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   Florida Tomato Industry And Cooperative Pioneer Wayne Hawkins Passes
by Doug Ohlemeier,
Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 at 8:59AM EST

Carrol Wayne Hawkins, the longtime leader of Florida’s tomato industry and a pioneer in the modern U.S. agricultural exchange, has died.

Hawkins, 85, was the executive vice president of the Maitland, FL-based Florida Tomato Committee from 1974 to 1999. He died Nov. 19 in Lake Mary, FL.

For 40 years, Hawkins worked to organize growers and encouraged cooperative action. He is considered the father of the modern agricultural cooperative exchange. In 1962, Hawkins organized the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange and the South Florida Vegetable Exchange. He also established the Zellwood Sweet Corn Exchange, the Leaf and Radish Exchange and the North Florida Vegetable Growers Exchange.

In 1985, Hawkins organized the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange. The Florida Tomato Exchange, a packinghouse organization, began operations in 1974. The tomato committee enforces the federal tomato marketing order which standardized tomato sizes, weights and box sizes for the largest U.S. tomato growing state.

Leading the tomato groups, Hawkins guided growers through difficult Mexican competition and buyer consolidation. “He was a true leader in Florida Agriculture and has created an immense impact on the industry throughout the length of his career,” according to a statement from the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.

Hawkins was inducted in the Florida Ag Hall of Fame in 2007.

Hawkins is survived by his wife, Carole “Flea” Hawkins of Orlando, FL, three sons, three grandchildren, a great grandson, and one brother. He was born in Oakland Park, FL. After graduating from high school, Hawkins was in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 through 1956 and in 1960, graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in agricultural economics.

Instead of a funeral, Hawkins requested a celebration of his life and visitation scheduled for Jan. 20 at the National Cremation Society, 7565 Red Bug Lake Rd, Oviedo, FL. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, 3152 Little Rd., Suite 146, Trinity, FL, 34655,


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