And the East Ellijay, Ga.-based council’s executive director Terry Vorhees is optimistic on both.
“Our members have no idea the amount we’ve given to charity,” he said.
Council president Andrew Scott said it has spent $293,000 on community outreach just in the last five years. Scott recently joined Superior Sales Inc., Hudsonville, Mich., as vice president of sales and marketing.
Vorhees said 285 people attend the fall conference Sept. 26-28 in Myrtle Beach, of which, 61 were produce buyers.
He said the council gets its strength from all the volunteer leaders who have full-time jobs in the produce industry.
Scott outlined the council’s efforts at its spring Southern Exposure expo.
The 2013 event drew 1,609 attendees, of which 266 were buyers.
The 2014 event is scheduled for the Caribe hotel in Orlando with the theme of “Join us under the big top.”
Scott said in 2016, the group plans to change from its normal Tampa/Orlando rotation and hold its event at the Westin Diplomat hotel in Hollywood, Fla.
The fall conference included workshops on hiring practices and locally grown marketing strategies from southeast states’ agriculture departments, a golf tournament and keynote speaker, legendary Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden.
Bowden’s main point was about teaching and showing loyalty, as he did with his assistant coaches and players over the years.
“That’s a thing that’s more rare nowadays,” he said.
But it seems to be showing up pretty well for the Southeast Produce Council.