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interviewed by William Mansfield.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (103 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Florida citrus oral history project
The interview focuses on the historical significance of the Florida citrus industry and the history of the Brazillian orange juice imports. Kahn comments on the variety of marketing arrangements and the lawsuit against the Florida Department of Citrus.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Interview conducted April 11, 2005, Sebring, Fla.
Citrus fruit industry
Citrus juice industry
Orange juice industry
Florida Citrus Mutual.
Florida Citrus Commission.
Dept. of Citrus.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
University of South Florida.
Globalization Research Center.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0
Citrus Oral History Project Globalization Research Center University of South Florida Interview with: Marvin Kahn Interviewed by: William Mansfield Location: Sebring, Florida Date: April 11, 2005 Transcribed by: Wm. Mansfield Edited by: Marvin Kahn & Wm. Mansfield [Tape 1, Side A.] Bill Mansfield: I always put a label on the tape by saying: This is Bill Mansfield from the Globalization Research Centers Citrus Oral History Project, talking to Mr. Marvin Kahn in his office in Sebring [Florida] on Apr il 11,2005. Mr. Kahn we always got people to start out by having them state their name and telling us when they were born and where they were born. So, leter go. Marvin Kahn: Okay. Well, I was born April 18 th 1933. And I was born in Sebring, Florida. Mansfield: Oh, so youre home grown? Kahn: Im home grown. Mansfield: And state your name for the record, please. Kahn: Marvin Kahn. Mansfield: So you were born here in Sebring. Kahn: Right.
Mansfield: What about education? Where did you go t o school? Kahn: I went to school in Sebrings public school. Went I went we had one schoolhouse. On one end was the first grade and on the other end was the twelfth grade. I graduated from Sebring High Scholl and attended the University of Florida, got a degree in agriculture. Mansfield: Okay and how did you get connected in the citrus industry? Kahn: Well I got connected into the citrus industry because of my father. He bought his first citrus grove the year I was born, in 1933. And because of my mot her also, I really developed an interest and a love in the citrus industry. Mansfield: S o youve been doing this pretty much all of your life then? Kahn: Yes sir. Mansfield: Was your father a full time citrus person? Kahn: No sir, he was also in the dr y goods business. He was an immigrant from Lithuania. He probably would have liked to have been a full time citrus person, but he was in the dry goods business. Mansfield: Mainly a merchant but a citrus grower on the side? Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: So how would you describe your present occupation? Kahn: Well, Im a citrus grower, but I guess Im primarily the chief share holder and officer of Kahn Grove Service Company, which is a management company for people
who own orange groves. And we mana ge about five thousand acres of citrus groves, in about four or five counties. Here they are; theyre Highlands, Polk, DeSoto, Hardee and Collier County. Here is one of our brochures; its kind of out of date. But Mansfield: W ell thanks. Its still a n ice brochure. So you have your own citrus grove, but your company looks after other peoples [groves]. Kahn: Thats correct. Mansfield: And what kind of services do you provide? Kahn: We provide a pretty comprehensive service, in that we provide we ca n select land to plant a grove on and do the planting and the raising of the trees and [provide] all of the care that trees need. We provide the marketing and the harvesting for the fruit. And we can take over the grove. [That doesnt] happen very often. P articularly these days, that people come with land. But I have gotten people together and with their capital and my capital, made a cooperative investment. We purchased land and managed groves. But most of the time people come to us with groves and want us to look after their groves. Mansfield: Are these growers who are retiring, or people who buy the groves and dont Kahn: All kinds of situations. And to be honest with you, most people Our growth in our company has been as a result of buying other compa nies and also finding investors to invest in groves. Or plant groves for them. Growers are kind of like oh, kind of like your doctor. You may not think hes the best, but hes your doctor and you dont change doctors very often. You hear about other doct ors and people will brag on their doctors. But you dont run and leave yours. And thats kind of the way caretakers are. Its difficult to tell a grower how good you are
and hell leave [his grove manager for you]. Therere a lot of people in the industry who provide services similar to ours. Even though we think were the best, naturally. Mansfield: [laughs] Well, if youre looking after five thousand acres of citrus, you must be doing something right. But you oversee the operations of the groves? Kahn: Right. Mansfield: And marketing as well? Kahn: Yes sir. Now Ive got a crew of good men. Some of them are outlined in there [brochure], that do the jobs that need to be doing. That allows me time to meet with you today. Mansfield: Well, I appreciate th em doing that and, once again, I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. Kahn: All right. Mansfield: How has foreign trade changed over the years to affect Floridas citrus industry? Kahn: Well, its made a big change, a huge change. You know, t he citrus industry became famous only because of the Florida Citrus Commission and its program. And a lady called Anita Brynat. [Mr. Kahn is referring to a marketing campaign of television commercials featuring Ms. Brynat touting the benefits of orange ju ice. The catch phrase was A day without orange juice is like a day with out sunshine.] Let me go back a little further. It only became great because some men had a vision based on need, a dream, and they started the Florida Citrus Commission, which is the Florida Department of Citrus. [Phone rings and Mr. Kahn suspends interview to answer].
Mansfield: Thats okay. [tape interruption] Kahn: But anyway, in 1936, these men started the Citrus Commission. They started an organization [because] they saw the need to have advertising, merchandising, market research, scientific research and regulations. Which was quite unique for then and even now. They were wise enough to associate their organization with the state of Florida, in that they asked the governor t o appoint they wanted to have districts and get commissioners. They decided they wanted six grower commissioners and the other four [commissioners] to be divided up into the processing industry, either packing house or [juice] processing. Through that o rganization, through their scientific research, frozen orange concentrate was developed. Frozen orange concentrate is now and has been used for a great amount of different products. It also is the process, which allowed Brazil to become the hummongous citr us organization that they are. Its only as the result of the frozen orange concentrate process where they able to utilize their crop, store it until they cold find markets all over the world, primarily the United States. That frozen orange concentrate not only stores well in place, it stores well in transportation. So it transports easily and safely. Its just as good when it leaves as when it gets there. So your question was What was the original question? Mansfield: How has foreign trade influenced Fl oridas citrus industry? Kahn: [The mission statement of the Florida Citrus Commission is to enhance the welfare of the citrus growers. To that end, they discovered frozen orange juice concentrate and developed the famously successful advertising campai gn featuring Anita Byant and touting the healthful benefits of drinking orange juice. This ad campaign and the popularity of frozen concentrate created a huge demand for orange juice. The 1980s brought a series of devastating freezes, which decreased the supply of Floridas orange juice. This shortage made several international corporations (Dryfuss, Cargill, Cutrale, etc.) aware of the market potential for orange juice. To meet the demand
for orange juice they turned to Brazil, which has a climate that is favorable to citrus cultivation and a large area of land (larger than the entire state of Florida) ideally suited for growing oranges. Recognizing the economic possibilities Brazils orange production has grown steadily since then. It should also be noted that, prior to the 1980s there was a significant tax break for investors in the Florida citrus industry. This tax break brought capital into the state and encouraged the expansion planting of new orange trees, adding several thousand acres of citrus to t he state. However in the 1980s congress and the Internal Revenue Service created new tax laws, which removed the tax break for non citrus growers and further affected the growth of citrus in the state of Florida. In essence, the United States created the demand for orange juice and Florida perfected the techniques of orange juice production. Brazil has taken advantage of these conditions (the market and production techniques) and targeted the United States market for orange juice. This competition from Br azil has caused some major changes in Floridas citrus industry.] Mansfield: What kind of changes? Kahn: Well, it made the changes of having big deep discussions over taking surplus crops and collectively putting them in storage somehow, to use when we had small crops. Well, no one could agree on that. They could never come up with anything. Meantime, we had some freezes to end all freezes. We had several freezes that really made our crop a short crop. I dont know that this, in itself started it, but i t really [encouraged] and promoted the investors from all over the world, including the Brazilian investors, to start the citrus industry in Brazil. Mansfield: These freezes and shortages, were they the ones that took place in the 80s? Kahn: Yes.
