The Florida Cattlemen’s Leadership Academy (FCLA) recently kicked off its 9th-year program in Kissimmee, Florida, at the Florida Cattlemen’s Association headquarters. FCLA is an annual program that identifies, develops, and encourages the next generation of leaders of the Florida cattle industry and the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA). Participants are nominated through their local cattlemen’s association to participate with 9-12 other emerging leaders in the Florida cattle industry to engage and learn how to serve as advocates of the beef industry. Participants are comprised of a combination of young cattle farmers/ranchers, allied industry professionals, and livestock research/education personnel. This collaboration of individuals allows a unique opportunity to learn and grow across multiple sectors of the Florida cattle industry.

FCLA Class IX discussion with Dr. Todd Thift, UF Animal Science Department.  Photo Credit: Nick Simmons, UF/IFAS


The general structure of FCLA is conducted through a combination of tours, educational sessions, and team-building activities; participants will develop leadership skills, industry knowledge, and an in-depth organizational understanding of FCA. This series of seminars will be conducted and facilitated by leaders from the cattle Industry and related businesses. In addition to developing a network of industry contacts and friends, participants will obtain skills that will serve them well both personally and professionally.

Class 9 gathered earlier this month in Kissimmee to participate in the 1st session of the FCLA program. Twelve individuals from 11 Florida counties came together for teambuilding and educational seminars. Participants were trained on the importance of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, its affiliates, and how to become spokespersons for the industry. Media training included skills to properly answer questions from consumers and broadcast media.

FCLA Class IX Group Shot

Florida Cattlemen’s Leadership Acadamey Class IX – September 2022


Day two of the 1st session included ranch tours to Rollins Ranch and Adams Ranch to discuss issues and opportunities for Florida cattle ranches. Issues that were discussed included increased input costs with feed, fertilizer, and equipment, urban development & loss of grazing land, and supply chain issues. Many Florida ranchers are increasingly engaged in land/water conservation and are continuing to pursue ways to increase their efforts, including participation in the gopher tortoise habitat conservation easements. Future sessions for Class 9 will include trips to Gainesville, South Florida, and Tallahassee. Participants will graduate at the 2023 FCA Convention in Marco Island, Florida next summer.

FCLA Ranch Tour

Ranch tour for FCLA Class IX, near Okeechobee, FL.

Eligibility Requirements for FCLA

  • Must be an active FCA member
  • Between the ages of 21-40
  • Be willing and able to commit to attending all scheduled seminar dates.
  • Four 2-3 Day Sessions (July/August, October/November, January, March)
  • Only 7-12 nominees will be selected to participate in FCLA Class X
  • County Association’s Nominees will be given special consideration in the selection process.


Nominations for the next class of FCLA are  due by April 1, 2023 for classes starting later in the fall. Individuals interested in participating in the program are encouraged to reach out to their local cattlemen’s association, or contact Dusty Holley, FCA Director of Field Services,