In our businesses, numbers are important. We look at costs, revenue and the bottom line. We use numbers to measure growth and progress. We analyze them to increase efficiencies.
In the same way, numbers are important for FFVA as an association. There is strength in numbers. The more individual voices we have, the stronger we can speak with our collective voice as an industry.
FFVA’s numbers continue to be strong. Even in challenging times, we have been able to maintain our number of Producer Members and Trade Associate Members. This could not be done without the hard work of our staff and volunteers as well as support from our trade. We must continue to grow both membership categories to further strengthen our membership -- and more important, our influence in Tallahassee and Washington.
Attendance at our annual convention grew 13.1 percent from 2014 to 2015 and is anticipated to grow again this year. These numbers show the event adds value for members. Our association is gaining in strength and relevance.
FFVA’s new committee structure has increased volunteer participation by 70 percent. We now have 187 volunteers on our seven committees, which focus on advocacy, food safety and sustainability, production management, research, supply chain management, water and land use, and workforce. Besides increasing member engagement, the new committees have produced more action items for the Board. If you are interested in participating, please talk with an FFVA staff member. This is the best way for your voice to be heard and to make a difference.
Our Emerging Leadership Development Program applications continue to increase every year. Again, this is an indication of the value and strength of this program.
The last number I want to share is two. It’s hard to believe that I have been FFVA chairman for two years, and it is time to hand off the position to my friend Paul Orsenigo. I want to thank my family, B&W Quality Growers, Graves Bros., my fellow board members and the FFVA staff for all of their support. We are truly blessed to have the best staff in the industry, and the association will only get stronger as we continue to grow our numbers going forward.