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Griner takes over as president of Florida Cattlemen’s Assoc.

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By Sean Arnold

It’s been a bittersweet couple of months for Ken Griner.

The Chiefland rancher recently underwent a cutting edge proton beam radiation treatment for prostate cancer, which saw him making daily trips to Jacksonville over an eight-week stretch.

During that time, his wife, Lynetta Usher Griner, who with Ken owns and runs the family’s Usher Farm and Usher Land & Timber, Inc. in Chiefland, met with President Donald Trump and a small group of fellow agricultural leaders in Washington to discuss the state and future of the industry.

Two weeks after Griner completed that last of his treatments, he was introduced as the new president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA), on June 22 at its annual convention in Orlando.

Griner was previously the secretary of the FCA, which aims to promote and advocate for cattlemen producers. He was named the 2016 Farm Credit Rancher/Leader at last year’s convention for both his leadership in the cattle industry as well as his community works.

It’s a six-year process to become president,” Griner said. “Six years ago, it didn’t sound like that big of a deal when they said they we’re going to make me secretary.

“I’ve had some challenges that have had an impact on my preparation the last five years, but we’ve got such a good staff and bunch of people and an amazing grassroots organization. I’ve been engaged in groups in other states, like the Kansas Livestock Association, and Florida’s just unique because it’s family-oriented. There’s so much more grass-roots participation. People show up and grab a shovel.”

Lynetta Griner was named Florida’s Agriculture Woman of the Year in 2013, and the pair, which took over the family cattle and timber business in 1989, have claimed several logger of the year honors.

Griner has pledged to raise the FCA membership well beyond the current level of approx. 5,000, and implored his group to reconnect with the public and educate it on the industry, outlining its efforts in areas of the environment and natural resources.

“Our biggest focus going forward is trying to connect with the public,” he said. “They’re not going to come back to us, we’ve got to get out there and explain the value of agriculture. Not just for food, but for water generation, water filtration – we’ve got to make them understand who we are and what we do.”

He also noted the importance of pushing for improved animal traceability, especially as the prospect of increased beef exports to China looms.

Griner has led an effort in producing a composite breed of cattle that thrives in the Southeast, through more fine-tuned measurements in feeding and fertility.