Reggie Brown emphasized that his predecessor’s contributions are not limited to one or two commodities. “His spreading of the philosophy of ‘growers working with growers to help each other’ has benefited Florida agriculture and left an indelible mark on this industry,” Brown says.
For someone so dedicated to the land and to the beef industry, Imogene Yarborough has done a lot of clowning around.
It’s all for a good cause, though. Yarborough, who took a course to become a certified clown, spends two hours applying colorful makeup and dons baggy pants as a clown named “Stripes,” who educates youngsters about the benefits of the parts of a cow.
Although Yarborough had some experience with ranching through her mother’s family, she became seriously involved in 1954 when she married her late husband, Ed Yarborough, also a hall of fame inductee. They settled down on an 8,000-acre ranch in Geneva that had been in her husband’s family for generations.
Running the ranch became a family affair for the couple and their four children, but Yarborough still found time to pursue teaching projects and fill other community and agriculture-related roles, such as promoting the Florida beef industry.
The need to educate children about the environment and agriculture was obvious to her.
“Children are our future,” she says. “If we don’t take some interest in agriculture in the future, our world will be full of cement and houses.”
Yarborough has been president of the Seminole County Farm Bureau for the past eight years, serves on the Seminole County Agriculture Advisory Committee and is active in her church and community.
She served on the Florida Cattlewomen’s board of directors for 12 years, including a stint as president. She also is a longtime member of the National Cattlewomen’s Association.
In addition to visiting schools, she reaches young people through organizations such as Girls Scouts, 4-H and Ag in the Classroom.
At 71, Yarborough hasn’t slowed down much. “The Lord’s blessed me with health to keep going,” she says.
In December, she and her family completed a 40-mile cattle drive she helped coordinate that was reminiscent of the Great Florida Cattle Drive, which she and her husband had helped arrange to mark the state’s 150th year of statehood in 1995.