Agriculture

JOSE SMITH

CEO, COSTA FARMS, REDLAND

Founded in the 1960s as a tomato and citrus grower, Costa Farms has expanded into a politically connected behemoth with more than $500 million in revenue. In 2017, Markel Corp. acquired a majority interest in Costa Farms and related operating companies, including a trucking company, a grower that provides young plants to other finished growers, a retail marketing arm and an international operation that provides materials for its operations. The Costa family — including Smith, Executive Vice President Maria Costa Smith and Executive Vice President Jose A. Costa — continue to operate the business. Costa Farms is one of the top half-dozen growers of ornamental plants in the nation, with more than 4,000 acres under cultivation and 5,000 employees, including workers in the Carolinas, Chile and the Dominican Republic. It grows more than 1,500 kinds of plants.

Smith has both a bachelor’s and MBA degree from the University of Florida. He worked briefly as a financial analyst for Ryder System before moving to Costa 28 years ago. Over the past half-dozen years, Costa Farms has pursued an acquisition strategy and has bought a number of other growers, including Green Leaf Nursery, Delray Plants and Layman Wholesale Nurseries.

ERNIE BARNETT

FLORIDA LAND COUNCIL

Michael Basore

TKM Bengard Farms

RICK DANTZLER

CITRUS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

MALLORY DIMMITT

LYKES BROTHERS

Pepe Fanjul Jr.

Florida Crystals

DONELL GWINN

GWINN BROTHERS FARM

ELLIS HUNT

HUNT BROTHERS

Mitch Hutchcraft

King Ranch

Mike Joyner

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

GENE LOLLIS

ARCHBOLD BUCK ISLAND RANCH

ADAM PUTNAM

DUCKS UNLIMITED

Jose Smith

Costa Farms

JOSH SNIVELY

FLORIDA CHEMICAL

Leslie Sturmer

University of Florida IFAS

JENNIFER TAYLOR

FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY