Tickets go on sale February 14 for the 34th annual Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet which will honor four inductees who have made invaluable contributions to Florida agriculture.
The banquet, which each year celebrates the accomplishments of industry leaders who have served in research, education and business, is held in the Special Events Building at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. Tickets are $60 per person, and tables of eight are available. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.floridaaghalloffame.org or by calling the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau at 813-230-1918.
The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame also is accepting nominations for 2013. Nomination forms with detailed instructions may be downloaded and printed from the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Web site. Visit floridaaghalloffame.org and click on "Nominate" at the top. Forms and supporting materials must be postmarked no later than Sept. 1.
The 2012 inductees bring the total to 140 who have been honored to date. They are:
Laurence Paul Cutts, a second-generation beekeeper. During his work with the state overseeing Florida's apiary inspections, Cutts was instrumental in bringing to the forefront the need for research to reduce beehive losses. Throughout his state career, he was accessible to commercial and independent beekeepers with unlimited advice and direction. He invented and is marketing a new beetle trap through various bee supply companies in the United States. This trap promises to be a better deterrent for the small hive beetle.
Orchid grower Bob Fuchs. Fuchs is recognized as orchid royalty around the globe. A collector of orchids since age 10, he is the founder of R.F. Orchids in Miami. In 1984 at the World Orchid Conference, R.F. Orchids' plant Vanda Deva "Robert" was honored as the Grand Champion of the World, catapulting Fuchs and his nursery into international recognition and acceptance as one of the leading vandaceous orchid firms in the world. He is a member of numerous orchid societies worldwide and a recipient of the South Florida Orchid Society's Distinguished Service Award.
Gerald Mixon, founder of SunnyRidge Farm Inc., now Sunnyridge Farm-Dole. Mixon's veracity, innovation and selflessness made him one of the blueberry industry's most pivotal figures. He transformed a seven-acre patch of blueberries into a vertically integrated international conglomerate. Along the way, he shared his ideas with other growers and employed his marketing genius to help the entire industry to flourish and profit. With the establishment of SunnyRidge's marketing company, he developed and implemented new methods of packaging, allowing producers to obtain the highest prices for their fruit.
Sid Sumner, a veteran of Florida's beef cattle and agriculture industry. Sumner is a beef producer, consultant, industry representative, former Extension agent, and a strong supporter of youth agriculture programs. A fifth-generation cattle rancher, Sumner manages his own purebred and commercial herds. As a University of Florida Extension Service professor, Sumner developed and conducted educational programs on beef cattle and forage management. After his 30-year extension career, Sumner now serves as president of Florida Agricultural Consultants, assisting cattlemen with ranch and forage management decisions and cattle selection, sales and appraisals.
The banquet's reception starts at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner and program begin at 7 p.m. Ticket sales close on Feb. 10.