Happy New Year to all of our Watermelon membership. As we close the books on another year, we can only hope and pray the days ahead are going to work out well for us and our families. I want to Thank You (our membership) for electing me to serve as your FWA President. Over the past year I have had the opportunity to meet and visit with a lot of great Ag folks around the state; folks that believe in Agriculture, not just as a dollar bill, but as "A way of life".
The #farming 101 is my way to challenge each one of us to educate our peers and as many of the general population as possible about Agriculture. It is very apparent as I travel in and out of the state, that Agriculture, where it might be well represented, is not educating the general public as much as it needs to. As a group, we need to continue to tell our story and educate the masses. Our message is not complicated. Our message is solid and real, with substance and common sense. As you attend your local meetings, local convenience stores or supermarkets.....engage with the public and educate them with a little farming 101. The times we are in right now are not easy to engage one-on-one, but there are certainly creative ways to engage in dialog until this virus is behind us.
Now is not the time for the Agriculture community to be quiet. Now more than ever we have got to get involved and engage with the, as Phil Robertson would say, "the yuppies". We have a great message; don't let our message go silent.
I am proud to report that our Auction Night Down on the Farm was a great success. If you were a load donor/buyer, supply donor/buyer, raffle ticket buyer/seller, board of director with a door prize, guest of the event, speaker, auctioneer, drink supplier, or anything else that I might not be mentioning that had anything to do with that Friday night on January 15th....Thank You!!! Without you it would not have been such a great one-night success. That night, we raised over $200,000 net monies for our Florida Watermelon Association. What a great way to give back to the association that continues to be the voice for Florida watermelons. The money raised is a testament that our association continues to ask for research, marketing, and any other facets that have to do with watermelons; and to raise our voice as a commodity that the consumer demands.
In closing I want to remind everyone reading this newsletter; #farming 101. Let us remind ourselves that all of us are in Agriculture together. We must, in some way, shape or fashion come together and teach the same message. We may not agree on our individual growing practices or our individual selling practices, but one thing is for certain… the longer we stay apart on spreading the message for Agriculture, the sooner we become the picture on the wall. Once again, I challenge all of us to get involved in 2021.
Mark Bryan President
"The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."