In the Grove & On the Record - Clint Updike
This edition’s profile features Justin Sorrells of Arcadia. As President/CEO of DeSoto Fruit and Harvesting, Sorrells oversees the daily harvesting and fruit hauling operations. He also serves as a fruit buyer for Sorrells Citrus.
Triangle: What is your job title and description?
Updike: I am an Agriculture Land Manager and owner of Updike Citrus Services.
Triangle: Can you give me some background on the company you work for?
I started Updike Citrus Services five years ago and we’ve grown from there. We do work in citrus caretaking and harvesting as well as a few cows.
Triangle: Have you always been in citrus or have you worked in other industries?
Updike: I’ve pretty much always been in citrus.
Triangle: Where are you from?
Updike: I was born in Umatilla and raised in Polk County.
Triangle: Is your family in the citrus industry?
Triangle: Who or what were the key influences in your life related to your involvement in the citrus industry?
Updike: There are two influences that I have to mention. The first is my dad who taught me how to work the groves; and the second is Squire Smith who helped open a lot of doors to opportunities for me.
Triangle: What is your first memory in or related to the groves?
Updike: My first memory is riding in a MAC truck with my dad delivering fruit at the Duck.
Triangle: What do you find the most challenging about being in the Florida citrus industry?
Updike: One of our biggest challenges is getting the politicians to understand how important citrus is to the state of Florida. Citrus is king and will always be king, but there are a lot of people who don’t agree with that.
Triangle: What should people who aren’t in agriculture know about citrus and farming in general?
Updike: That we love the land. And that citrus and ag have a very heavy economic impact on the state of Florida and are vital to the economy.
Triangle: What do you think will change about the Florida citrus industry in the next five years?
Updike: I think that IFAS will find something to help us with all of the stuff we’re dealing with – a silver bullet I guess.
Triangle: If you weren’t in citrus, what would you be doing instead?
Triangle: What other organizations are you involved in?
Updike: I’m involved in Farm Bureau, Ridge Runners, Florida Club and a few other groups.
Triangle: What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced – personally or professionaly?
Updike: One of the greatest challenges has been getting all the work done and still making sure that I have enough time with my family.
Triangle: Why do you believe it is important to be a member of Florida Citrus Mutual?
Updike: I think it’s important to support Mutual so that they can help try to keep the Brazilians and the politicians straight.
Triangle: What can Mutual do better?
Updike: I think Mutual’s doing a fantastic job with the hand they’ve been dealt and the situations our industry has to deal with.