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Summer 2021 President's Message

Good day fellow FWA members,

As I write what will be my last President's message, I would like to thank my wife Judy for listening to me and giving me encouraging words on issues that involved the Florida Watermelon Association. I also want to thank my two kids, Kate and Jake, who are both involved in the industry and lent an ear when needed. Thank you to my Exec. officers, who were always just a call or text away when decisions needed to be made. Thank you to our Queen Coordinator, Debra, for running a tight ship and being a person that truly serves this organization with watermelon passion. Thank you to our past Presidents, who put forth great efforts to grow strong bones for this association. Thank you to our suppliers, who continue to give their time and financial support to our organization. Most importantly, I want to give thanks to the Lord above. For through him we walk in faith, which continues to get us through days on this earth that without our faith that daily walk would be very difficult.

This past year and a half has been tough on all of us . In our business life we went from an unknown to it working out pretty well. We all struggled in our personal life and our progress in our association was tough. With the lack of personal meetings and our annual convention, it was difficult to grow our grower membership. From the beginning of my Presidency, my goal was to grow our grower membership and to educate as many folks as possible about Agriculture and the watermelon way of life. We have been able to accomplish a portion of my goal but due to this past year , we didn't get enough done. ASG and executive director, Debbie Johnson, have continued their diligence towards our grower membership and continued education. Thank you to ASG for their efforts.

One fantastic event we have to look forward to will be our 2021 Annual Convention. What a great way for our Association to spend a couple of days together, relaxing at a great resort in Orlando. The Rosen Hotel at Shingle Creek has all the finest amenities. Great place to relax after a rough and tumble watermelon season.

Kicking off our convention is our annual Golf Tournament on one of the highest quality courses in the state. This golf course with the Arnold Palmer handcrafted touch will truly be an exciting challenge. We will have three really good grower education classes. We have a discussion with the head of the USDA market news. Mr. Sommers is coming to us to answer questions and create dialog on thoughts of updating our USDA pricing reports. Along with the market news will come the regional director from PACA; he will update us on the latest and answer any questions or concerns we have. If you are interested in submitting a question or comment and would like to do that anonymously, I will have some drop boxes around the meeting room in order for you to be able to do so. We will allot enough time for a question/answer session, so your questions or comments will be made. Give both of these talks some thought. Both of these areas in our business are very important in our price and company protection. We also have one chemical company who will be sharing crop nutrition information with us. We have a special treat with one of our board members, Mr. Marshall Sewell, who will give us a good old fashioned motivational talk. Lord knows this will be good for us all.

The President's reception will be one to remember with a Cajun-style low country boil with all the trimmings. We have a fun contest at the President's reception that will have the winner walking away with a great prize. We wrap that night up with a nationally renowned comedian. This comedian is a little different than most, he is a dairy farmer that loves talking about Agriculture. This act will have all of us enjoying ourselves. As our general session begins, we will conduct our normal business of the association with a chance to have our queen contestants give us their speeches; and then comes the live load donor auction. After our auction, we have our banquet, which will see us crown our 2022 watermelon queen and will definitely provide us with a great program and meal. This is setting up to be a really good convention. What will make it really great is if you will register today. We have a large number of our suppliers already signed up and planning on exhibiting their products and ready to talk to you about the latest supplies necessary to keep us current and successful in our ever changing industry. We will have several other prize giveaways during the convention, including a two night stay for two, compliments of the Rosen Hotel. So let's pack up the pickup and head to Orlando for a couple of days and enjoy everything watermelon, From the Ground Up.

In closing, I want to wish Trey Miller, our incoming President, good luck and great success as he takes over Presidency of the FWA. Trey will do a good job for our association. Working with Trey you can tell he has the passion to keep us on the right path growing forward. Good luck Trey, and if you ever need advice or direction there are plenty of folks in this association that are willing to help.

Thank You all again for this opportunity for the past two years. Let us continue to grow FWA from the Ground Up, so we will be strong enough to withstand whatever our future might hold. Keep our faith strong in our family, our country and our God above.

Thanks again and see you in Orlando!

Mark Bryan

FWA President


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