Florida Grower magazine chose Glenn Beck as the 2023 Citrus Achievement Award winner. He is featured in the magazine’s June cover story. For more than 20 years, the people who have won the award have helped shape the history of the state’s citrus sector. Some years, selecting a winner is an easy process because the person checks so many boxes. This was one of those years.
TAKING THE LEAD
The majority of years the Citrus Achievement Award has been presented has been in the era of HLB. It is no surprise that many of the past winners have distinguished themselves because of their efforts to fight the disease. Serving as Florida Citrus Mutual’s president, Beck has been in the middle of this battle. And, during his tenure, a freeze and two hurricanes hit the industry hard. If there was ever a time for advocacy, this is the time.
Beck stepped up to the plate and has worked tirelessly to represent growers by making frequent trips to Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., to seek assistance in disaster recovery and the ongoing fight against HLB. He has done all this on a volunteer basis, all while managing a significant citrus business with his brother Mark and family. He’s doing the work and fully engaged in the farming end of the business.
Beck has been serving at a time when the industry is at a crossroads. Many growers, including Beck, are hopeful the new trunk-injection therapy for HLB will help the industry begin to take the road to some form of recovery. Beck was an advocate in helping get the materials registered, and now he is in the middle of the effort to help direct funds to growers so they can afford the treatments.
“We are starting to see some flush and bigger leaves and fruit sizes, and overall tree vigor seems better if we stare at the trees long enough,” Beck joked. “Trunk injection is the shining star of the day. If it produces favorable results, you will see some growers reengage and get back into planting. Is it going to be the solution from here on out? No, I think that probably will come in the form of a resistant tree. But for now, if it allows us to keep productive in the current environment, we will take it.”
WINNING PEOPLE OVER
Beck brings credibility to his leadership through his humble and friendly manner. He’s not a loud soapbox kind of person. His personality is genuine and wins people over. That’s important when advocating in front of policymakers.
Despite all the challenges the industry faces, Beck has always carried a message of optimism about the future. While he has communicated his down days and the dire threat HLB represents, he remains confident the citrus industry will beat the disease.
“I am not immune to having bad days. I walk into some of our groves, and I don’t feel all that optimistic. But then there’s others where I can see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
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