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90% of Any Industry In One Country

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

somewhere else!

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

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