Four more added to the elite Florida AG Hall of Fame

01/01/2009 02:00:00 AM

Smoak is survived by his wife, Tracee, and three young children.

Dr. James Griffiths

For 60 years, citrus growers in Florida were sure to see James Griffiths at almost every citrus meeting across the state. He was born in Alta Loma, Texas, in 1914, earned his doctorate in entomology in 1941 from Iowa State University, served in the Army during World War II and then found his way to the Florida citrus industry.

Following the war, he was a scientist at the Lake Alfred Citrus Experiment Station, and in only five years there he authored or co-authored 75 articles. At that time, he created a standard fertilizer recommendation for young and maturing groves.

Afterward, Griffiths became a district manager at Lyons Fertilizer Co. and general manager at Eloise Groves and Cypress Gardens Citrus Products. During all of this, he was foremost a citrus grower having been purchasing groves since the 1950s. He is remembered for his direct involvement in the care and management of the groves.

In 1981, he founded Citrus Grower Associates Inc., a small cooperative of growers that promotes and protects its members. This role led to his reputation of being a watchdog in the industry, always determined to be informed on every aspect of the citrus industry. In this capacity, he also ventured into politics becoming an advocate for Florida citrus in Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee.

One of his most notable achievements was his successful lobbying for the establishment of the Polk County Water Policy Committee on which he served from 2001 to 2006.

Griffiths also participated in several associations, including the International Society of Citriculture, the Soil Science Society of Florida, and the Florida Citrus Production Managers Association.

Griffiths was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1998. He died at the age of 91 on June 13, 2006. He is survived by two sons, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Richard Kelly

Many of Florida’s agriculture leaders wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for Richard Kelly and the training he provided them throughout his career. He spent nearly 50 years focusing on ways to improve agriculture education.

Born in Ocala in 1937, Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1960 and a master’s degree in education in 1963 both from the University of Florida. During the early part of his educational career, he taught at the high-school level as an agricultural teacher and an FFA advisor.

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