become the passageway to creativity.

Hansen’s inspirational story was first shared on the TED stage to a standing ovation and then around the world, including on PBS, BBC and CCTV. His ability to draw parallels to the business setting has won him followers among industry and business leaders, leading to invitations to speak at the TED2013 conference, Adobe MAX Creativity Conference, World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Million Dollar Round Table.

Watch Hansen's video message for FFVA 2018 attendees.

Awards Luncheon

Adam Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture (Invited)

Adam Putnam is serving his second term as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture. He oversees the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and serves as a member of Florida’s Cabinet.

Commissioner Putnam’s priorities include fostering the growth and diversification of Florida agriculture; expanding access to Florida’s abundance of fresh produce, seafood and other products; securing a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy; protecting the quantity and quality of the state’s water supply; and safeguarding consumers from deceptive business practices.

Previously, Commissioner Putnam served five terms as Congressman for Florida’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was recognized as a leader on a variety of issues, including water, energy and government transparency and efficiency. Commissioner Putnam was acknowledged for his efforts to bring comprehensive restoration to the Everglades, reform food safety laws, modernize programs to ensure Florida agriculture remains a leader throughout the nation, and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to counter childhood obesity.

While in Congress, Commissioner Putnam was elected by his peers to serve as the Republican Policy Chairman during the 109th Congress and Chairman of the House Republican Conference for the 110th Congress, the highest elected leadership position any Floridian of either party has held in Washington. Commissioner Putnam also served as a member of the House Committees on Government Reform, Agriculture, Rules and Financial Services.

Before he was elected to Congress, Commissioner Putnam served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1996 to 2000. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in food and resource economics. Commissioner Putnam is a fifth-generation Floridian who grew up in the citrus and cattle industry. He and his wife, Melissa, have four children.

Issues Forums

Election 2018: A Look Ahead for Agriculture

As the November elections draw near, the agriculture community is watching key Congressional and statewide races, including governor and agriculture commissioner. Find out what the outcome could mean for the specialty crop industry in the near future and the long term.

Joe Clements, CEO of Strategic Digital Services
Rep. Katie Edwards, Florida House of Representatives District 98
 Dr. Susan MacManus, political analyst


Fields of the Future: Putting Technology to Work

With workforce shortages a stark reality for many growers, attention is turning to ways agriculture can innovate and move toward mechanization. Learn more about how technology is shaping our industry as it changes to meet needs.

Dennis Donahue, Director of Western Growers’ Center for Innovation and Technology
Gary Wishnatzki, Wish Farms

Anatomy of an Outbreak: What Have We Learned?

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce from Arizona this spring shone an unwanted spotlight on the fresh produce industry. What did this incident teach us about outbreak investigations and the state of traceability? Hear key takeaways from the outbreak and its aftermath. 

Dr. Trevor Suslow, University of California Davis