M ansfield: Ive read about those and had some people tell me about them. So there was an effort to build a storage facility for surplus orange juice? Kahn: Prior to that. Mansfield: But you said that no one could agree? Kahn: Yeah. Mansfield: Who were the people involved in that discussion? Kahn: The Citrus Commission, the grower organizations Florida Citrus Mutual. You know the [shortages of 19]80s started back as far 1977. In 1977 we had a white snow clear down to Miami. Mansfield: My word! Kahn: I was on the Citrus Commission during that time and I remember I drove from Sebring to Lakeland and for the first time in my life, in fact its the only time in my life, I drove on icy roads and discovered the difference between asphalt and concrete. [lau ghs] When I drove across that concrete bridge, my car went sideways. It was quite an experience. Mansfield: When you said that they were trying to come with some compromise, whatever, so they could have Kahn: Well, some agreement.
Mansfield: So you sa id the Florida Citrus Commission, but that was [a group of] different growers and processors. What the arguments that went on to keep them from reaching an agreement? Kahn: The Florida Citrus Commission is that board I was telling you about that became th e Florida Department of Citrus. Now, its the Department of Florida Citrus, which is managed by the Citrus Commission. Originally it was called the Citrus Commission. And then we have Florida Citrus Mutual, which was the grower organization. We have a lot of grower organizations now, but then we only had one Citrus growers association. I say one, we probably had Indian River Citrus League too, but their primary mission was looking after their grapefruit industry, over on the Indian River. None the less th e argument, or the discussion that the had was Whose going o pay the tariff? Whose going to pay to have the juice processed? Whose going to pay to have the juice stored? Whos going to get the benefit when they used it? It was a good idea but the logisti cs just killed them. They didnt know how to And, you know, everybody was broke. Citrus people were broke because they had too big a supply. We werent getting any money for our fruit. Who had money? I dont know. Mansfield: So there was no agreement Kahn: We never came to an agreement on any storage. And you know there was even ideas of dumping the juice in ocean. I mean, we [were] growing more than we could handle. You know, one of the things that people I wouldnt say people dreamt about it, becau se most growers werent aware of it. But one of the things we needed is that we needed several companies that marketed orange juice. We only had two. We had Tropicana and we had Minute Maid. We only had two. We needed them and more than that to do the mark eting and advertising market our fruit. But the changes that took place, after all these things, that I just spoke about, turned up the frozen orange concentrate, Anita Bryant to make it a popular product
Brazil planted orange trees and put up processi ng plants. And companies like Dryfuss, and Mansfield: Cutrale? Kahn: Well Cutrale, I dont know where they Cutrale is probably a Brazilian Company. But Dryfuss was an international company. Also, another international company is that company up in Fro st Proof, oh what is their name? Mansfield: Cargill? Kahn: Cargill, thats them. Thank you. Yeah, Cargill, they in everything. They are in a lot of other things, just like Dryfuss. But they settled in Brazil and made oranges a big international busine ss. And [pause] that resulted in a big change. And the big change is that freezes and short supply [of oranges] dont affect our price anymore. Or affects it very little. Its a guessing game if it will or it wont. Before they were so important and suc h a dominant force, freezes and short crops were the [chuckles] were a sure cure for the poverty. We always had better prices as a result of that. Mansfield: So shortages created better prices? Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: But the impact of the Br azilian imports eliminated the shortages? Kahn: Thats exactly right.
Mansfield: I just want to make sure I understand what youve been telling me. In the 80s, after the bad freezes, there was a shortage and so the Brazilian orange juice filled that vacuum. Kahn: Over time, thats right. By the 90s they did. That decade of the 80s to the 90s were some good years for citrus. But starting late in the 80 and into the 90s, Brazil took care of [the shortages]. And get someone else to come up with these years for you. Im somewhere right in those years [but not certain]. Mansfield: Because of the freezes and the shortage there was good prices of oranges, but when Brazil came in [to the market] the prices went down? Kahn: Thats right. Thats right. Mansfield: What kind of reaction did the growers, or you, as a grower and a grove manager, have to the Brazilian orange juice coming in? How did you respond to that? Kahn: Well, we responded I responded very much to my grower organization to do things to shore up [the market] and protect us from that. Mansfield: Okay. So when you say to do things to shore up Floridas citrus industry, Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: What did you do? Kahn: What could we do? Mansfield: Yeas sir.
Kahn: The t hing that we said that we needed the most was to identify our product, to describe its unique characteristics and put a label on it and sell it apart from Brazil juice. Make a differentiation between Brazil juice [and Florida juice]. There was even talk a bout what would be considered Florida juice. What would be called Florida how much Brazilian [orange juice] could be in Florida orange juice for it to still be considered Florida juice. But there is a lot of pride with in Florida growers on Florida juice Some didnt want a bit of Brazilian juice in there. Not knowing why they felt that way; they just felt that way. But to be practical and to satisfy the problem that I described earlier (that a processor needs to have a constant supply of orange juice) to make our [Florida orange juice] label successful we need to allow some percentage of Brazilian juice in it, but to still call it Florida. That hasnt happened yet. But its still a good idea and its still being talked about. Are you going to interview Jim Griffiths? Mansfield: Im hoping to. I havent talked to him yet. [See Jim Griffiths interview with Bill Mansfield, 4 28 05.] Kahn: W ell I told him that you were interviewing me. And he gave me credit for everything, [he said] he wouldnt be able to add much, but he will. Mansfield: You said there was an effort to label Florida orange juice, to distinguish it from the Kahn: From anything. Mansfield: So who, what groups, what individuals did you what groups and individuals tried to come toget her to do this? When you say they thats kind a vague to me.
