Jun 24, 2022
Florida ag industry leader Al Finch dies

UPDATED: Al Finch, president of Florida Classic Growers Inc., died June 21. He was 55.

A longtime Florida ag industry leader, Gene “Al” Allison Finch, Jr., was active in the early days of the Southeast Produce Council and, from 2006-08, was one of its first presidents.

Florida Classic grows citrus, blueberries and peaches.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, July 9 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Lakeland, Florida, Finch’s hometown. Finch died at Moffitt Cancer Cancer in Tampa, Florida.

Al Finch was a leader in the Southeast produce industry

Finch was the longtime vice president of sales and marketing for Diversified Citrus Marketing, the Lake Hamilton, Florida-based sales arm of the Dundee Citrus Growers Association. In 1999, Finch joined Diversified, which later became Florida Classic.

During the 1990s, Finch worked as a retail field merchandiser and director of industry relations for the Florida Department of Citrus. He was promoted to Florida Classic’s president in 2014. Finch was involved with the Southeast Produce Council throughout its history, serving on its Board of Governors.

Finch graduated from Stetson University in 1988 with a Bachelors of Business Administration in marketing. He was also a graduate of the United Leadership Group (Class 12).

Florida Classic is one of the Florida’s leading growing and packing operations. Initially focusing on citrus, in 2012 it began growing and shipping peaches through Dundee Stone Fruit LLC, followed by blueberries in 2016. Growing on more than 10,000 member acres, Dundee Citrus Growers is one of the Southeast’s largest fresh fruit cooperatives.

In a past interview, Finch said it was always important to maintain a balance between work and personal life and include family time. He was active in his church, prayed daily and attended football games with his son and enjoyed traveling.
-Doug Ohlemeier, assistant editor


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