George Hamner ()
George Hamner has been a workhorse for Florida’s fresh segment for 43 years, providing active leadership to the Florida citrus industry by working closely with state and federal agencies to help bridge governmental, regulatory, grower and shipper communities. He has successfully led his family’s fresh fruit packing business, Indian River Exchange Packers, Inc. through all of the ups and downs of the citrus industry during the past five tumultuous decades, while volunteering his time in numerous industry organizations. Hamner has served as President of Florida Citrus Packers, Chairman of Citrus Administrative Committee, board member of New Varieties Development & Management Corp., President of Florida Citrus Mutual, President and Board member of Indian River Citrus League and member of the Florida Citrus Canker Technical Advisory Task Force. He has hosted trade missions, senior state and federal politicians, international regulatory review teams, emergency response investigators, and more to ensure a viable and sustainable industry. As President of Florida Citrus Mutual in the aftermath of NAFTA, he helped redirect the organization’s stated purpose in becoming the lead lobbying group for Florida citrus in both Tallahassee and Washington. His knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the fresh segment of the Florida citrus industry helped tremendously in updating those regulations, and his gift of leading meetings and bringing all the fresh fruit entities to a consensus was key to the success of modernizing the industry. He was the driving force to develop the PIQ program that saved growers millions of dollars in inspection fees, while maintaining strict quality standards, and was instrumental in expanding sales by helping to develop the protocol for shipping fruit to export markets. He also worked tirelessly to develop and prove that packinghouse wastewater was not harmful and did not require onerous and expensive testing. Always engaged in industry issues, Hamner was never shy about voicing his opinion, passion, and enthusiasm for the betterment of the Florida citrus industry.