Kahn: Well, it is. Not many groups or organizations ever did that. It became such a controversial and hot issue, that there werent any. Jim Griffiths in his Growers Associates are about the c loset thing to any group that did it. But right now there is not You know were having lawsuits now by some large growers who [contest] the generic advertising. The merits of generic advertising is being discussed. Whether its any good or not. Mansfie ld: Ive read that they are suing because they feel the tax that goes for generic advertising helps the Brazilian juice as much as it helps Floridian juice. Kahn: Thats right. Thats exactly right. But even in the lawsuit, theres another lawsuit about freedom of speech, which is hard for me to understand. They even get into the ineffectiveness of the advertising. But, you know Brazil being controlled by the people they are controlled by Of course another thing that has happened is the Brazilian proce ssors have come to the United States. And they are the dominant factor here. I told you that we needed some maybe I didnt use this word, but we need some national and international marketers to market our product. That would be good. Well theyve over do ne it. Theyve got Tropicana isnt owned by Mr. Caruso, or whatever his name is Mansfield: Cutrale? Kahn: Cutrale, thats his name. Mr. Cutrale doesnt own it any more. Pepsi Cola owns it. They could own it but they are about the third or fourth owner since he sold it. And theyve got the same problem that I spoke about in making money, adequate supply. Because theyre natural product for that business, which isnt frozen concentrate, its chilled. Mansfield: Whats that fresh [squeezed orange juice] NFC [Not From Concentrate]?
Kahn: Its actually pasteurized. So its fresh juice thats pasteurized and it doesnt have the features that I just told you about, frozen orange concentrate. Mansfield: What, its NFC non frozen concentrate? Kahn: Right. Mansfield: But you talked about the efforts to organize to distinguish Florida orange juice form Brazilian orange juice. And the people doing that organization were mostly growers? Kahn: Oh yes. Mansfield: Can you give me so sort of general time fram e on that. You said [it] was in the 90s? Kahn: No, thats been going on since, you know, when I was on the citrus commission I was a young boy. And I never will forget one of the and I, in a quite voice I didnt feel like I had much support. I could nt make much noise about labeling, private labeling. And every time somebody would mention it, somebody would come from the Minute Maid Company. Their main headquarters in Texas, and theyd bring a lawyer down from New York and they would threaten everybo dy there. If you put a Florida label on your product, well sue you. Big time. And nobody [wanted to cross them]. I mean it was a big time. Mansfield: And that would have been when? Just to help me get a time frame on it. Kahn: Oh that was back in th e 70s. Mansfield: Okay. Am I understanding you correctly that then when the Brazilian imports started coming in there was a renewed effort to label Florida juice?
Kahn: Well this was a continuing effort, to do it. But its never been organized. The gro wer organization has never championed it. Theres been some very quiet, quiet, unorganized campaigns for that. Theres been nobody that really championed that, that even struck out. Its just been continually talked about. Mansfield: Okay. Like I say, I j ust want to make sure I understand this. Its been individual growers who recommended [labeling of Florida juice] and the larger growers organizations wont get behind it? Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: And the processors stand in opposition to it as we ll? Kahn: Thats right. Thats right. Mansfield: Okay. I was just trying to make sure I understand. Kahn: Thats exactly right. Yeah the processor feels like that would be competition for him. I guess, I dont know why they did it. It looks like it woul d be competition for them. Mansfield: If I understand you correctly, processors use a certain amount of Brazilian frozen concentrate in orange juice. And if you didnt have but so much Florida orange juice [in it] then you couldnt call it Florida orange juice. Kahn: Ill tell you, it hasnt gone that far Bill. It hasnt gone that far. Its just gone as far as, they give you excuses like, the cost of printing labels. Some many of these people [processors] originally had no label of their own. Or they mig ht have had a label, but most of them put other peoples labels on them. And they just felt like it would be competition. If they were required to put some symbol on all the juice, then they could have somebody give them a problem. In other words, theyd h ave a [difficult] sales job
doing that. You know [they] never [considered] what they put on there was like a seal of quality Like a seal of goodness, something that could go along and promote and enhance the existing label. Mansfield: Okay. So thats bee n an issue going back twenty or thirty years. Kahn: Yes, thats right. Its a still on the fire. The Citrus Commission now has come up with the idea of [developing] a new mission, a new strategic plan. And in that process, Im dealing with them with the m ission and some elements of the strategic plan, but in general. But Jim Griffiths is going to come up with some details about his ideas for labeling. Hes come up with a 25% Brazilian juice product. So youll want to talk to him to get the details of that Mansfield: Well, he does sound like someone I want to talk to. And if this [interview] isnt too painful, tell him about it, when we get finished. Kahn: Okay. Mansfield: What was it? There was a perceived big threat when NAFTA came through in the 90 s what do you remember about that? Kahn: I remember hearing a lot about it and that was suppose to affect Central America, and probably the Gulf part of South America. Am I right? Is that NAFTA? Mansfield: Mexico Kahn: The Gulf part of Mexico, Central America. Right. And you know it really, I guess mattered too much. For what ever reason. There is some citrus processing and growing areas in Central America and Mexico, but they never amounted to much. They havent really developed as any real threat li ke Brazil has.
In fact what they won in that was the ability to export in the United States, with out paying our tariff. Am I correct? Mansfield: As I recollect, there was a gradual reduction on the tariff on citrus from Mexico. Its spread out over a t en, possible fifteen year period, where the tariff would be gradually reduced. Kahn: Okay. Mansfield: But when you heard about NAFTA, do you remember what you heard about the kinds of threats it posed to Florida citrus growers? Kahn: The threats were th at they would be able send citrus here, export citrus without paying the tariff. And you know this tariff, we were told, was initiated long before there was frozen orange concentrate. Its quite an old tariff. Its been there a long time. And it was there for a reason, to level the playing field for us. That was the whole purpose of it. Of course they put the tariff, specifically on frozen orange concentrate, Im pretty sure it is. Mansfield: I know with the FTAA, Free Trade of the Americas Area, that the re is much more discussion about the tariff and the imports from Brazil. When did you first become aware of the plans to eliminate the tariff on Brazilian orange juice? Kahn: I dont remember any date, Bill. Its been I guess its been mostly with in th e last twenty years or so. To me I believe they were successful in getting some reduction [in the tariff]. Am I correct? Its not what it was when it started. Its been reduced some already. Im pretty sure it has.
