Growing Forward: Olivia Pope

January 2023 FloridAgriculture eNewsletter

Olivia Pope
YF&R State Leadership Group, District 8

Olivia Pope is a proud fourth-generation agriculturalist in the rural town of Pahokee. Her great-grandfather moved their family to Palm Beach County in 1926 after he worked as a produce salesman and realized the abundant farming opportunities. Since then, Pope Farms has been growing sweet corn, sugarcane, green beans and cabbage in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA).

Growing up on the family farm, Pope always knew she wanted a career in agriculture. As she got older, her father advised her to attend the University of Florida (UF) to broaden her knowledge of Florida’s unique agriculture. She received her bachelor’s in Agribusiness in 2019 and master’s in business management in 2020.

After college, Pope returned home where she started her career with Wedgworth’s Inc. Since she began, Wedgworth’s Inc. has expanded their portfolio by acquiring a fertilizer technology company and establishing Summit Nutrients, where Pope is now the National Brand Manager.

Throughout her childhood and college career, Florida Farm Bureau has always been a huge part of Pope’s life. Her parents have been actively involved in the organization for over 25 years. Pope joined the UF Collegiate Farm Bureau and completed an internship at the Florida Farm Bureau state office during college. After moving back home, Pope was elected to the Palm Beach County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is now a member of the Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group.

“My favorite thing about Farm Bureau is having the opportunity to advocate for agriculture,” said Pope. “I love being able to tell the story of EAA farmers, how we’re protecting the land, and the passion we have for agriculture.”

One of Pope’s favorite times to advocate for agriculture is at the Sweet Corn Fiesta. Held every April, this event is set in the Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds, providing festival goers with an “Old Florida” environment. There you can find sweet corn of every kind. From freshly cooked corn on the cob, to crates of corn brought straight from the field, and even the highly anticipated shucking and eating contests. The fiesta is home to the only professional sweet corn eating contest in the world.

“It is hosted in West Palm Beach, which provides us a greater opportunity to educate our neighbors on the coast about the agriculture in their backyard,” said Pope. “People leave with a better understanding of a farmer, what they do and who they are. They learn that food comes from the land, it doesn’t just appear in the store. People just like them are out in a field, growing their food.”

Pope is optimistic for the continual growth of Florida agriculture. Being in agriculture and Florida Farm Bureau, she continues to look forward and is taking care of the land for the next generation.

“Agriculture is one of the riskiest industries to be a part of,” Pope said. “We have been extremely blessed to be in business for this long, and I intend to do everything I can to ensure Florida agriculture continues for generations to come.”