FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 19

FEATURE

AN AUDIENCE
WITH THE

PRESIDENT

Lynetta Usher Griner

A WEEK AFTER their unexpected trip to
Washington, D.C., Lynetta Usher Griner
and her sister, Karen White, were still
somewhat stunned by the enormity of
the experience.
Lynetta, a past president of the Florida
Forestry Association and the 2013 Woman
of the Year in Agriculture, had been made
an offer she could not refuse: she had
been invited to be part of a Farmers
Roundtable hosted by President Donald
Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny
Perdue. Karen had come along for moral
support because Lynetta's husband, Ken,
was not able to go.
Lynetta and Karen are the daughters of the late Etter and Helen Usher of
Chiefland. Lynetta, an attorney, stepped
into the family logging business after
the tragic death of their brother, Tommy.
With Usher Land & Timber, a logging,
timber and cattle operation, Lynetta,
Ken and their son Korey have continued the family legacy.
Karen recalled the words of Ray
Starling, the president's special assistant for agriculture, trade and food
assistance: "When (Starling) worked for
the secretary of agriculture for North
Carolina, they recommended that the
secretary never judge a cake baking

contest because he would make one
person happy and 25 people mad. He
said that's what they had experienced
with this roundtable. They had been
getting quite a few calls from people
who had not been chosen and that, for
Lynetta and the others in the room, the
odds of being there were comparable
to being struck by lightning."
Lynetta added, "I thought that was a
very good analogy. I can't believe that I
was asked to join. It really was like getting struck by lightning."
She explained that the 14-member
group was a cross-section on many levels: state, commodity, gender and race.
The night before the meeting with the
president, they gathered for dinner at
the American Farm Bureau headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discover as
a group what they believed were the
most important issues to take to the
president.
After much discussion, the group
ultimately selected four issues: ag labor
and immigration, regulatory reform,
rural infrastructure and trade.
The next morning, Lynetta woke
to the news that President Trump had
imposed a tariff on Canadian softwood
timber.

Florida Forests 19 Spring/Summer 2017

"I knew that I was the only one in
the group who had any timber interest, so I wanted to make sure I understood the issue," she said.
After a tour of the White House
hosted by Leah Dunn, wife of
Congressman Neal Dunn, she
started her inquiries with a call to
the Association's executive vice president, Alan Shelby. After speaking with
him and Chip Murray of the National
Alliance of Forest Owners, she felt prepared to discuss the issue if necessary.
That afternoon, the group journeyed to the West Wing, where they
met with Secretary Perdue, who had
been sworn in by Justice Clarence
Thomas that very morning. Lynetta and
Secretary Perdue quickly discovered
they had common connections among
timber families in Georgia, the secretary's home state, as well as a mutual
love of rock-n-roll.
"Then they usher us into the
Roosevelt Room," Lynetta explained.
"They have nameplates for everyone...
I'm fortunate enough to be seated on
the same side as the president because
he shakes hands with everyone on his
side; he couldn't shake hands with the
people on the other side.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017

Executive Outlook
President’s Message
Wildland Fires on the Rise
William Cook Inducted Into AG Hall of Fame
2017 Legislative Report
Forestry Day at the Capitol
Putting the Action in Political Action
Taxing Matters
An Audience With the President
2017 Florida Southern Pine Beetle Forecast
UF Sfrc Welcomes Terrell Baker
Snapshots
Products & Services Marketplace
Index of Advertisers/ advertisers.com
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Intro
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover1
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover2
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 3
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 4
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 5
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Executive Outlook
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - President’s Message
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 8
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Wildland Fires on the Rise
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - William Cook Inducted Into AG Hall of Fame
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 11
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 2017 Legislative Report
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 13
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Forestry Day at the Capitol
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Putting the Action in Political Action
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 16
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Taxing Matters
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 18
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - An Audience With the President
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 20
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 2017 Florida Southern Pine Beetle Forecast
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 22
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - UF Sfrc Welcomes Terrell Baker
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Snapshots
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 25
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 26
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 27
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Products & Services Marketplace
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 29
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers/ advertisers.com
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover3
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover4
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