Emma Keller became executive director of the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association (PRVCGA) Aug. 8. Keller, who is finishing her senior year at Warner University, succeeds Kait Shaw. She is working on a degree in agricultural science with a minor in communications.
Keller was born in Charlotte County, Florida. “I grew up on an orange grove in Punta Gorda,” she says. Several of her family members work in the citrus industry, and her father is a grower. “Having a parent from the industry gave me the opportunity to work in the groves growing up,” she says.
Keller interned for Alico, Inc., where she says she had “many opportunities to learn many aspects of production as well as management.”
“My goals (at PRVCGA) are to truly be a helpful resource for our growers,” Keller says. “I know their jobs are so difficult as our industry keeps facing hardships. I have seen firsthand how much sacrifice producers make every day to keep the legacy of Florida citrus going.”
Keller thinks one of the main priorities for the Florida citrus industry is learning to adapt. “As we face more hardships, it continues to get more challenging with doing things our old ways,” she says. “Luckily for us, citrus producers are used to change. I think one of the things it’s important we work toward is vocalizing what we are all doing in our groves. The industry is small and continues to get smaller. One of the things I loved about it growing up was how growers knew each other. With us having a small group involved, I like to view it more as a family. Why wouldn’t we want to protect our kin? At the end of the day, we are all facing the same things and should work together to find out what is working with our issues we face.”
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