Mansfield: Okay. Ive read something a bout the activities of the growers and the Citrus Commission as well, to lobby the government to keep the tariff in place. Kahn: Youre correct. Mansfield: Tell me what you know about that. Kahn: Well, this just happened. This happened like it has nev er happened before. The Florida Citrus Commission took the leadership in this. And that had never happened before. They actually took part of their budget. So they took the growers money and hired experts within an advertising agency. Actually it was a lo bbying agency, out of Washington. That lobbying agency had at least had a two or three prong responsibility. One of the prongs was to sell we growers on what they were doing and how they were getting along. Of course the other was dealing with the Congre ss. Their method of keeping us up dated was giving us how they how they went about doing their job. Initially they introduced different people with in their company that handled different things. In other words, the extent of their lobby; they had quite a it cost millions of dollars to do that. The president was a big element in this. The fact that the presidents brother is the governor of Florida gave some weight in helping him come to the right decision. And I guess the bill you started out talking ab out, that you said was in Congress and hadnt come out yet, is what all this lobbying is about, to help with the details of that bill. Am I right? Mansfield: I havent gotten that far in my research yet. Kahn: Im pretty [sure]. Im putting the two toge ther and pretty sure, with the timing; if you said there was a bill there now, that is on its way to Congress, this is where that come from.
Mansfield: Do you happen to recall the name of the Washington lobbying agency? Kahn: I really dont. That will b e easy for you to find out. Mansfield: Im sure its on the record somewhere. Kahn: No, itll be on peoples minds. You can ask Dr. Gunter about that. [See Dan Gunters interview with Bill Mansfield, 4 12 05.] Or ask Jim Griffiths about it. Theyll tell you about that. And if you cant visit them you might want to call them up on the telephone. Theyll be glad to talk to you. Mansfield: Well I would hope so. But I know there is that lawsuit from growers suing the Citrus Commission about the box tax. Wha t about the money theyre spending on lobbying? It seems like, at once, the growers are opposed to the Citrus Commission but also in favor of the Citrus Commission. What do you hear from your colleagues about that? Kahn: You mean the money to lobby? Whet her to have a Citrus Commission or not have the Citrus Commission? Mansfield: Ive read about the growers objecting to the tax, which goes for the generic advertising. Kahn: Yeah, thats the five or six people who are doing it. Mansfield: So thats only a small portion of the growers? Kahn: Well, thats a small portion in terms of number of growers, but in terms of acreage, theyre a significant part of the acreage. Theyre some of the largest growers there are. And you know one of the things that no do ubt that feeds that is long term marketing contracts with Tropicana.
Tropicanas tried to satisfy their supply situation by offering long terms contracts. Mansfield: Could you explain those to me right quick? Kahn: Sure. Mansfield: Ive talked some f olks up at Florida Southern College, [in Lakeland]. Dr. [Tim] Hurner. Kahn: Oh yeah, Tim Hurner? Yeah. Mansfield: He explained it to me a little bit, but Im afraid I dont remember his explanation. Kahn: Tims a good friend of mine. Mansfield: Hes be en very helpful. As a matter of fact hes the one who put me own to you. Kahn: Oh really? Mansfield: But could you explain a long term contract? Kahn: Sure. What a long term contract is, Lets say youre a grower and Im Tropicana. Lets just play like that. Theyd say, Bill what we can do is we can guarantee you, for five years, ten years, twenty years (I dont know how long). But over a long period of time, well guarantee you a minimum of twenty five cents for your early and mid fruits. Your Hamli ns and pineapples [oranges], and Parson Browns, variety. And well offer you a dollar per pounds solids for your Valencias. Do you know what pound solids are, Bill?
Mansfield: Thats the amount of sugar concentrated in the juice? Kahn: Yeah. Thats w hat [End Tape 1, Side A. Begin Tape 1, Side B.] Kahn: is negotiated. Thats the bargaining chip, the pound solids. Thats the pounds of sugar that are in there. So what Im going to do, as Tropicana is, if you sign this agreement, Ill guarantee yo u those prices. And within that well talk about what harvesting will do. You know, what your harvesting will cost, how that will do. Well also talk about the other details of it. But thats the primary thing They way they would do this is, there are t wo kinds of contracts. There are box contracts and then theres grove contracts. [With] grove contracts, all the fruit youve got in your grove, is what youre obligated to [provide]. The box contract is so many boxes. And of course a real true grower does nt like a box contract because he doesnt want to have to shop to get more boxes [of fruit] that he doesnt own. You understand what Im talking about? Mansfield: Are you talking, literally about the containers, to put the fruit in Kahn: No I mean the fruit. Mansfield: or are that the grower needs more fruit to fulfill the contract. Kahn: Bill, if youre going to sign up a box contract with me, lets just say youre going to have a hundred thousand boxes of Valencia [oranges]. Thats what your grove here produces, a hundred thousand boxes. It produces a hundred and five [thousand] one year and a hundred [thousand] the year after that and a hundred and fifty nine [thousand] the next year. So its a hundred thousand boxes.
And Ill give you some incent ive, a bigger dollar figure, to sign up a box contract with me. But youve got to guarantee that youll supply me that hundred thousand boxes, or Ill give you a little less, and all youve got to do is give me what youve got off of your grove. Mansfield : So if the contract calls for a hundred boxes of oranges and Ive only got ninety five, Ive got to go find five more boxes of oranges. Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: Okay, Im with you now. Kahn: Thats exactly right. Youve got to buy that, or go get it some way. Thats what long term contracts are. Mansfield: And [with] grove contracts, they just buy up the whole grove? Kahn: Thats right. But I dont know if thats real significant. But the significant part of this conversation is, this is no doubt (and Im guessing, I dont know) but the big growers, who are suing the Department of Citrus, cant see the value of generic advertising and can keep their tax money. You add up all that tax money on all of their boxes. Mansfield: Thats a big chun k of change. Kahn: Thats a big chunk of change. And [theyre asking] Why do I need to do that, when my price is already protected? I dont need any advertising. Tropicana is doing my advertising. Do you see how long term contracts affect that?
