Speakers and Forums

Cracker Breakfast

George LeMieux
Former Florida Senator George S. LeMieux co-authored the book “Florida Made: The 25 Most Important Figures Who Shaped the State” with journalist Laura Mize. He served as Florida’s 34th U.S. senator in the 111th Congress, Florida’s deputy attorney general, and as Governor Charlie Crist’s chief of staff. He's the founder of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University and currently the chairman of the board of Gunster law firm. At Gunster, he focuses his practice on resolving business and governmental disputes and advising executives on business, law and government from a local, state and national perspective. 

State of the Industry


Nicole "Nikki" Fried
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture
A lifelong Floridian, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was born and raised in Miami. She graduated from the University of Florida, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and juris doctorate degrees. While in law school, she served as student body president -- the first woman to hold the position in nearly two decades. Before being elected as the only statewide Democrat in 2018, Fried worked as an advocate in Tallahassee representing at-risk children, the Broward County School Board, and for the expansion of patient access to medical marijuana. As an attorney, she led the Felony Division at the Alachua County Public Defender’s Office and worked at law firms as a government consultant, advocating on behalf of clients before the Florida Legislature.

Issues Forums

Workforce worry: A path forward for reform (9/25)

Having enough workers to harvest their crops tops the list of concerns of specialty crop producers. Agricultural labor shortages across the country continue to plague farmers, whose only tool is the H-2A guest worker visa program. Learn what agriculture is doing to advocate in Washington for solutions that will give growers access to a stable and secure workforce. 

Speaker:
Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort

Water woes: Working together to find solutions (9/26)

Harmful algae blooms in South Florida waters dominated the headlines in 2018. Gov. Ron DeSantis has made them a focal point of his administration. The causes of algae blooms aren’t simple, nor are the solutions. Hear a panel of experts discuss the need for workable solutions to reduce nutrients in our waterways and how we can work together on the issue. 

Moderator:
Drew Bartlett, Executive Director, South Florida Water Management District

Speakers:
Ernie Barnett, The Land Council
Noah Valenstein, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection
Dr. Wendy Graham, Blue-Green Algae Task Force


Leadership Forum

Leadership Forum (9/26)

New this year is a leadership forum featuring a moderated panel of industry veterans/leaders talking about leadership strategies that have helped guide their business and offering their perspectives to the next generation of up-and-coming leaders. Plan to attend – you don't have to be an up-and-comer to get a lot out of this.

Panelists: Paul Allen, Paul Orsenigo, Aaron Troyer, Marie Bedner
Moderator: John Hall, Farm Credit