Dedicating herself to the advancement of Florida agriculture, agriculture education, and youth programs has earned Judi Whitson the state’s 2016 Woman of the Year in Agriculture Award. The honor, now in its 32nd year, is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida State Fair Authority and recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.
“I am proud to recognize Judi Whitson as the 2016 Woman of the Year in Agriculture,” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam stated. “Her dedication to agricultural education and engaging Florida’s youth is an immeasurable asset to our industry.”
Whitson’s passion for Florida agriculture is evident in her contributions to numerous ag-centered programs. With assistance from educators in Exceptional Student Education (ESE), Whitson developed and wrote the curriculum for the Ag-Abilities program, which is designed to teach ESE students the many facets of agriculture and prepare them for possible careers in the industry.
Whitson also co-founded the Ag Venture educational program. Each year 7,200 students and approximately 37,000 fair goers enjoy the opportunity to touch, taste, and see Florida agriculture in action.
Whitson’s involvement in the Xtreme Cuisine program highlights “Fresh from Florida” commodities while teaching nutrition to elementary and middle school children. Additionally, Whitson actively advocates for family farms, works to bolster 4-H and FFA programs throughout the state, and donates countless volunteer hours to the Florida Strawberry Festival, Farm City Week, and Food Check-out Week.
The award will be presented to the Whitson during the 2017 Florida State Fair in Tampa.