Mansf ield: Yes. Okay, with five thousand acres under your care, as a grove manager, do you consider yourself a large grower, medium grower? How would you categorize your position in that? Kahn: Well, you ask an interesting question. If Let me give you a qui ck answer, as it turns out, Im a small grower. Small, because I dont have that much leverage in terms of fruit. That is because of the kind of agreement and understanding I have with my customers and my growers. We said we would market your fruit to the best of our ability. We told [them] even, that were not going to get any more for my fruit than youre going to get for your fruit. See, Im marketing it the same way. But I didnt make [them] promise to anything else. I didnt say I could leverage your fruit, politically, to deal with it. I dont have any one uniform agreement with everybody. I got one company, that does business with me that does their own marketing. We do some of their harvesting and we market some varieties of their fruit. But most of their fruit theyve got on long term contracts themselves. So I dont really have control of all my five thousand acres that I can bargain with and market with and so forth. As a result of that I have the attitude of the small grower, not the big grower Or not a big grower, like they are. Frankly, for my own fruit, over the years Ive marketed not on the contract, but on the open market. And up until last year, was the first year I didnt do better than the contract. [Usually] I do better than the contr act, but last year, the cash market waslower than the contract. Mansfield: What kind of relationship is there in the Florida citrus community between the big growers and the smaller growers? Is it cooperative? Adversarial? How would you describe it? Kah n: Well, who are you talking about when you say big growers? The big growers that are suing?
Mansfield: I guess Im talking about the big growers that are suing and the growers who consider themselves big growers and the Kahn: Well let me just tell y ou this. I dont think I can really answer your question because, Ben Hill Griffin, are you going to interview Ben Hill Griffin? Mansfield: I hope to. [See Ben Hill Griffin IIIs interview with Bill Mansfield 5 9 05.] Kahn: Ben Hill is a big grower, a big big grower. And his and my attitude are more the same. So it really doesnt have anything to do with size. It has something to do with philosophy and attitude of marketing and the future of our industry. Mansfield: Okay, that brings up a good questio n, can you tell me about your philosophy of marketing and the future of the industry and how you wold like to see Kahn: [laughs] Mansfield: I hope Im not straining your brain. Kahn: No, but my philosophy is that as much of what Ive mentioned to y ou, is that I would like to adopt a program like Jim Griffiths is proposing. He wants to do a couple of things, he wants to raise the quality. Jim is not only a politician, hes a scientist. He can tell you, in detail, how he wants to raise the quality of the orange juice but the USDA standards. He wants the USDA standards on or fruit to be raised up. He knows about the co facts standard. Have you heard of the co facts standard? And I might not even be saying it right, but its the worlds standard for jui ce, for Brix. They jus had a meeting, this past year, for all of the citrus producing countries in the world. They met and they discussed the world standard for juice. And Jim Griffiths wanted it up to 11.8% and I believe they only went to 11.6% or someth ing like that. I dont know the figure.
But the point of it is, he wants to raise up our quality of juice. He wants to have the Department of Citrus come up with an advertising program with a label that features juice of that quality, that would allow 25% Brazilian juice in it. Thats what he would like to do. And that would accomplish two or three things. It would satisfy the people who own the orange groves and depend on the orange groves. Theyve got the proper home and the proper market for their fruit. Its saying that well also let a little of the back yard fruit in it too, to satisfy the processor and their problems. Because they do need a constant supply to develop and maintain the market that we need to maintain and develop. Mansfield: When you say, a little of the back yard juice, Kahn: Im talking about Brazilian [juice]. Mansfield: Okay, I just wanted to make sure of that. So this debate is still going on, over the tariffs Kahn: It is, but you know, Minute Maid has lost its importance in the discussion. They dont feel the threat or theyve lost their gumption, or their personality. But the lawyer they used to bring down, I used to remember them by name but I cant tell you their names any more. But theyre not a prime spokesman for th an now. You know Tropicana, as an entity, and this is just my opinion. I dont have any real details on this, but Tropicana is one of the biggest patrons of the Department of Citrus, in general. They see it as a real meritorious idea. They realize that go od ideas come from the Department of Citrus, about orange juice. They can integrate [those ideas] into their programs and use. For example, when Dan Santangelo was here have you met him? Mansfield: Im afraid I havent Kahn: Well, you might ought to me et him.
Mansfield: Tell me his name again? Kahn: Dan Santangelo. Mansfield: Can you spell Santangelo? Kahn: [laughs] Its about like it sounds. Let em see if Ive got his [contact information]. He was the [searches computer files] There he is. He has a phone [number] 646 1221, in Lakaeland. Dan was a New York City, Fifth [sic; Madison] Avenue marketing man. He worked for some company like Slim Fast, or he was a CEO for a big company. They hired him. He took the job as being the executive director f or the Department of Citrus, and he is the person that came up with the health thing [the idea of touting the healthful benefits of orange juice.] He did something back when I was on the Citrus Commission in the 70s we did a lot of research but there wer e people within the department and on the commission that said we need to keep the medical research in the medicine cabinet, not in advertising. It wouldnt do well to advertise it. But he [Santangelo] said it would. And it did [improve sales]. It was good. The difference in what happened since the 70s and now is the average person has become much more health [conscious] than they were thirty, forty years ago. The fact that they had health on their mind, he got all these health organizations to endorse orange juice. He told us when he did it, it was the Heart Association, the Cancer Society, the Red Cross, he got like three of four or them to endorse us with the pledge to stay with us for one year. But after that they were gone. They went to other peop le that would have them. But, none the less, he did that. Tropicana liked it, they picked up on it and did a lot of advertising [using] health [benefits] and our orange juice sales went up. He left, they stopped doing that, we went to a politician and ora nge juice sales went down. Mansfield: So the Citrus Commission has done a lot to really help [orange juice sales?]
Kahn: Oh yeah. To me the Citrus Commission you talked about my future, my philosophy my picture of the future is only because the Departm ent of Citrus is in the story. I realize its a political organization. Its appointed by the governor. Who ever they are, theyre going to be political, but they got a mission, they got a purpose, they got a reason to do the right thing and what needs to be done. And I feel that will be good for my children and my grandchildren, and for this industry. Mansfield: So the Citrus Commission is a big ally, a big advocate for Florida citrus. Who are the adversaries? Who are the people, the groups not individu als but organizations that you see in opposition to the Citrus industry in general? Kahn: To the Department of Citrus or to my philosophy? Mansfield: Both. Kahn: [laughs] Well, Ill tell you, there is a lot of black and white, or there is some black and white but I guess there is more white and gray. Are you going to interview anybody in Citrus World? Mansfield: Citrus World is? Kahn: Citrus World is in Lake Wales, its a processing plant. Its a co op of packinghouses that organized to process their eliminations. Thats how it got started. You know, [with] fresh fruit packing, if it doesnt pass the test to go for fresh fruit, they get eliminated and go to processing. So they started a juice plant. And it grew into Citrus World. Now, most of t he fruit goes to processing and very little of it goes to fresh, cause the market has dried up for fresh fruit. Mansfield: Okay, so you asked me about Citrus World?
