James Browning’s enthusiasm, dedication and leadership have been an inspiration to many in the 4-H program both during his days as a 4-H club member, and later as he has served in other roles with the 4-H program.
“The eight years in my youth that I spent in 4-H were some of the most important of my life,” said Browning. “It gave me the foundation of citizenship, leadership and achievement. That is how my life has gone since that time.”
Browning modestly admits he has realized a degree of success in his career as part owner of an insurance agency, and credits a good deal of his success to the skills he gained in 4-H.
“The success I’ve realized in my business or in leadership roles all stem from the skills I learned in 4-H,” said Browning.
While a young 4-H member, Browning was involved with public speaking, ornamental horticulture, and was a four-time state winner in vegetable gardening. He was the National 4-H Congress winner in Horticulture, and placed in the top four in the Southeast Report to the Nation.
As an adult, Browning has given back to the 4-H program. He served as chairman for the St. Johns County Agriculture Extension Advisory Committee for 10 years. He co-chaired the St. Johns County Agriculture Central Building Committee and is a judge for many local 4-H events. He has also mentored many youth and adult 4-H leaders and worked tirelessly with sponsors to raise funds for 4-H.
He also took on a leadership role in Florida 4-H’s plans to celebrate the national centennial of the 4-H movement in 2002, working to organize clubs and volunteers throughout the state for a celebration in St. Augustine.
“It is a pleasure to serve 4-H. This program gave me life skills that I use everyday. My involvement in 4-H has made me a better parent, businessman and civic contributor,” said Browning. “This program took a little kid who grew up in the country and helped him become a productive adult.”
In addition to his work with 4-H, Browning works actively in his community and is a former president of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and has served with the St. Johns County Committee of 100 and EPIC Community Services. He was the Governor’s selection for St. Johns County to the Northeast Florida Regional Planning Council. He also serves as a board member with the Blood Bank of the St. Johns, a committee man for the St. Johns County Republican Party and is a member of the Ponte Vedra Rotary Club.
Browning lives with his wife and three children in Ponte Vedra Beach.