2014 WLI Alumni Trip
Scotland: August 14-24
Here is the information you have been waiting for!
You can reserve your spot and make your deposit by calling 1-800-438-7672 and referencing trip number 64940359 or visiting our personalized website. Please reference the trip number when reserving online to ensure you are associated with our WLI Alumni group!
The tour group is holding a block of 20 spots for us until June 30th. They can open up more if we need them with a maximum of 45 guests.
The deposit per person is $450 due at the time of reservation. The final payment date is 70 days prior to departure.
Erin recommends TravelSafe Gold insurance, which is upgraded at no cost to AnyTime Protection when purchased within two weeks of reservation. Insurance is based on tour price, so it may vary depending on gateway, single vs. twin room, cabin type, etc.
Anyone who signs up on our tour by April 30th can take advantage of the buy one get one optional excursion for free up to $75 in value. This means that each person will have to indicate at least two optional excursions they want to include at the time of reservation (they can swap these out later before the final payment due date) and we will put a $75 credit towards their tour in their account.
Nancy McDonald (Class III) will receive FNGLA's most prestigious honor--the Wendell Butler Award. Nancy will recieve this award at FNGLA's annual meeting in June. CONGRATULATIONS NANCY!
Congratulations also to Jennifer Helms-Shelley (Class VIII) for receiving the 2013 FNGLA Young Nursery Professional award. WLI alumni will be well represented at the FNGLA's annual meeting!
Congrats to Armando Campos (Class VII) for being chosen as the new chairman of the Florida Certified Crop Advisers Board of Directors. Here he is honoring Dr. Tom Obreza, right, for his years of leadership as the board chairman.
Keith Wedgworth (Class VII) was recently chosen as Agri-Industrial Man of the Year for his family’s continued tradition of giving back to the community, displaying the virtue of a strong work ethic, being a good land steward and stressing the importance of education. Congrats, Keith! He’s pictured above with his beautiful daughter Whitney Kay and wife Amanda.
Pines Elected to Leadership Post in
Voting Advocacy Organization
Elizabeth C. Pines, Class VII, is the First Vice President of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
She has been practicing immigration law for nearly 20 years and is the founding partner of Elizabeth C. Pines, PA, a boutique law firm dedicated to helping foreign nationals with immigration matters in the U.S. Pines is very involved in the state and local communities in which she lives. She sits on the board of the League of Women Voters of Florida and the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County. She has taken on leadership roles, as Chair of the Fair Districts Committee and the Executive Committee at the state level and she chairs the nominating committee and the Immigration Task Force for LWV of Miami-Dade County.
Pines remains active in her local school as a mentor to high school girls from the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. She has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1996 and formerly served on the South Florida Chapter board.
Pines received her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Miami in 1985 and earned an M.B.A. there in 1988. She received her Juris Doctor degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in 1994.
Cost-share Program for On-Farm Weather Stations
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has established a cost-share program to help producers enrolled in FDACS Best Management Practices purchase on-site weather stations and temperature sensors. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, requests related to irrigation for frost/freeze protection will be given priority.
Producers who own operations with less than 300 acres of production land can apply for one station and up to five temperature sensors for each operation. Producers who own larger operations can apply for one station and up to five temperature sensors for each 300 acres of production land on the operation(s). FDACS will provide 75 percent of the cost up to a $25,000 maximum per producer, with a $5,000 cap per station/sensors set. For more info:
Sandy and Robin Stein, Class VII, grace the cover of Nursery Management magazine! They own The Jungle Nursery in Homestead, Fla., and have tweaked and transformed their business into a surviving and thriving nursery. Read their article here and check out his quote at the end of the article. Speaking of WLI, he says, “I was the oldest person in the class when I went through, but outside of my family, this was the greatest experience of my life.”
Jamie Hall, Class V, of Walnut Hill, Florida passed away Sunday, March 10 from a massive heart attack. Jamie was 43 years old. He served as the chair of UF/IFAS Escambia County Extension Council and was also a member of the Farm Bureau board of directors in Escambia County. As a graduate of the Wedgworth Leadership Program, he was a very active member in the agriculture community and was doing what we all had been taught to do -- get involved and make a difference.
He was a district forester for Resource Management Service LLC and owned Hall Purebred Angus Farms. He graduated from Auburn University and was a proud War Eagle.
He leaves behind his widow Blaire and two children, Tucker and Capri.
Visitation will be held Thursday, March 14, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. from the Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held Friday, March 15, at 10 a.m from the Johnson-Quimby Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Gene King and Rev. Clarence Melvin officiating. Interment will follow in Oak Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. For more information, click here.
Stephanie Bloyd, his colleague, fellow Class V member and friend, supplied a link to his obituary.
Please mail letters of condolence to his widow, Blaire Hall, PO Box 122, Walnut Hill, FL 32568.
Dr. Gene Trotter Inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame
|Alumni from all classes were in attendance at the Hall of Fame ceremony and reception given in Dr. Trotter's honor.
