TAMPA, Fla. — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation recently inducted four new members into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture in Florida.
“Thanks to the dedication, service and sacrifice of so many, Florida agriculture is a pillar of our economy and a critical part of our state’s past, present and future,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “It is my privilege to help induct the newest members into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame and permanently recognize their outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.”
The 2018 inductees are:
Alfonso Fanjul and J. Pepe Fanjul have been an integral part of agriculture in Florida and their communities for more than 50 years. The Fanjul family founded Florida Crystals Corporation in 1960 in Palm Beach County. Alfonso Fanjul serves as Chairman of the Board and CEO of both Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals, which farms 190,000 acres in Palm Beach County. Pepe Fanjul is Vice Chairman, Chief Operating Officer and President of the companies. The company owns and operates two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution center and the largest biomass renewable power plant in North America.
Joseph Lowell Loadholtz spent a distinguished 33-year career with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as an Extension service director and agent in Escambia, Brevard and Okeechobee counties. Loadholtz worked throughout his career to ensure that agriculture was top of mind with residents as well as lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. He planned more than 100 agriculture informational legislative days, seminars, tours and field days for growers, policymakers and media to showcase agricultural production, water issues and the environment. He wrote more than 1,500 newsletters and publications on farm and home life, and hosted an award-winning daily radio program that aired twice daily for 13 years.
Harold Mikell has lived his entire life in service to agriculture and Florida’s natural resources. Now 91, he has retired from two successful careers: first in forestry, then as a congressional agricultural liaison. Mikell’s interest in forestry took root his senior year in high school when he planted trees on the family property in Trenton, Florida, as an FFA project, and it culminated as the state forester and director of the Florida Forest Service. During his tenure, Florida’s forests grew exponentially. They also grew safer, thanks to Mikell’s visionary efforts in wildfire and prescribed burning. Every county in the state developed a wildfire protection program that included a strong emphasis on prescribed burning. The program was replicated by other forestry organizations across the country. The U.S. Forest Service honored him with its National Bronze Smokey Bear Award for his efforts.
—Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
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