The Florida Cattlemen’s Association recently hosted the sold-out, week-long 85th annual FCA Convention held at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. The events featured guest speakers, awards ceremonies, youth competitions, the election of a new association president and officers, an increase in attendance and the new “Share your Heritage” initiative.
“The 85th annual Florida Cattlemen’s Convention was an incredible success as we saw a higher number of attendees, new guests and returning members and friends during our week-long convention,” said incoming FCA President, Matt Pearce of Okeechobee. “Through the ‘Share your Heritage’ initiative, youth events and fascinating keynote speakers, we honor our traditions while encouraging our next generation of cattlemen and cattlewomen as they grow our industry and feed the world.”
Notable guests who attended the 2019 FCA convention include Kayleigh McEnany, the newly-selected National Press Secretary for President Donald Trump and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, who addressed members and assisted in crowning the 2019 Florida Cattlemen’s Sweetheart, Casey Wingate.
Awards and event recap details:
The 2019 FCA convention staff saw a record number of attendees with more than 1200 registered members and guests; an increase of 12% from the previous year.
Incoming FCA President Matt Pearce of Okeechobee announced the “Share your Heritage” initiative during the annual convention after a presentation from outgoing President Alex Johns of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
New FCA officers include Gene Lollis as President Elect, Cliff Coddington as First Vice President, Wes Carlton as Second Vice President, Pat Durden as Treasurer and Dale Carlton as Secretary.
Keynote speakers and guests included Chauncey Goss, Southwest Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Chairman; Chris Pettit, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Agriculture Water Policy Executive Director; Noah Valenstein, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary; Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Kayleigh McEnany, National Press Secretary for President Donald Trump.
Clint Raulerson, Cowboy Poet, emceed during the final convention banquet.
The Kempfer Cattle Company was recognized as the FCA “Florida Rancher of the Year” and FCA “Researcher of the Year” was awarded to Jose Debuez.
Audubon Florida awarded “Conservation Friend of the Year” to Dr. Paul Gray, and Jim Strickland of Blackbeard Ranch was recognized as the “Sustainable Rancher of the Year.”
“Every year, we are reminded how blessed we are to be involved in such a great way of life,” said Pearce. “Thank you to all of our supporters, sponsors, event attendees and members for your great work in helping us feed the world, educating our friends and neighbors about Florida’s beef industry, and for sharing your heritage.”
To learn more about the Florida Cattlemen’s Association or any of the awards, events or happenings, visit https://www.floridacattlemen.org/.
About the Florida Cattlemen’s Association
Established in 1934, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA) is a statewide, nonprofit organization devoted entirely and exclusively to promoting and protecting the ability of cattlemen members to produce and market their products. Florida’s cattle industry is one of the 15th largest in the nation, centered around birthing and raising calves. Florida cattlemen are dedicated to the preservation of Florida’s land through county fairs, scholarship contests, youth competitions and events and the FCA continues to work diligently to give back to the communities served. To learn more about the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, visit https://www.floridacattlemen.org/.