Kahn: Mr. Steve Caruso is the CEO and you should interview him. Mr. Joe Davis, Jr. is the president of the organization. Joe, Jr. is like a non paid officer, who is on the board of directors. Mr. Caruso is the on the job manager. They are like in the gray area of the Department of Citrus because they think, within their own strength and their own ability, they can come up with their own supper label to market on their own. And [what you need to ask is] Why would they feel [that the Department of Citrus is unnecessary] and Tropicana take the attitude that they take [valuing the Department of C itrus]? Is that a reasonable comparison? Do you understand what Im saying? Why would a Citrus World say, We cant be too excited about the Department of Citrus, because it kind of conflicts with the way were going and what we want to do. We dont need them because we got our own market. Somehow we just dont need them. Mansfield: They see the Citrus Commission as being a hindrance to what they want to do? Kahn: To some extent. Itd be interesting for you to ask them that [question]. But I know they re not much help. So if theyre not much help, what are they? All of their packing house members have never been much help. Theyve had an allegiance to Citrus World, rather than to the Department of Citrus. Mansfield: So when you say theyve not been muc h help, [you mean] theyve not been supportive of the Department of Citrus? But Tropicana has? Kahn: Tropicana has, in that following the lead [of the Department of Citrus]. Not politically. Tropicana has not gotten into the politics. Citrus World and the packing plants that own Citrus World are in a position to politically help my point of view, to politically help my point of view; to politically the Department of Citrus. Mansfield: But they choose not to?
Kahn: But they choose not to. They are very qu iet. And there is another group, FOM, Florida Orange Marketers, theyre associated with Minute Maid. And Minute Maid is all they need. And Im just giving you examples these arent bad people. Were a member of FOM and we go there. Im not criticizing th ese people. Mansfield: No, but youre discussing differences. Kahn: Thats right. I met with Steve Caruso the other day. I hope to look after some of their groves. [chuckles] But its just the nature of the beast. Florida Orange Marketers has Minute M aid. You go to an annual meeting, they have Minute Maid people down there telling you about the unique ways that they promote [orange juice] and got their market. And as a result, [they say] Were getting you another few cents for pounds solid. Were the leader of the industry! And last year, for the first time ever, not this year but last year, we had such a back long of juice in inventory, in the world, they made the statement at their annual meeting. We need help. They never said that before. Before it was just like they could do everything, that needed to be done, themselves. [chuckles] But last year they said, We need help. Mansfield: Help in what way? Kahn: We got to get all this product moved out of here. There is too much product all around Everybody to much inventory. Of course the Department of Citrus is the group to do that. They ought to feel that kind of pressure and stimulate, the use of juice. Mansfield: And just to make sure I understand you correctly, when you said they need help did you mean Minute Man [sic; Maid], or the Florida Orange Marketers, the FOM? Kahn: Florida Orange Marketers. Mansfield: They said they needed help?
Kahn: Yeah, they need help, hopefully from the other people who will get other people that will get some of this product out so we can offer you a better price. Because all of this product is holding our price down too. Mansfield: Surplus. Thats one of the contradictions. When its selling good you grow a lot. And then you got a lot and it doesnt sell as well. Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: You said that Citrus World is not politically active Kahn: Not in a positive way, right. Mansfield: When someone is politically active, what do they do? How do they get involved in the politics of it? Kahn: They would get involved in the politics of it to speak to their grower organizations, their lobbyists, to go to Citrus Commission meetings and promote those ideas. They have public forums, theyre, meetings where people go and take stands. Weve got Flor ida Citrus Mutual, are you going to meet with them or have you already? Andy LaVigne? Mansfield: I havent yet but want too. Kahn: Marty McKenna? Hes the president. [See Mary McKennas interview with Bill Mansfield, 5 13 05.] Mansfield: Several peopl e have recommended that I speak to them, but I havent done that yet. Im hoping that they will find the time to talk with me.
Kahn: Are you familiar with these ladies? Mansfield: I have seen copies of the Citrus Reporter. Kahn: Ive gotten behind in re ading these, but I just read this morning, this goes back to March 11 th It starts off talking about a legislative hearing. And he says [reading] They had Department of Citrus experts at the hearing but growers represented by Highlands County Citrus Grow ers Association, Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association, and Citrus Growers Associates (thats Jim Griffiths) gave their legislators a look at their side of the of the argument. In that statement they didnt mention Florida Citrus Mutual. In this paragraph they mention, what Ben Albrition said, representing Peace Rivver [and] what was said for Highlands County and what Dr. Griffiths said. But is says, further down, that Florida Citrus Mutual just went sideways. They didnt say much. But over hear, [searches the document for a passage, reads comments from Florida Citrus Mutual said] Florida Citrus Commissioner Andy Taylor said; Following the meeting members of the Highlands County Citrus Growers, the Peace River Citrus Growers Association, Dr. Griffi ths should be very proud of their leadership. This is the head grower organization saying this. They took a position on generic advertising and told the legislature why they supported the Departments programs. They didnt talk in circles. They didnt tal k in code. They didnt duck issues all together. The legislature appreciated straight talk and I did too. But why didnt he? Thats what I want to ask him. Mansfield: So he just sat and listened. He didnt [say anything]? Kahn: Thats right, he didnt. And you know why he didnt? Mansfield: No.
Kahn: I dont know why, I got to guess why. Its because he gets his dues from processors. They collect his dues. Do you understand what I mean by that? Mansfield: Well, this disc is about used up. Let me put another one in so you can explain. Kahn: Well okay. [Interruption as disc is changed] Mansfield: [T his interview] will be transcribed. Ill go back and listen to it and type out everything weve said and send a copy of it to you. And you can look over it and think, Well I need to change this. Kahn: Is that a fact? Youll do that? Mansfield: Yes. And once youve made the changes in it, that you want, Ill include and envelope so you can send the corrected interview back to me. The one that you have corrected and approved of, will be the interview that goes on file. Caus we dont want to misrepresent you in this. Kahn: Yes, right. Mansfield: I cant say how this [interview] will benefit you, but it will provide a good record for future historians looking at the citrus industry, particularly in this time of transition. [It will] help people understand what was going on. [It will also] insure that as many people have a voice as possible. Kahn: One of the things that were talking about here to day is to try to figure out how there can be a future in Florida citrus. I dont know if you had that as a question or not?
