Servicing Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties 11741 Palm Beach Blvd., Ste. 202, Ft. Myers, FL 33905 Tel: 239-690-0281

About Us


Board of Directors

Standing, left to right:  Dale Johnson; Joe Hilliard II; Wayne Simmons and Ron Hamel.

Seated, left to right:  Rob Atchley; Ron Mahan and Danny Sutton.

Board members absent from photograph are: Lee Jones, Tom Kirschner, Bob Newsome, Julie Paul Obney, Dan Pool, Jr., Aaron Troyer and David Wheeler.

Charlotte County

Filled with an At Large Seat

Collier County

Tom Kirschner, Cooperative Producers, Inc.

Ron Mahan, Tamiami Citrus, LP

Bob Newsome, Barron Collier Partnership

Glades County

David Wheeler, Wheeler Farms, Inc.

Hendry County

Rob Atchley, A. Duda & Sons, Inc.

Joe Hilliard, II, Hilliard Brothers of FL., LTD

Lee Jones, Gardinier Florida Citrus

Wayne Simmons, LaBelle Fruit Co., LLC

Danny Sutton, Alico, Inc.

Lee County

Aaron Troyer, Troyer Brothers Citrus

At-Large Seats

Dale Johnson, JEBCO Citrus

Julie Paul Obney, John R Paul, Jr. Family Partnership

Dan Pool, Jr., Custom Citrus Care

2017-18 Officers

Seated: Rob Atchley, Treasurer and Ron Mahan, President

Standing: Danny Sutton, Vice President and Wayne Simmons, Secretary

Committee Chairs

GCGA President Bob Newsome recently appointed the following individuals to chair the association’s operating committees. Please contact these leaders for updates and information related to their respective committee.

Government Affairs, Mark Wheeler
Workforce, Paul Meador
Long Range Planning, Wayne Simmons
Production & Research, Joby Sherrod
Tax, Cliff Bowen


Ron Hamel

Ron Hamel

Ron Hamel, Executive Vice President

Bernadette Rashford

Bernadette Rashford

Bernadette Rashford, Director, Administrative & Membership Services


Citrus Pests & Diseases

  • Coordinating “regional” Asian Citrus Psyllid spraying efforts to combat HLB
  • Negotiated establishment of PCR Laboratory for “Greening” identification at SWFREC
  • Scheduled “local” grower workshops related to CANKER
  • Worked with “citrus” leaders on funding for CANKER eradication and compensation
  • Coordinated ALL “local” media relations related to CANKER

Taxation & Valuation

  • Worked to defeat the “stormwater utility tax” on citrus/agriculture in Charlotte, Collier and Lee Counties
  • Challenged the valuation process for ad valorem taxes on groves in Hendry County and WON
  • Monitor the valuation process for citrus groves/ ad valorem taxes in each of five counties
  • Negotiated reduced valuations of groves in Charlotte County and a process re-evaluation

Water Management Issues

  • Led the development of “GULF CITRUS” Best Management Practices (BMPs) and obtained thousands in “cost/share” funding for implementation
  • Negotiated “equitable” water use “restrictions” for low-volume citrus irrigation (SFWMD)
  • Negotiated “workable” rule revisions for AG consumptive water use permits (SFWMD)
  • Hosted SFWMD upper-management sessions regarding AG water use permit renewals
  • Participate in water supply planning efforts (protect AG) for Lower West Coast (SFWMD)
  • Coordinate “regional/local” supply allocations during water use restriction periods
  • Monitor FDEP/EPA water quality initiatives (TMDLs, etc) in regional water bodies
  • Plan and host several “regional” citrus/agricultural water management conferences
  • Maintain working relationships with Governing Board and senior staff of SFWMD

Land Use & Private Property Rights

  • Chaired Collier County Rural Lands Committee
  • Negotiated “workable” Lee County “Southern Bald Eagle” ordinance
  • Represent citrus/agri-property owners on Hendry County Rural Lands Committee
  • Represent citrus/agri-property owners on Charlotte County 2050 & East Land Plans
  • Represent citrus/agri-property owners on Lee County “Smart Growth” Committee
  • Negotiated “revisions” in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Florida Panther Protection Plan
  • Plan and host several “regional” citrus/agricultural “enviro/species” related meetings

Governmental Relations

  • Coordinate “citrus/agricultural issues briefings” with State and Federal elected officials (Members of State Legislature and Congress)
  •  Maintain contact with county administrators
  •  Maintain contact with county commissioners
  •  Maintain membership on S W Florida Transportation Initiative (SWFTI)
  •  Arranged for 5 “Resolutions/Letter of support for maintaining tariff on imported juice

Labor Relations/Mechanical Harvesting

  • Plan and host SW Florida Agricultural Labor Compliance Seminars with U.S. Department of Labor and Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Administrators
  •   Co-Sponsor Annual Agricultural Labor Relations Conference
  •   Implement “Partnership Agreement” (education efforts) with U.S. Department of Labor
  •   Work with local Catholic Charities/other county leaders on farm worker housing issues
  •   Work with S W Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on labor relations issues
  •   Promote a focus on “mechanical harvesting” at SW Florida Research & Education Center
  •   Establish a UF/IFAS Mechanical Harvesting Advisory Committee (SWFREC/CREC)

Community Outreach & Industry Relations

  • Be “the voice” of the citrus growing industry of Southwest Florida
  •  Represent the citrus/agricultural community on Lee County’s Horizon Council
  •  Interface with Florida Gulf Coast University College of Business
  •  Interface with Florida Gulf Coast University Administration
  •  Sponsor the FGCU “Future of Agriculture in S W Florida” Study
  •  Interface with regional business/economic development organizations
  •  Serve as mass media contact for citrus/agricultural news reporting
  •  Provide sponsorships, contributions, and scholarships to county/regional charitable groups