The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame announced Jan. 17 its 2011 class of inductees.
The ceremonies will take place March 4 as part of the annual Citrus
Celebration Luncheon at the hall's permanent home at Florida Southern
College in Lakeland, FL, to honor R. William (Bill) Becker, Edgar S. Beeland
(deceased), Robert C. (Bob) Bullock, and Frank W. Savage (deceased).
The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame was established in 1962 to pay tribute to
individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Florida citrus
industry. Seventeen nominees were inducted the first year, and the hall now
has more than 150 members.
The hall recently partnered with Florida Southern College to create a
permanent home and make Florida's citrus history more accessible to the
public. The hall display is located at the recently completed Sarah D. and L.
Kirk McKay Jr. Archives Center on the campus of Florida Southern, which also
houses the state of Florida Citrus Archives, the Florida Southern College
Archives, the Gov. Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History, the Frank
Lloyd Wright collection and the Ruth K. and Charles T. Thrift Jr. Florida United
Methodist Heritage Center.
This year's inductees cover the spectrum of the Florida citrus industry,
touching eras from the late 1800s through the turn of the 21st century.
The late Mr. Savage is considered to have been Florida's first grower-
cooperator. In 1892, he began working with two U.S. Department of
Agriculture scientists, Hall of Fame member Walter T. Swingle and Hubert John
Webber, to establish the first citrus research facility in the world. Mr. Savage
constructed laboratories in two rooms at his home and participated in all of
the field work and citrus research. The work done there led to the
development of citrus varieties that are still popular today, like the Orlando
and Minneola tangelos and the Swingle rootstock. When the 1894-95 freeze
devastated the Florida citrus industry, the scientists returned to Washington.
Mr. Savage continued their work through regular correspondence with the
scientists. Because of his commitment to continuing the research programs
established by Messrs. Swingle and Webber, those two laboratory rooms
eventually became a plant evaluation facility, the A.H. Whitmore Foundation
Farm, where extensive breeding work is still done today to develop new and
improved varieties and rootstocks of citrus.
The late Mr. Beeland's service to the Florida citrus industry spanned more than
70 years as he helped advance the industry as a packer, processor and
grower. He started his career in 1928 with Kissimmee Citrus Growers
Association before moving to Clearwater Growers Association as general
manager, where he remained for 28 years, taking three years off to serve with
the Air Force during World War II. He went on to become executive vice
president and general manager of Winter Haven Citrus Growers Association, a
position he held for 22 years. He served on the boards of Citrus World, Seald-
Sweet, Highlands-Exchange Service Cooperative and Florida Citrus Packers,
and was a founding member of Citrus Self-Insurers Fund, which he chaired
for 20 years. He was also president of Florida Citrus Packers. In 1991 he was
awarded the prestigious John T. Lesley Award of Excellence for his leadership
and many contributions to the industry.
Mr. Becker is president and owner of Peace River Citrus Products Inc. in Vero
Beach, FL. He served as a member of the Florida Citrus Commission under
two governors, Democrat Bob Graham (1985-1988) and Republican Bob
Martinez (1988-1991. He served as chairman of the FCC for five terms
(1986-1991). He is a past president of both the Florida Citrus Processors'
Association and the National Juice Products Association, and is a past member
of the Florida Citrus Production Managers Association. A tenacious advocate
for growers and processors, Mr. Becker always kept the industry's best
interests in focus. Said Hall of Fame selection committee member Brantley
Schirard, "Many have attained financial success in the industry, but Bill has
given of his success to help others. He is more than deserving of the honor."
Dr. Bullock, a research entomologist at the IFAS research center in Ft. Pierce
for more than 35 years, was known as the "growers' teacher" for his hands-on
knowledge of citrus production and development of integrated pest
management practices. He pioneered aerial spraying with fixed-winged
aircraft for a number of pesticides as well as the application techniques for
now-well-known products like Bayer Crop Science's "Temik" and "Admire." He
was also an innovator and advocate of balancing the use of chemicals with
natural resources for environmental protection. Inducted as an honorary
member of the Florida State Horticultural Society in 2008, Dr. Bullock was
"always just a phone call away" when growers needed help with pest
management concerns, said induction committee member S.J. (Buddy)
The March 4 luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. and is sponsored by Florida
Citrus Mutual and the Florida Department of Citrus. Tickets are available by
calling 863/682-1111 and are $50 for general admission, $100 for reserved
patron seating or $1,000 for a sponsor table, which includes preferred seating
for eight, table signage and a listing in the program.
Lunch will be followed by a "meet and greet" with the surviving honorees as
the names of this year's inductees are unveiled on the Florida Citrus Hall of
Fame Tree. A citrus memorabilia display will be featured as well as oral history
presentations about Hall of Fame members and tours of the citrus archives.
For more information , visit www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com.