General Session Speakers

  • Mike Sparks, Florida Citrus Mutual

    Michael W. Sparks has served the Florida citrus industry for more than 40 years. Since June 2006, he has been executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual. In that role, he is responsible for the overall execution of the organization’s mission and strategy. Sparks manages all state and federal lobbying activities as well. He also serves as Mutual’s primary contact for other industry, educational, governmental and allied organizations in order to further the interest of the Florida citrus growers. Prior to Mutual, Sparks represented Florida’s citrus industry during nearly three decades at the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), the state agency charged with marketing Florida citrus products. Sparks held various senior management positions at the FDOC over the years, after working as an auditor for Florida’s Office of the Auditor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Florida. Sparks earned the Citrus Achievement Award in 2014 and was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 2017.

  • Richard Budell, Budell Water Group, LLC

    Rich Budell has more than 30 years of experience developing and implementing water resource protection and conservation policy and programs. He served as director of the Office of Agricultural Water Policy with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for 17 years. With decades of experience working among both private and public sector stakeholders, Budell has appeared before United States House and Senate Congressional Committees on multiple occasions concerning water policy. He served on the National Academy of Sciences panel evaluating water restoration projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Budell is the former chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for the Everglades.

  • William K. Crispin, Law Office of William K. Crispin, Chtd.

    William K. Crispin is an agricultural trial attorney in Gainesville, Florida. His practice focuses on production agriculture, with particular specialization in crop insurance matters. Since 1983, Crispin has represented producers in Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Illinois and other states.Crispin’s work with farmers regarding federal crop insurance claims in federal and state courts, administrative hearings and arbitration furthers his commitment to agriculture producers. Fair adjustment of their crop losses is a critical component for the economic survival of the industry and integrity of the insurance program. His work advocating the interests of the farmer/insured has advanced this area of law favorably for the farmer. This advocacy on behalf of agricultural insureds has helped allow better representation of growers in state and federal courts. Crispin has served as general counsel to soil and water conservation districts as well as to the South Florida Resource Conservation and Development Council. He has authored articles and been a presenter at a number of agriculture forums over the years. Crispin earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1979 and his juris doctor from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1982.

  • Michael D. Martin, Martin Law Office

    Mike Martin is an attorney with a unique understanding of agricultural and environmental issues. He enjoys working with agricultural interests or other land owners to solve problems relating to defective products, land contamination or denial of insurance benefits. He is excellent about communicating with his clients and their existing counsel. In fact, he has been co-counsel with other attorneys in more than 10 states. Martin was introduced to agriculture as a young man by hoeing citrus trees in spring, building barbed wire fences in Florida’s Green Swamp in the summer, and mucking horse stalls year round. He is presently a board member of the Florida FFA Foundation. A native of Lakeland, Florida, he attended college at Sewanee in Tennessee, before heading to the University of Florida where he obtained a doctorate in law. Mike tried his first jury trial two days after being admitted to the Florida Bar and has tried numerous agriculture-related cases nationwide since that time. He lives in Lakeland with his wife Joy.

  • Amy Wolfe, AgSafe

    Amy Wolfe is the president and chief executive officer of AgSafe. AgSafe’s mission is to advance the food and farming industries’ commitment to a safe, sustainable workforce and food supply by providing practical education and resources. Her career includes tenure as a legislative aide in the California State Assembly, serving as an account executive for E&J Gallo Winery and as vice president of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation.Wolfe is dedicated to her community by serving on the Modesto Rotary Foundation board of directors, being an involved member of Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and as a Girl Scout for nearly 35 years.She received her master’s degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Sacramento, and her bachelor of science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Wolfe is accredited as a Certified Fundraising Executive.

  • Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation

    Andrew Walmsley joined the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2011 as director of congressional relations. In addition to leading the farm policy team, he is charged with managing energy, transportation and biotechnology issues for Farm Bureau.Walmsley’s work has included regulatory relief for farmers and ranchers along with securing Farm Bureau priorities in multiple pieces of legislation that were eventually enacted into law. He was the lead Farm Bureau staff on the recent GMO labeling fight that ensured farmers’ access to biotechnology and future innovations in plant breeding. Walmsley is chairman of the Agricultural Biotech Alliance. He serves as a steering committee member of the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, the Rail Customer Coalition and is an advisor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on their Energy, Clean Air & Natural Resources Committee. Prior to joining the American Farm Bureau Federation, Walmsley worked for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation managing energy, environmental and commodity-specific issues. He started his career with Florida Farm Bureau Federation as the environmental services coordinator and eventually was promoted to assistant director of agricultural policy. Walmsley is a sixth-generation Floridian and graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural operations management. He currently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with his wife, Katherine, and their three children, Madison, Davis and Reagan Monroe.