The reinvigorated Florida Grower Citrus Show was a crowd-pleaser in its first year hosted by AgNet Media. The annual event was relocated to University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) facilities in Fort Pierce. It was streamlined from a two-day format to a one-day event.
The show brought together exhibitors who treated attendees to tailgate-style foods in an outdoor trade show. The well-attended educational programs included a general session as well as citrus and vegetable seminars. The general session addressed land-use trends, ag water policy and more.
At the trade show, growers voted for their favorite foods. Southern Citrus Nurseries took home the prize for its vegetable spring rolls. Those who attended were fond of the new format, which was structured to allow growers, industry members and vendors extended time to mingle in a relaxed setting.
Mitchel Burney, site manager with Everglades Equipment Group, had a positive impression of the tailgate-style setup of the trade show. “When I first heard about it, I was trying to think about how it was going to come together. Now that I see it, I think it’s a good idea. I think it gives you more interaction with your customers.
“We’ve been doing the Citrus Show for as long as I can remember, and it’s always good. You get to see all of your customers in one spot and catch up … They know you’re not there to sell them something. They know you’re there supporting the industry.”
Another new feature of the event was the addition of a vegetable seminar program. Topics such as a new thrips species, insecticide resistance, whiteflies, and weed and nematode management were highlighted. The program allowed for additional attendees, which was a win for the participating exhibitors.
The citrus sessions focused on several facets of production, including nutrient recommendations, HLB management, new scions and rootstocks, and updates on field trials.
“I think it’s a great event all around. You bring in all parties of the industry. You bring in the retailers, the growers, everyone from UF/IFAS and USDA. You get us here, and we get to talk and interact,” said Miles Armstrong, senior ag sales advisor for BASF in Florida. “It’s just a great event to come out to, see what’s happening in the industry, catch up on current trends and see what’s changed with the research that’s been going on in the last couple of years.”
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