The Agriculture Day was a great day in terms of experience and overall education. I
thought that the only large industry in Highlands County was citrus and some cattle, and
was extremely surprised to discover all the massive local businesses in our area that
impact all of us.
First of all, the (first location) was a great experience, because having 90% of any
industry in one county is amazing. Also, the fact that one family had built up Happiness
Farms from two people to a high-capacity manufacturing complex with machines and
over 50 employees is fascinating. Next, Delray Plants was an interesting experience
due to its sheer size. Learning that someone local actually owns over a hundred acres
of facilities was new for me. I actually thought that the executives and chairman lived
Lastly, Smoak Ranch did not disappoint. Learning all about the cattle industry, how
Florida dominates in the citrus field, and that every career can lead to agriculture was
interesting to me. Being able to learn in an open environment is a rare experience, as is
meeting the owners of such large operations. Just the ambition and "family grit" that
goes in to each of the huge operations caught my attention immediately.
Overall, Ag Day was my favorite day of the program so far, and cannot wait for
Government Day and the Grocery Store Race. Being able to meet such great people
and learn about what they do is fantastic. I know for a fact that the next class will enjoy it
when they go.
P.S. Leadership qualities I learned: Family connection builds personal strength, honesty,
teamwork, perseverance, learning from mistakes, looking at the competition to improve,
and trust is the key to success