Four leaders named to Florida Ag Hall of Fame

10/20/2011 10:42:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

A blueberry grower, a beekeeper, an orchid grower and a cattle producer will be inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame in February.

The four were chosen because of their commitment to improving their own craft as well as their willingness to share their advancements with the entire industry, according to a news release.

• Third-generation beekeeper Laurence Cutts of Chipley was instrumental in pushing for research to address bee hive losses in the state.

He also invented a trap for small hive beetles, one of the latest pests of beehives.

• Robert Fuchs of Homestead put Florida on the international map as a premier orchid producing area.

• Winter Haven's Gerald Mixon transformed 7 acres of bluleberries into SunnyRidge Farm Inc., a vertically integrated international firm that ships berries worldwide. (SunnyRidge was recently sold to Dole Food Co.)

Mixon was credited with helping increase Florida's blueberry sales to more than $70 million annually in 2009 from just $2 million in 1999.

• Sidney Sumner of Bartow worked with cattle producers to help them adopt new technologies and practices to improve the state's beef production.

The four will be inducted into the hall, Feb. 14, 2012, during the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

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