For some people, it’s plain to see the drive and passion in what they do for a living. This is certainly the case — and then some — when it comes to describing Dr. Martha Roberts, this year’s Florida Woman of the Year in Agriculture.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam made the official announcement that Roberts has been named the latest recipient of the longstanding award recognizing women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.
Roberts dedicated 35 years of service to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), where she championed policy changes for the advancement of Florida’s agriculture industry, trade, and production practices.
Born in Oxford, MS, Roberts joined FDACS’ Division of Food Safety in 1968 as a Microbiologist/Chemist. She was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture in 1984, and was the first woman in the U.S. to hold this position. From 1991 to 2003, Roberts served as the Department’s Deputy Commissioner and played a pinnacle role in shaping agricultural policies to improve practices in each stage of production.
Beginning in 2003, Roberts served 13 years as Director of Industry Relations and then as Special Assistant for Government Affairs for UF/IFAS.
Throughout her career, Dr. Roberts served in leadership capacities for numerous organizations. In recognition for her lasting contributions to the agriculture industry, Roberts was inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2003. She continues to support Florida agriculture as a scientific authority, industry counselor, and advocate.
The Woman of the Year in Agriculture award, now celebrating its 33rd year, will be presented to the recipient during the 2018 Florida State Fair in Tampa.