Four more Florida agricultural leaders were inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame on Feb. 13. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam presented the inductees with their awards, while Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black served as the master of ceremonies during the banquet.
In a room filled with agricultural leaders from across the state, Alfonso and J. Pepe Fanjul, Lowell Loadholtz and Harold Mikell were recognized by Commissioner Putnam and the board of the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Alfonso and J. Pepe Fanjul have been important members of the Everglades Agricultural Area community for 50 years. Coming from the founding family of Florida Crystals Corporation, these two men have given their lives to Florida sugar.
Loadholtz spent 33 years working for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) as an Extension agent. He promoted Florida agriculture in the state and federal legislature while bettering the lives of the farmers within the counties he served.
Mikell first made a career in forestry, then in Tallahassee. He worked for the Florida Forest Service for 40 years before beginning a career as a congressional liaison for the agriculture industry. Now 91, he retired only six years ago. According to his biography on the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame website, he is still active in community service in Tallahassee and Gilchrist County.
Also in attendance was Martha Rhodes Roberts, the newest Florida Woman of Agriculture. “I’m very humbled,” Roberts says regarding her recognition. “I’m honored and a little bit overwhelmed.” Roberts worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for 35 years. She followed policy changes within the industry. She was then appointed Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture in 1984. She was the first woman in the United States to hold this position.
Putnam says that this event is one he looks forward to every year. “It’s a rare event where all of Florida ag comes together to see each other and celebrate the accomplishments of giants in the Florida ag industry,” he says.
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