As president of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association for 26 years, Mike Stuart has been a highly respected leader, ambassador and spokesperson for Florida specialty crop agriculture. His leadership and dedicated service have benefited the grower-shipper community statewide, regionally and nationally. Throughout his career, he has been a sought-out source of knowledge and expertise in federal, state and industry advisory roles in trade, workforce issues, produce safety, pests and disease, and more.
Stuart spent his entire career in the produce industry. He began as a produce clerk at a supermarket chain in Newport Beach, California. He soon was hired by Western Growers Association and served produce growers in California and Arizona for 13 years before FFVA named him president in 1992.
At FFVA, he served and represented producers of vegetables, citrus, tropical fruit and sugar cane in Florida, providing effective leadership and representation at all levels of government.
His leadership on trade, labor and immigration reform and other issues, his unique ability to develop strong coalitions and bring consensus on contentious issues, and his voice of reason in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., have ensured that Florida’s specialty crop industry continues to thrive.
At the federal level, Stuart led as co-chair of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, working through three Farm Bills to secure federal investment in programs critical to fruit and vegetable production. He held numerous government advisory positions to ensure U.S. trade policy adequately reflects the interests of the specialty crop industry, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee, the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Fruits and Vegetables, the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council Board of Directors, and the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee.
Stuart served the community as a member of the Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s board of directors for 13 years, eight of those as chairman. He also has been deeply involved with the Orlando Regional Medical Center Trauma Center. He is retiring from FFVA after 26 years at the helm.