Davis is a longtime member of the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association, Orlando, and he was elected president of that organization in 1985. Davis served five terms as president of the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau and is the founding chairman of the Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers Trade Show.
In 1987, the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association presented him with the Wendall Butler Award for Outstanding Nurseryman of the Year. That same year, he received Hillsborough County’s Agricultural Hall of Fame Harvest Award for Lifetime Achievement in Agriculture.
Davis lives in Dover and owns and operates two nurseries.
Lillie “Belle” Jeffords
Lillie “Belle” Jeffords was committed to the advancement of Florida’s cattle industry. She was born in rural Columbia County in 1924 into a large farming family. By the time Jeffords was 15, both her parents had died. She moved in with her high school principal and his wife, caring for their young children after school to earn her keep. By 16 she had dropped out of school, and by 17 she was married. Her husband, Roy, was a farmer in Alachua, and she became a partner on the farm.
Roy and Belle Jeffords farmed peanuts, tobacco, hay and watermelons. Later, they shifted to beef. In 1960, Roy died suddenly following a short illness, and Jeffords was left to run the farm.
She was a member of the Alachua County Cattlemen’s Association and the first woman ever elected president of that organization.
In 1980, Jeffords was named Cattlewoman of the Year by the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Kissimmee. In 1989, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services named her Woman of the Year in Agriculture.
Jeffords died in 2005.
James Neville McArthur
James Neville McArthur was born in 1893 in Mississippi. McArthur graduated from Mississippi State College in Starkville in 1916 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
After a stint in the Army in World War I, McArthur earned a second bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. In 1929, after eight years as principal of Miami’s Dade County Agricultural High School, McArthur established McArthur Jersey Dairy Farms.
He opened a state-of-the-art milk-processing plant in 1951 and acquired a second plant in the 1970s.
Through the J.N. McArthur Foundation, he supported education. He died in 1972, but the foundation continues to fund education, and McArthur Farms remains one of Florida’s largest dairies, milking 8,500 cows.