It’s easy to see how deep Florida farming’s roots reach as the list of entrants into the state’s Agricultural Hall of Fame continues to grow year after year. Many men and women along the way have contributed to the sector’s success, and four more influencers are getting added to the honor roll.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation announced the latest honorees to be inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held Feb. 13, 2018.
The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Class of 2018 includes:
The brothers have been an integral part of agriculture in Florida and their communities for more than 50 years. The Fanjul family founded Florida Crystals Corp. 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, COO, 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.
Loadholtz spent a distinguished 33-year career with UF/IFAS as an Extension Service Director and Agent in Escambia, Brevard, and Okeechobee counties. He 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 for 13 years.
Now 91, Mikell has retired from two successful careers: first in forestry, then as a congressional agricultural liaison.
During his tenure, Florida’s forests grew exponentially. They also grew safer, thanks to Mikell’s 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.