Every year, a select few men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture in Florida and provided mentoring to young people are named to the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. Here are profiles of the living inductees for 2007.
As a longtime Sidell cattleman, grower and forester, Berryman “Buster” Longino was accustomed to hosting groups of students on his land to show them environmentally friendly growing and ranching techniques.
Accompanying students on a trip in 2004, not long after Hurricane Charley wreaked devastation over part of Longino’s land, Jono Miller, director of the environmental studies program at New College of Florida in Sarasota, noticed that there was one patch where felled trees and debris had not been salvaged. When asked why he had not cleared the mess, Longino identified an eagle’s nest in the middle of it all that he didn’t want to disturb.
It’s just like Longino, Miller says, to make choices based on what’s right for the land and for the wildlife, not for profits.
Born in Jacksonville in 1926, Longino’s appreciation for the land began at an early age, when he would accompany his father turpentining among the pine trees.
He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and then earned a degree in forestry from the University of Florida, Gainesville.
He started his own cow-calf operation in 1950 on his father’s old turpentine land and eventually expanded Longino Ranch to include timber, sod and 300 acres of oranges and grapefruit. He set aside part of the land for wildlife management.
Longino retired from the day-to-day operations in 2005, but he remains president.
His accomplishments include 20 years of service on the Manasota Basin Board of Water Management and helping establish the Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority. He also negotiated a conservation easement on 4,000 acres of his land to protect it from development.
Longino is a member of the Florida Farm Bureau. He has served on the Sarasota Air and Water Pollution Control Board, the New College Environmental Education Advisory Committee and the Sarasota County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Advisory Committee.
He is a past president of the Florida Forestry Council and the Sarasota Cattlemen’s Association, and a founding member of the Myakka Conservancy, a land trust dedicated to the conservation of the Myakka River Watershed. He also was a Sarasota County commissioner.