To view a photo gallery of the reception, click here.
Click here to download high-resolution gallery photos suitable for printing; however, this high resolution download page and link will be removed within a matter of weeks. From the download page you can choose to download and save individual images or they can all be downloaded at once by saving the "archive.zip" file from atop the file list to your computer.
The late Dr. Eugene E. Trotter was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in their annual banquet and ceremony at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on February 12, 2013. Dr. Trotter established the Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1992 at the University of Florida, which became the Wedgworth Leadership Institute Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2003. He served as director for 12 years and helped graduate many influential individuals who positively impact the future of Florida.
Dr. Trotter dedicated his life to agricultural education and to improving the leadership capacity of Florida agriculture. Raised on a farm in rural Illinois, Dr. Trotter had a passion for agriculture from the beginning.
After completing degrees from Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois, Dr. Trotter directed the Agricultural Leadership Program at Michigan State University for 11 years. Dr. Trotter was then recruited by the University of Florida to establish a similar program.
In 2003 Trotter received the Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award from the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leaders, the same award his mentee and current Executive Director for WLIANR, Dr. Hannah Carter, recently received. Dr. Trotter passed away after an illness in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Gale, their daughter, Dottie, and countless Wedgworth alumni who also considered him family.
Of Dr. Trotter, Carter said, “This is a great honor for him and his family for the outstanding work he did in setting up and directing the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. The award is a testament to the impact this program has had on Florida agriculture.”
To view the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame webpage that chronicles his life, click here.
Class V Alumni Wins Bid for Florida House
Republican Halsey Beshears defeated Democrat Robert Hill in the Florida House 7 race, claiming more than 60 percent of the vote. The two were battling the state’s largest House district in terms of land area.
He’s a Class V alumnus and the current CFO of Simpson Nurseries and president of Total Landscape Supply which serves customers across the southeast and mid-Atlantic states.
Beshears based his campaign on paring back regulations that impact his fellow farmers and small businesses. He said he wants to improve morale among state workers and has pledged to oppose the privatization of state prisons.
As he took in the results with his friends and family in Monticello, he said he was “blown away” and a “little bit taken aback” by the margin of victory.
“In all sincerity, it’s humbling,” he said.
"I'm not going to take anything away from his hard work and his success," Hill said, praising Beshears for keeping the tone positive.
"This is the way campaigns should be," Hill said.
Dr. Hannah Carter receives the Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award
Dr. Hannah Carter, director of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR), recently received the Outstanding Leadership Program Director Award at the annual meeting of the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership (IAPAL) in Canandaigua, New York.
Dr. Carter was honored for her excellence in teaching, research and extension. The award also recognizes her mentorship and service through launching positive leadership trajectories and legacies for fortunate students, staff, colleagues and friends.
“[Carter] is highly respected by her peers in leadership development in this country and internationally and we are proud to recognize her talents and impacts with this prestigious award, “said Dr. Joe Waldrum, executive secretary for the IAPAL association.
Stephen Basore, a program graduate and president of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute Alumni Association states “The investment Dr. Hannah Carter has made in the professional development of Wedgworth participants and alumni has made a huge difference in the quality of our experience in WLIANR and beyond.”
We congratulate Dr. Carter and the WLIANR as it’s a testament of her and the program's positive influences on issues affecting Florida agriculture.
Congrats to Richard May (Class VII) for being a finalist for Florida Farm Bureau’s 2012 Achievement in Agriculture. Richard helps lead a 500-acre family farm, providing landscape plants to distributors and wholesale nurseries. To read his story about his farm’s success, click here to view the October issue of FloridAgriculture.
Jim Snively (Class VI) was featured in an article in the Tampa Tribune about his work with citrus research. Jim is a fourth-generation citrus grove owner and works a day job as vice-president of Southern Gardens Citrus in Clewiston. He also sits on the research management committee for the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, dedicated to eradicating citrus diseases.To read his story, click here.
Congrats to Ed Pines (Class IV), who was name one of four "Top Growers of Year" for Tropicana Products for the 2011-12 season. The award recognizes the best growers in the state from production, harvesting, land stewardship and industry dedication. For Ed, who is vice president and general manager of Pines Ranch, Inc., this is a very special accomplishment, as it reflects all the hard work, dedication and passion that he does on a daily basis.
On October 7th, CBS’s Sunday Morning show featured Dr. James Thurber, who many of you will recall opened up our national seminar in Washington, D.C. Thurber was featured throughout the piece and spoke about many of the things he covers in his presentation to WLI classes. Dr. Thurber is the first speaker we book for the DC seminar and he speaks highly of all the WLI classes that he’s met and interacted with—because of that, Dr. Carter thought this might be of interest to many of you!
Here’s the link to both the video and text of the segment.
Alumni Appointed to Soil and Water
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam appointed two alumni to guide Florida’s new streamlined Soil and Water Conservation Council: Nancy McDonald (Class III) and Eric Hjort (Class VII).
