Colleagues Laud Orie Lee’s Countless Contributions To The Citrus Sector
When nominations were collected for the 2015 Florida Grower® magazine Citrus Achievement AwardSM, more than a few were for this year’s winner Orie Lee. After it was announced he won, researchers who have collaborated with him over the years were thrilled with his selection.
Bill Castle, a retired plant breeder with UF/IFAS, worked along with Lee for virtually his entire career. Out of that partnership, came some of the popular varieties that are still planted today. Castle counts himself lucky for having that long relationship with the grower from St. Cloud. “During that period, I discovered how lucky I was that Orie was the person I connected with and worked with first,” he says. “I learned about his dedication to the business, his interest in helping the industry, and intense curiosity.
“I started working with Orie in 1975 and he is still engaged today. That says something quite important about his commitment to research and improving this industry.”
In more recent years, Lee has worked closely with UF/IFAS plant breeder Jude Grosser, who currently is seeking HLB-tolerant rootstocks and scions. “Orie is the reason we have the St. Helena project where we have held our rootstock field day for the past three years,” Grosser says. “He found the property, purchased it, and had it cleared. It is a 20-acre property that he turned over to our foundation for $1 per year to allow us to do all this important research on new rootstocks and scions.”
Special thanks to Arysta LifeScience for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award.