JC Deriso on why he chose to run for DeSoto County Commissioner:
"As a fifth generation DeSoto resident, I have a great appreciation for this county. As a youngster, I was active in the wonderful DeSoto 4-H and FFA programs. These programs and the people who dedicated their time to run them are priceless. The values and principles I learned in those formative years continue to serve me as an adult in an active leadership role.
I received my education through the Abeka accredited home education program for first through eleventh grade. I attended Desoto County High School my senior year and graduated in 2002. In 2018, I graduated from the Wedgworth Leadership Institute at the University of Florida. The Wedgworth Leadership Institute is a two-year program designed to develop and refine agricultural leaders who can create a positive impact for agriculture at the local, state and federal levels.
At a young age I became interested in business and learning the skills to manage people, land and equipment. In my pre-teen years I invested the profits from my county fair projects into a little John Deere lawn mower and 500 business cards. That was my humble beginning in business that has evolved into an operation employing over 100 DeSoto County residents.
I would be remiss not to mention what a blessing the people of DeSoto County have been to my life. There are a number of leaders in our community who have mentored me over the years and have each influenced my values and character. I can remember working micro jets in a grove for Lamar and Louise Johnson one summer in exchange for my first two heifer calves. Lamar said, "Son, I can pay you money one time for your work or I can give you a heifer that will pay you every year for a long time." Wow, what a return that wisdom made over the next ten years! DeSoto County has an incredible reservoir of talented people who are willing to share their expertise and skills with the up and coming generations.
After graduating high school, I started the sod farming and logistics division of my dad's established sod company (Other Side Sod) and we became St. Augustine turf and Bahia sod wholesale producers. Investing in the improvement of land and taking a crop through the prep, plant, grow, harvest and sale is an endeavor that was truly rewarding. A close connection with the land has brought me to rely on my faith in God evermore in problem-solving and decision-making.
My 12 years in farming instilled in me a deep appreciation for land and what it can give us. Part of this appreciation is my feeling of great responsibility that we must be good stewards of the land that God has blessed us with. We bear the burden to pass the lands of our county and state on to the next generation in as good or better shape than when we received them. We also bear the burden to pass DeSoto County as a whole on to the next generation in better shape. This is what led me to focus our business on sustainable, environmentally responsible solutions to the energy and civil projects that will be required for progress and development. We have created jobs in DeSoto County with benefits and good pay that are centered around preserving and enriching our environment. I believe that having a seat on the board and applying sound business sense to issues and solutions will have a positive, lasting impact on DeSoto County.
As a DeSoto County Commissioner in District 2, I will work hard for this and future generations. I believe that, as a commissioner, I can influence the direction that our county is headed in a way that will improve the quality of our life as DeSoto County residents. Our people, land and location are our biggest assets. My vision is to help manage these assets in a way that will promote jobs, businesses and bring folks into Arcadia to spend money and enjoy our southern hospitality.
More money in the county coffers is needed to support the improvement of our infrastructure and properly compensate our dedicated county employees and emergency responders. I view the individual taxpayers and businesses of DeSoto County as customers of DeSoto, and they deserve to get the best bang for their buck with regard to their tax dollars. Increasing the tax base by promoting smart, responsible growth and progress is key to the prosperity of DeSoto County. We have all the tools to build a robust local economy that celebrates our rich agricultural heritage, but we are in need of a new direction and culture that focuses on the progress of our people.
My vision for DeSoto in 2030 is a county where there are many young DeSoto residents who can graduate high school, college and find great career opportunities to build their lives and families right here in DeSoto County. I look forward to going to work for this county and its great people."