Mansfield: Well, that [question] was coming towards the end. Kahn: You know there are things happening now, that are giving people wi th any kind of insight or foresight, at all, to wonder what kind of future does Florida citrus have? I mean, how in the world could Florida Citrus exist with such demand for land and for space? And everything, how could it survive? Well, theres two th ings that I can think of (and I may think of a third). The good thing thats going our way, that will take us a little way in that direction, is the fact of how citrus is a part of Florida. People who come here, people who live here, somewhere in them, th ey like citrus. They have some ownership of [it for] themselves its part of what they want to be in Florida for. It varies from person to person. Of course thats one of the things thats in my dream too. My philosophy is to develop a super Florida promot ion program, with in Florida, as part of the Department of Citrus, And it should be done and Ive already told theyre doing a little of this, theyre starting it. To do it with volunteers, and do it in a way that involved people who were directly involve d with citrus, make thin part of the industry, to use it, promote it to make it part of the industry. To use it and enjoy it, to promote it to other people. You know send fruit out of town. You know, nobody can take time to eat fruit fresh, this should be a place where more fresh fruit is eaten. Than were people normally live. When they come to Florida, they ought to have a chance to eat fresh fruit. This wold help in the perpetuation in the idea of ownership. Mansfield: I agree with you, that oranges are a big part of Floridas identity and cultural heritage. I think when people come realize that, they will appreciate it more. And like you never miss the water until the well runs dry, they are sure going to miss the oranges if they let them go away. Kah n: Thats right. Thats right. And you know and another thing on our side, something weve kind of grown up to be against is the term environmentalist. As it turns out the environmentalist like citrus, better than houses and asphalt. They would rather h ave citrus groves than sub divisions and shopping center.
Mansfield: An orange grove smells a whole lot better than a shopping center. Kahn: [laughs] Thats right. Mansfield: But earlier you were talking about this meeting, where Andy LaVigne, of Flor ida Citrus Mutual, didnt say anything, and you said that you know who was paying his dues. Kahn: Thats right. The people that you know Im a member of Florida Citrus Mutual and Id agreed to pay 7.5 cents, or whatever the dues are. But that money is col lected by the processor that I sell my fruit to. Do you understand what Im saying? Mansfield: The money that comes out of your pocket, to support Florida Citrus Mutual, goes to the processor first and then the processor thats it out his pocket and gives it to Florida Citrus Mutual. Kahn: Thats right. It just so happens that we write a check here and send it to them. But historically and fore the most part, thats the way they get their money. Thats had a big influence on that organization. Plus they have something else. You know the Mutual Triangle? [Citrus Mutuals symbol] One leg of the triangle says Grower, [the other leg of the triangle is] Processor and the remaining leg of the triangle is] Packer. So they feel like they need to represent [the wh ole industry. They need the prosperity of the whole industry, to do good. Well, Im not of that philosophy. My interests are in the groves, not even the growers. The grove is the primary element that needs to be sustained and needs to be supported. The gr ove! Everybody else can make their living off [the grove]. If that grove does good and makes a lot of money, then everybody else will get what they need, the grower, the processor, the packer, the whole thing. Mansfield: So the grove is really the heart o f the matter?
Kahn: Thats right. Thats my philosophy. Mansfield: You said that the grower organizations and Florida Citrus Mutual are I guess more the grower organizations, they work with the Department of Citrus to maintain this legislation. What abo ut approaching your representatives in Congress, how do you all work with them? Kahn: Were dealing with Congress [on] the tariff and of course the local legislature, like this article said, theyre getting interested in the department of citrus because You know technically, the Department of Citrus is a department of the state of Florida. The Citrus Commissioners are approved by the senate. There are certain rules within the citrus statutes. Every thing we do is [governed] by citrus law, thats part of the state of Florida. So to that extent, they are becoming more and more interested in the Department of Citrus, because they own it. They got some ownership in it. Thats what this hearing was about. Mansfield: The Florida Orange Marketers, Florida Citr us Mutual, in theory, they would address the state legislators to pass laws that would affect the Citrus Commission and Kahn: Well, not very much. Mansfield: I mean that possibility is there but they choose not to. Kahn: It is. Do you know that we hav e another unique thing here. We have the joint oh its got some initials but I can never remember the name of the initials but its the joint legislative board. Its a board made up of the primary elements in the industry. They sit on a board and all the l egislation that goes to Tallahassee, goes through that board, or it doesnt go. Theres a gentlemans agreement, that any legislation that goes to Tallahassee thats going to affect the citrus industry goes through tat joint legislative group.
Mansfield: And are they appointed or elected or selected how? Kahn: They are appointed by they are agreed to by the chief organizations in the state. Citrus Mutual, the Processors Association, the Packers Association, Indian River Citrus League, and then they star ted letting these new growers organizations. They are new. Theyve only been here maybe the past ten years. They are very recent. They really sprung up because Florida Citrus Mutual is so generic. I mean they dont Florida Citrus Mutual has done a poor j ob of representing growers. They are too busy worrying about their triangle. Mansfield: So the growers felt that Florida Citrus Mutual was not answering their needs, and so these other organizations have sprung up? Kahn: Thats right. Thats exactly ri ght. Oh yeah. We see things like that happen everywhere, in most everything youre doing. [chuckles] When something isnt doing well, something else will pop up and take care of it. Mansfield: Well, that is interesting. Florida Citrus Mutual wasnt respo nding to the needs of the growers, so the growers got their own organizations. Kahn: Right. Right, Mansfield: These organizations, do they go around Florida Citrus Mutual to contact legislators? Kahn: Oh yes. Oh yes. Mansfield: What can you tell me about that? Kahn: Well, first thing like our Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, they have a mission of really not affecting or competing with Florida Citrus Mutual or other
organization. Their main goal is to handle the local issues that affect citrus here in our local area, like our own tax assessment, for our local taxes and other things that affect us. But they do deal with the Department of Citrus. They are going to meet on the fourteenth and they are going to discuss the mission and the str ategic plan. Im going to meet with them and hope to get them to agree with me. Im going to offer some suggestion to them. Mansfield: The Highlands County Citrus [Association]? Kahn: Thats right, Highland County. Theyll do that. But normally they don t theyre not real active outside of the country And thats pretty well true of those other [local organizations]. And, by the way, there was one that wasnt mentioned here too. Weve got a Gulf Citrus association. Youve heard of them too havent you? Ma nsfield: [Nods head: Yes] Kahn: T hey didnt go to Tallahassee, either. They didnt go to make a comment, for or against. They didnt do that. And there again, thats because theyve got people on their board, who are in the other camp. Mansfield: In t he Florida Citrus Mutual? Kahn: well, in fact I believe they got Florida Citrus Mutual and that one too have the same member who is one of the [plaintiffs in this suit against the Department of Citrus]. Mansfield: Man, its complex! Kahn: It is. Mansfi eld: Its not nearly as simple as I thought it was going to be. I guess that k eeps it interesting.
Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: So the suggestions that you will make at the meeting of the Highlands [County] Citrus Growers, can you share those with me? Kahn: I was looking for it a while ago. I was going to read from it. I dont know where I put it. But let me ask Donna. [Speakerphone rings as Kahn calls secretary] Donna, do you know where I put my information that Im on the Citrus Mission and Strategi c Plan? Donna: You want me to print it out for you? Ive already printed it out and put it on your desk. I dont know where it is now. Kahn: Well, why dont you print out another one for me. Donna: Ill bring it in, in just a second. Kahn: Thank you. [ Searching through documents] Let me see whats right here. I though I out it in this file right here. [Papers rustle as Mr. Kahn looks]. Mansfield: Your filing system looks very similar to mine. Kahn: Well, youre making me feel good here. But I guess I got myself going in too many directions, right now. Any way, well just wait and get that. Basically what my suggestion to them is, the Department of Citrus [Phone rings as Donna specifies the documents] Dr. Gunter said because of the threat of litig ation by the folks, by big growers; it would be good to dig down into the history of the Department of Citrus and prove to everybody that were [the Department of Citrus] here for the good of the State and the good of we the people. So he improved the mi ssion [statement] to say that. And that may accomplish what he wants to do, politically, but it kinds of flies in the way of what I
want the Department of Citrus to be. I dont want anybody confused [about] what the Department of citrus is for. [End Tape 1, Side B. Begin Tape 2, Side A.] Kahn: And the Department of Citrus is for the good and the welfare and the future of the Florida citrus groves. The benefit of that good should flow to the citrus growers, to the citrus industry and to the state of Flo rida. Thats basically what I say. Mansfield: So you just want to make him clarify that statement? Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: We talked earlier about the future of Floridas citrus and you talked about how you it was important to Floridas Kahn: Yeah I told you two points, the thing thats in our blood and the environmental thing, but the most important thing is economics of it. Citrus will need to be a good enough business. It will have to give a return on investment to make it compete, to st ay alive. Its got to compete with other things. An so we need a healthy economy for the citrus. The way see to do that is to follow in Dr. Griffiths ideas of coming up with some unique ways to feather our product and fortify the Department of Citrus. Th ank you. [To Donna as she deliveries documents] This is what Dr. Griffiths did [handing documents to Mansfield] and he came up a mission statement, and the strategic plan. And these are my comments I made. Mansfield: Now are these for me to keep? Kahn : Yes.
Mansfield: Okay, great! Thanks, well put them in the Marvin Kahn file. Well, Ive been talking to you for about the past hour and a half, is there anything you want to tell me that I havent asked about? Kahn: No I dont think so. Mansfield: One question Ive got to ask, before we conclude this [interview] is that youve talked about your love for the citrus groves. Could you try and explain that? I know its hard, but I think its important to understand emotion thats involved [in farming], your attachment to the groves. Obviously they are more than just fruit trees it you. Kahn: Well, [sighs] I guess, Im just the kind of person who has a lot of sentimental value for the land that the tress grow in and all of the things that You know how I get enjoyment out of riding through the groves and walking through the groves. Even though I dont do it as much as I need to do it, it is there for me to go to see when I want to see it. And you know Im in the process of selling a grove for a sub divi sion. Mansfield: Can you tell me some more about that? Kahn: W ell, they offered me a lot of money that I need. Mansfield: Is it one of your groves or one that you manage? Kahn: Certainly, its one of my groves. I have it for sale. Mansfield: You said you need the money, but would you be selling it if you didnt have to?
Kahn: Well, probably so. I say I need the money but, you know its money I cant turn down. Mansfield: So youre getting a good price for it? Kahn: Oh, a very good price. Mansfield : Do you feel some sort of conflict ed ? Kahn: Well, I do, but its not my only grove. But Ive got one side of me thats not happy to see it [go]. I took my wife through the grove the other day, to pick some fruit and she said, Couldnt they leave so me of these trees? [rueful laughter] So it is I dont know it is hard to describe. I dont know how to describe it, its just Heres where it gets started [shows picture of child in orange grove from Citrus Industry magazine]. See this little boy fixi ng a thing? You know when I was a kid I used to pull perforated aluminum pipe through the grove to irrigate it. Hes tinkering with a micro jet. Mansfield: So citrus is just a big part of your identity and personal heritage. Kahn: Thats right. Mansfie ld: Its important to you for that reason. Kahn: Thats right. Mansfield: I dont want to be putting works into your mouth, but sometimes something thats close is really hard to but into words.
Kahn: It goes so far as to my diet. I enjoy citrus as par t of my regular diet. I had orange juice for dinner to day. As I do most every day. I had grapefruit juice for breakfast. Mansfield: [laughs] Yeah. Well, Im trying to make sure weve covered everything. Weve talked about the allies to protect Florida c itrus, which would be the growers. And the adversaries would be who the processors? Kahn: Well, you know, perhaps so, but you know the reason for this is processors tend to not be able to look farther than the end of their nose. They dont look at the fu ture. They are busy solving the problems they got right today. And thats good business to do that. Theyve got to do that. Growers tend to have a long view of things. Were willing to invest now for the future. And that goes right along with all of our p hilosophy. We plant little bitty trees. We plant seeds. A nursery plants seeds and they bud it and cut it off and they graft it. Then did it up and plant it. Its quite an involved process. And somebody has to have a vision and commitment to stand up to al l of the risks that are involved to do that. And growers have the foresight to do that. Processors dont have that foresight. Maybe in some other case [they do] but in their processing business they are very close by and thats the reason that they tend t o have opposing views to me. In terms of the Department of Citrus, you need a more visionary attitude and philosophy to deal with the Department of Citrus. Its not going to give you immediate results. Mansfield: Well going from a seed to a fully grown or ange tree I can see how youd get the big picture and the long term perspective. Kahn: Right. Mansfield: That sounds like a good place to stop. But let em again thank you for thing the time to talk with me. And remind you, again, that the interview, thi s information youve shared with me will be deposited in the Special Collection Archives at the
University of South Florida. And we need your permission to do that, so researchers will have access to this interview. Kahn: And your agreement to let me see a transcribed version of this and make any corrections Id like to, is a good thing. It allows me to cooperate with you. Mansfield: And like I said it will probably be a couple of weeks before I can get around to transcribing this, but as soon as its don e Ill put it in the mail to you. You can check it over and changes, revisions, omissions or deletions that you care to make, those will be incorporated into the interview and that will be the one that goes into the archive. Kahn: Right. Mansfield: Okay, great. Let me turn this off. [End of interview.]