Speakers and Issues Forums (2018)

State of the Industry

Matt Caldwell, Republican Nominee for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture
Matt Caldwell is a 7th generation Florida native, whose family has a long history of being farmers, small business owners, ministers, and doctors. Matt received his Associates Degree from Edison College and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Florida Gulf Coast University. He then began his career as a real estate appraiser. He has attained the highest state certification in his field and is qualified as an expert witness in multiple states and federal court.

Matt’s desire to serve his community took him to Tallahassee when he was first elected to the Florida House in 2010. He has served on several committees during his tenure in the Florida House, including transportation, tax policy, redistricting, insurance, banking, and local government & federal government affairs. He has chaired subcommittees and committees related to agriculture and natural resources. He currently chairs the Government Accountability Committee, which oversees subcommittees regarding natural resources and public lands, transportation and infrastructure, local, federal, and military issues, & oversight of government operations, such as pensions & elections.

Matt is proud to have sponsored, and had the Governor sign into law, several pieces of legislation, including: The Andrew Widman Act, providing greater protection from career criminals; an act relating to Optometry, lowering the cost of, and increasing access to, medical eye care; as well as acts relating to pensions and term limits. In addition, Matt has always been an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, cutting taxes, limiting the size and scope of government, and reducing or eliminating unnecessary regulations on business owners.

As an avid sportsmen with a deep family background in farming, Matt has always been a champion of issues that impact our environment and the agriculture community. He sponsored an expansion of the Everglades Forever Act, which will complete Everglades restoration in the area south of Lake Okeechobee, as well as Legacy Florida, which will permanently fund restoration of the greater Everglades; and fighting Numeric Nutrient Criteria. In 2017, Matt championed an overhaul of the vaunted Florida Forever program, refocusing the program on land acquisition with a priority for conservation easements and permanent funding totaling roughly $3 billion dollars over 17 years.

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.

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-Walpole, 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, Produce Marketing Association