GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame is honoring four new inductees in Tampa on Feb. 9 who have ties to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture in this state and to the mentoring of youth, who represent the future of agriculture in Florida. All four inductees have played major and vital roles in mentoring young people through Extension, 4-H, at UF or on their ranch. The 2016 Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees are:
- Joe Joyce, retired senior associate vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida, along with the director of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Leadership, which he helped to establish, and brigadier general of the US Army Reserves;
- Tom Braddock, retired UF/IFAS Extension Duval County director, longtime host of TV 12’s “Hi Neighbor” morning show segment about Florida agriculture, local cattle rancher and pine plantation owner;
- Chip Hinton, former Extension agent and retired president of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. He is famous for being the face of Gatorade, for expanding the varieties of strawberries grown in Florida and the amount of strawberry royalties sent to UF;
- Billy Kempfer, Central Florida rancher, past president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and a major force for agriculture in Central Florida.
“These four men are towering figures in our state for agriculture,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice-president for agriculture and natural resources. “We are especially proud of Joe Joyce, who retired in December, for the impact he has had in UF/IFAS leadership and for making the most out of existing UF/IFAS facilities and building new office and lab space all over the state. In addition, Tom Braddock and Chip Hinton have both left lasting legacies though UF/IFAS Extension by helping thousands of young people in several generations of farmers, ranchers and those seeking careers in agriculture. And Billy Kempfer has been a longtime friend of UF, allowing his ranch and cattle to be studied by our students so they can see the right way to run things, and sending his sons to our animal sciences program, from which they graduated.”
Joyce was noted at UF/IFAS for being a leader and establishing a leadership program.
“In my job, I always tried to say, ‘How can we make things easier for the faculty and how can we provide resources for the faculty so they can do teaching research and Extension programs that help our diverse clientele out in the state?’” Joyce said.
Braddock was a vocal advocate for agriculture in northeast Florida for decades, beginning in the 1960s when farmers and ranchers began to feel marginalized as urban areas expanded.
“The country, the rural areas, felt under-represented–they always depended on the old county commissioners, but with consolidation, that changed,” Braddock said. “So we organized an agriculture council made up of members of the commodity groups–there were about six or eight.
And that has become a leading force for agriculture in Jacksonville, representing them in matters of taxes, regulations, pest control and things like that.”
Hinton organized several scholarship funds for agriculture students in the Central Florida area, affecting the lives of at least 600 students.
“I was heavily recruited to go to the University of Florida because of my athletic ability and I’ve always felt that we needed to do the same level of recruitment with outstanding youngsters to be agricultural majors,” Hinton said, adding that he and his wife, Jemy, would bring students to tour the UF campus and meet vice presidents, deans and department chairs in case they ran into any issues. “And we were right–more than 90 percent of our kids got their bachelor’s degrees through the University of Florida through that program.”
Kempfer and his sons have helped to revolutionize the cattle breeding industry through the use of DNA and electronic identification tags.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do with our genetics here,” Kempfer said. “We DNA all of our Brahman sired calves to determine what bulls they’re out of and then try to collect complete data on those and then follow them all the way through with testing for tenderness.”
The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Florida State Fairgrounds’ Special Events Center in Tampa. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased for $60 each or $480 for a table for eight at:
Photos courtesy Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame