Welcome to our “Rooted in Resilience” member story page. We celebrate 80 years of grassroots membership by highlighting how our county Farm Bureaus and members are passionate advocates, rooted in their community.
We look forward to sharing different stories of resiliency from our members statewide.
Jennifer Swain, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Highlands County
“I’m a first-generation rancher, and my passion for this industry has always been rooted in my heart. When you’re proud of what you do, you’ll be better equipped to overcome any obstacles that come your way.” Read article.
Clay Cooper, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Hernando/Citrus County
“Farming and ranching is more than a job. It truly is a lifestyle and something that you have to be passionate about. It honestly does take resiliency to push through some of the hard times, but at the end of the day, I don’t know of many careers that are any more rewarding.” Read article.
Cady Smith, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, St. Johns County
“Farm Bureau runs based on faith, family, and farm. These are our roots. When we stand strong in what we believe and who we believe in, we will always come out on top. Rooted in Resilience then blooms in success.” Read article.
Jim Strickland, Strickland Ranch, Manatee County
“We have to be able to accommodate the growing number of people who move to our great state. But we also have to recognize that they move here because there are so many things that make Florida special, like the quality of life and opportunities for recreation, which means green space, good water and a healthy environment. We need to consider those things in making development decisions, and we need to share the story of how the ranching industry promotes stewardship and conservation.” Read article.
Cody and Courtney Darling, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Suwannee County
“There are only a certain amount of people who love to farm and we happen to be one of the few. I think that is what keeps us going and how we’re rooted in resilience. There’s not many people out there who can nor want to do what it takes to farm.” Read article.
Matt and Kayla Gonzales, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Levy County
“We have to be resilient because there are a lot of obstacles, trials and tribulations that come our way. Being rooted in resilience gives us the strength to continue to put our efforts to being successful in our farming and ranching operations.” Read article.
Greg Gude, Kumquat Growers, Pasco County
“I still believe in the industry. I see the opportunity and know the value of the land. That’s the resilience.” Read article.
Kateland Raney, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Polk County
“Everyone in our industry is resilient in overcoming hardships because we know farming and ranching is a necessity to provide. Farmers and ranchers are resilient by nature because their passion is greater than the struggles they may be facing at the time.” Read article.
Alto Straughn, Straughn Farms, Alachua County
“Resilience? I’ve done pretty good at that. It means hanging in there, that’s what it means to me. Both at watermelons and blueberries, I’ve been pretty resilient and successful at both. We never made much money on any one crop in any one year, but there were two or three years we would make a little extra and that would help us accumulate money to get started in blueberries.” Read Article
Jim Farley, Farley Cattle Company, Clay County
“You have to be tough enough and love ranching enough to overcome all adversity. Remain rooted in appreciation for when times are good and plentiful. Most importantly, love what you do and love your family.”Read Article
John Dooner, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Gadsden County
“Farmers and ranchers have proven to be resilient throughout the course of time. There is an enormous amount of pressure on our state’s resources as we continue to see thousands of people move to Florida every day. The only way to deal with the unprecedented growth in our state is to recognize the benefits of our Ag land and put a value on them. The population boom is concerning, but I think we can put a positive spin on it and looks at it as an opportunity in agriculture to create value that has not historically existed. As the original stewards of the land, what is more compelling than that?” Read Article
Danielle Daum, Women’s Leadership Chair, Highlands County
“This year’s theme “Rooted in Resilience” aptly describes Farm Bureau Women. We are resilient in our personal lives as mothers, daughters and sisters as well as in our business and professional lives. Agriculture is lucky to have so many women championing for it.”
Lynn Mills, VCH Ranch, DeSoto County
“From start to finish, the process is a challenge, but it’s so rewarding to see it all come together and know that this work is helping feed people across the country.” Read Article
Brenda Gayle Land, District 2 Women’s Leadership Chair, Lafayette County
“Farmers give their lives to the land and my faith in God is what has sustained me through adversity over the years. As farmers we have to be adaptable and flexible in this ever-changing and unpredictable lifestyle. Faith is how we do it.” Read Article
Brandt and Samantha Hendricks, Young Farmers and Ranchers State Leadership Group, Santa Rosa County
“Being involved in production agriculture has a lot of unknowns. We plant the seed and pray every day for it to put roots down and grow.” Read Article
Anna Jameson, Brite Leaf Citrus Nursery, Sumter County
“You can’t always take without giving back and expect the land to stay healthy and fertile, so for us, it’s very important that we produce our crops in the most sustainable ways possible. We are constantly evolving our efforts to protect natural resources and honor my family’s legacy of farming in Florida.” Read Article
Imogene Yarborough, Yarborough Ranches, Seminole County
“Agriculture and passion go together as far as I’m concerned because you have to think strongly about what makes your living. And agriculture is our living.” Watch Video
Bill Waller, Hurricane Michael Recovery, Bay County
“Sometimes you just have to play the cards that are dealt to you and get through adversity. Once a catastrophe hits, you can’t go back and undo it, you just make the best you can out of it and move forward.” Read Article
Mickey Diamond, JM Diamond Farms, Santa Rosa County
“We all learn from each other and come harvest time, three of us neighbors pool labor and equipment. We can pretty well time it to know whose peanut crop to pick and we get it out in a hurry.” Read Article
State Representative Josie Tomkow
“I am committed to supporting farmers and ranchers to make sure their voices are heard. I grew up working cows with my dad. I am proud of my Ag background and how it has shaped me into who I am today.” Read Article
Paul Orsenigo, Orsenigo Farms, Western Palm Beach County
“There were tribulations, highs and lows, and good and bad times, but by the mid-1990s, we’d established a thriving sugarcane operation. Through the year’s we’ve come to appreciate the importance of diversification because it’s just so unpredictable.” Read Article
Steve Singleton, Singleton & Sons Farms, St. Johns County
“My dad was driven in a way that most people aren’t–he just didn’t know how to give up-and thanks to that drive and his positive outlook, he beat the odds and was successful. It’s an honor to continue building upon his legacy.” Read Article
Jacob Wangle, Young Farmers & Ranchers State Leadership Group, District 1
“For me, rooted in resilience means that no matter what situations or circumstances arise, agriculture in the state of Florida will always be standing strong at the end of the day.” Read Article