Tickets Go On Sale For Feb. 13 For Florida Agricultural Hall Of Fame Banquet
by Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
Posted: 2018-01-03 09:12:36 EST

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tickets are now on sale for the 39th annual Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet on Feb. 13, which will honor four inductees who have made invaluable contributions to Florida agriculture.

The banquet, which each year celebrates the accomplishments of industry leaders who have served in research, education and business, is held in the Special Events Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Tickets are $65 per person, and tables of eight are available. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 813-230-1918. 

“This is a great event that recognizes the tireless efforts of individuals who have worked to promote and protect Florida’s greatest industry. This is the agriculture community’s highest honor,” said Ray Hodge, president of the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. “Their unselfish contributions have made Florida agriculture stronger.”

The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet reception starts at 6 p.m., and the dinner and program begin at 7 p.m. Online ticket sales close Feb. 9. Mentor scholarships are available, which allow young people in agriculture to attend and meet industry leaders.

The Hall of Fame also is accepting nominations for next year. Nomination forms with detailed instructions may be downloaded and printed from the Florida Ag Hall of Fame website. Click on “Nominate” at the top. Forms and supporting materials must be postmarked no later than Sept. 1.

This year’s inductees bring the total to 164 who have been honored. They are:

Alfonso Fanjul and J. Pepe Fanjul. These brothers have been an integral part of agriculture in Florida and their communities for more than 50 years. Their numerous contributions and the success of their business endeavors have contributed to the betterment of agriculture in the Everglades Agricultural Area and in the state of Florida. The Fanjul family founded Florida Crystals Corp. in 1960 as a sugar cane farming and milling company in Palm Beach County. Alfonso Fanjul serves as chairman of the board and CEO of both Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals, which farms 190,000 acres in Palm Beach County. The company owns and operates two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution center and the largest biomass renewable power plant in North America. Pepe Fanjul is vice chairman, chief operating officer and president of the companies. The two have been members of Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida almost from its inception. They and other Glades farmers formed the Florida Sugar Cane League and the joint marketing cooperatives for the sales of raw sugar and molasses. In 1998, the Fanjul brothers partnered with the Cooperative to buy a sugar refinery in Yonkers, N.Y., to become a totally vertically integrated company. Today that company, ASR Group, is the largest cane sugar refiner and marketer in the world.

Lowell Loadholtz. This Florida native grew up in Union County on his family’s farm and spent a distinguished 33-year career with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as an Extension service director and agent in Escambia, Brevard and Okeechobee counties. Over the decades, Loadholtz held numerous leadership positions with the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents. He received the Hall of Fame Award from the national organization in 2006 and was inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame in 2010. Loadholtz worked to ensure that agriculture was top of mind with local residents as well as lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. He planned more than 100 agriculture informational legislative days, seminars, tours and field days for growers, policy makers and media. He also hosted an award-winning daily radio program that aired twice daily for 13 years. Under his leadership, the Langley Bell 4-H Club Youth Building was built in Escambia County. Later, he led in the planning, funding and construction of the Brevard County Agricultural Center and 4-H Horse Arena. 

Harold Mikell. Now 91, Mikell has retired from two successful careers: first in forestry, then as a congressional agricultural liaison. His interest in forestry took root his senior year in high school when he planted trees on the family property in Trenton, Fla., as an FFA project. By the time he retired after four decades with the Florida Forest Service, he had overseen the planting of 5 billion more. During his tenure director of the FFS, Florida’s forests grew safer, thanks to Mikell’s visionary efforts in wildfire and prescribed burning. Every Florida county developed a wildfire protection program that included a strong emphasis on prescribed burning. The program was replicated by other forestry organizations across the country. The U.S. Forest Service honored him with its National Bronze Smokey Bear Award for his efforts. After retiring from FFS, Mikell became a congressional liaison under Rep. Pete Peterson, a position he continued under Rep. Alan Boyd. He worked with all sectors of agriculture on a wide variety of issues: citrus canker, dairy waste disposal, sugar cane research and more. For almost two decades he advised agricultural associations on congressional issues, sat on numerous association advisory boards and carried their concerns to their representatives.

For more information about this year’s Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honorees and previous inductees,

Source: Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association