Growing Forward, Gary Reeder

August 2023 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Gary Reeder
Manatee County President (District 8)

Gary Reeder is a fourth generation tomato producer in Manatee County who has been immersed in agriculture his whole life. Reeder recalls fond memories on his family’s farm when he was a young boy. Since finding his own place in agriculture, Reeder has been a champion and advocate for agriculture across the state of Florida.

However, Reeder never envisioned himself taking over the family farm. Reeder was in his third semester of community college when his father recruited him to help run the farm.

“I remember my dad saying ‘See you at 6 a.m. for breakfast,’ and the next day I began my career on the farm,” said Reeder. “I have found a deep appreciation for agriculture because of him.”

Although Reeder retired in January 2020, his legacy in the agriculture community lives on. In addition to being the Manatee County President, Reeder has won several awards and has served on the Manatee County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He has worked with UF/IFAS to develop technology that promotes agriculture. In 2008, Reeder was inducted into the Manatee County Agricultural Hall of Fame.

“I am proud to be able to have a fundraiser which raises money for FFA and 4-H,” said Reeder. “This event generates a great deal of agricultural involvement and fellowship.”

In addition to the fundraiser, Reeder leads a small group of youth to Tallahassee to speak with Senators and Representatives about agricultural issues in their county.

Living in Manatee County, Reeder is surrounded by urban development, which threatens the livelihood of  farmers and ranchers. Reeder uses his voice to support and promote agriculture in the face of adversity.

“Growing forward is the perfect phrase for all that we are doing,” said Reeder. “I am committed to growing the future of agriculture forward by working with local governments to protect farms and through my involvement with Florida Farm Bureau as well as teaching future generations about the importance of agriculture.”