FL Specialty Crop Foundation Names Sonia Tighe Executive Director

Randall Weiseman Florida, Specialty Crops

MAITLAND, Fla. – The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation has appointed agriculture industry veteran Sonia Tighe as its executive director effective Aug. 1.

A veteran of agricultural publishing, Tighe spent 26 years with Vance Publishing Corp., the last five of which she served as group publishing director. She is vice president of Florida Agri-Women, chair of the Florida Ag Expo Committee, and co-chair of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association s Benefit Auction. She holds a bachelor s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee.

The foundation continues to provide resources for production research and support for the people who work and live in our farming communities, said Tony DiMare, foundation chairman. Sonia s enthusiasm and passion for agriculture will help take the foundation into the future.

FFVA President Mike Stuart added, Sonia s leadership and strong relationship with those in Florida s specialty crop industry will be an asset for the foundation moving forward. We re very pleased that she is on board.

The foundation addresses myriad challenges to Florida agriculture by supporting research, education and philanthropic outreach in the community. This fiscal year, the foundation received two federal Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants for research of tomato and potato late blight and for development of a farm labor contractor training program. In addition, the foundation provides college scholarships to deserving high school graduates who are children of farm workers. Scholarships were awarded to two students this year.

I am very excited to work with the knowledgeable team at FFVA and to support the important projects of the foundation, Tighe said. The foundation is involved in several critical areas of research, education and support of organizations such as RCMA, and I look forward to expanding the depth of our work. It is a privilege to work with the growers, researchers and allied industry members in these endeavors.

The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation was established in 1991 to address specialty crop growers’ scientific and knowledge needs in the production, marketing, transportation and consumption of fruits and vegetables. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the foundation operates to benefit the Florida specialty crops industry and society as a whole.