Citrus Leadership Lacking
Lakeland Ledger – July 29, 2012
Missing in action? Or, still on-the-job training? Citrus producers in Florida have been horribly let down by the non-performance of the executive director of the Florida Citrus Commission during his first six months on the job.
Former Publix manager Douglas Ackerman has done nothing to stop the Florida Citrus industry’s downward freefall. National advertising campaigns have been chopped back. Marketing outreach to foreign countries is lacking. And attendance by Florida’s top citrus executive at national events to network and market our products just hasn’t happened.
What happened to the promise of new ideas and exciting changes to turn around the more-than-decade-long decline in the citrus industry? What happened to the high expectations from the Citrus Commission members who agreed to hire an executive director with absolutely no Florida citrus experience? What happened to hope from thousands of Floridians engaged in the state’s No. 1 industry that the new leadership would assure their continued existence?
There have been no new ideas from the executive director. High expectations from Citrus Commission members expecting brilliant new leadership have turned to embarrassment. Thousands of our colleagues and neighbors do not want to blame the poor leadership of the Citrus Commission — they just want results.
The poor showing of the executive director should have many on the Florida Citrus Commission shaking their fists and saying, “Enough already! Our $9 billion industry is too important to let this happen!”
Summertime, typically, is the time Citrus Commission members go on vacation and recharge for the busy upcoming season. However, unless the Citrus Commission begins to take action now to correct its mistake, summertime could be a time when disgruntled growers and producers begin to think of forming a new organization.
Florida citrus growers and producers should not accept the industry’s decline meekly. It is time to take action.