The council provides input to the state department on legal matters relating to statewide soil and water conservation. Putman stated that the council “...will also allow for a more focused advisory body that is better suited to provide guidance relating to soil and water conservation issues throughout Florida.”
Eric is the general manager of Tater Farms in St. Augustine. Nancy owns NGM Productions, Inc. in Mt. Dora and is active in the Florida Farm Bureau and Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.
From left to right, David McDonald, Class VI; Nancy McDonald, Class III, Gale Trotter, Wes Wheeler, Class V; and Dottie Trotter in recognizing the McDonalds as the recipients of the Gene Trotter Award for excellence.
Ray Royce, Class VII, pictured here with Dr. Hannah Carter, received the Honorary Director Award.
Congratulations to Billy Butterfield, Class VI, pictured here with Shane Platt, Class II. Billy received the Farm Credit Leadership Award!
Past president, Jeff Lee, Class VI, receiving recognition for serving as president from new president Stephen Basore, Class VI
Mike Joyner, Class I, left, receiving the Burl Long Leadership Award!
Alumni in the News
The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) named Danny Kushmer (Class II) the 2012 president of the year and awarded his FPRA chapter, Dick Pope/Polk County, with the Financial Development Award for their diligent efforts in raising funds for chapter and community initiatives.
Danny assumed his role as the DP/PC chapter president last year and inspired his board of directors and members to make a difference in our community and profession. Under his leadership, the chapter hosted the inaugural A-C-T Carillon Classic 5k Run and Walk, which attracted more than 300 participants and raised funds for the chapter and the George W. Harris Jr. Youth Runaway and Crisis Shelter. Danny is known for his effective communication skills, creativity and ability to “think on his feet.” He serves as the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s community affairs manager and is responsible for representing the district’s interests in local and state legislation, working specifically with elected officials in Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties.
Brad Hester (Class II) has been selected for Florida Trend's Legal Elite for 2012 for his practice of real estate law. Selection is based on peer recommendation and represents only two percent of the 67,000 active Florida Bar members. To view the report, click here. Brad is an attorney with Frank A. Hamner, PA in Winter Park. Congrats Brad!
Richard W. Schwab (Class VI) wrote an editorial for the Gainesville Sun regarding the effects of possible new EPA guidelines on the cost of biofuel. To view the article, click here. Richard is a Florida Board Member of the American Loggers Council and procurement manager for MA Rigoni in Perry.
Class V’s Erin Freel received the Florida Cattlemen’s Association’s Outstanding Service Award at their annual meeting in Marco Island in late June. In presenting this prestigious award, president Don Quincey proclaimed that Freel has been “…a tremendous asset to me and the entire organization.” Congrats Erin!
Mark Wheeler Named Citrus Mutual President
The Florida Citrus Mutual board of directors elected James “Mark” Wheeler, Class III, as their new present for a one-year term. He is the chief financial officer of Wheeler Farms, Inc. headquartered in Lake Placid.
Wheeler also serves as a director of Wheeler Brothers, Inc. a family-held citrus contract-harvesting corporation and is president of the Hardee Livestock Market, Inc. in Wauchula, Florida. Additionally, Wheeler serves as president of the Boston Mining company, a citrus, real estate and cash investment organization.
With a long family history in agriculture, Wheeler is a member of the fourth generation to work in agriculture and third generation to work in citrus. As president of Florida Citrus Mutual he looks forward to continue its outreach efforts of and increase membership. A recent article in the Tampa Tribune highlights his professional and civic work, to view, click here.
Wheeler is very active in his community serving on the AgFirst Farm Credit Bank Board and Board Member of the Farm Credit of SW Florida. Wheeler is a member of the advisory board for Riverside National Bank of Highlands County and a board member of the newly formed Mason G. Smoak Foundation.
He was first elected to represent District 10 in 2005 and has served as Southern-Area Vice President. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Troy State University.
More than 20 years of
growing agricultural leaders!
The Mason G. Smoak Foundation, named after an alumni of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute (Class V), was founded in 2008 after his tragic death. Mason Smoak had the rare spirit of lending a helping hand and impacting his community in positive ways. These exceptional characteristics live on through the Foundation, which is a faith-based organization that partners with nonprofits dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children, and will assist those who suddenly find themselves in need. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting education, preserving and protecting the environment and fostering opportunities for leadership development.
The Foundation hopes to raise support to meet the mission of the organization and continue to build an endowment, which will fund the Foundation for many years to come. Annual gifts to the Foundation will do just that, help to meet the needs of the community and establish a legacy which will have an impact well into the future.
The Leadership Circle of the Mason G. Smoak Foundation seeks to annually fund the programs and endowment of the Foundation. Through leadership level annual gifts, grants and scholarships will be awarded and the endowment will grow to continue funding the Foundation for years to come. Click here to learn how you can continue Mason’s efforts of making the world a better place.
Please mail your check with a notation somewhere that states your class (if applicable) and made payable to the Mason G. Smoak Foundation and mail to:
P.O. Box 1396
Winter Haven, FL 33882-1396