While youth raise livestock to show at fairs, the emphasis of those expos should be on children, or as Lisa Hinton often says: “We’re raising kids, not animals.”
From that mantra, Hinton developed the Champion Youth Program and the Youth Steer Futurity at the Florida State Fair, nationally recognized programs.
Hinton grew up a fifth-generation Floridian, spending her youth on a seed-harvesting and cow-calf operation in tiny Trilby (pop., about 500), in northeastern Pasco County.
She’s come a long way from the family farm. Now, she’s as comfortable in a board room as she is in a barn.
She credits a lot of her growth to her lifetime participation in 4-H, first, as a member, then as a volunteer. Hinton also participated in FFA, an organization in which she became the first female to hold a state office and the first of four young women to receive the American Farmer Degree.
Her contributions to Florida 4-H and youth education led to many awards.
Hinton was inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame in 2002; the Florida Federation of Fairs Hall of Fame in 2009; International Association of Fair Executive of the Year in 2013; and was Woman of the Year for Florida Agriculture for 2016.
After she left her family’s farm in Pasco County, Hinton went to the University of Florida and graduated from the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with a degree in agricultural education. She taught agri-science at East Bay High School for three years before becoming the agribusiness manager at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.
In 2006, Hinton became the executive director of the Florida Federation of Fairs. In this role, she guided the direction of 52 agricultural fairs in Florida and helped promote agriculture and youth education.
Hinton played a major role in developing the Ag Venture program, which teaches third graders as well as millions of Florida fairgoers about the importance of agriculture.
As noted on the Woman of the Year award page of the website of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: “It is impossible to quantify the number of young agriculturists Lisa has impacted directly and indirectly in her work. The educational programs she has implemented and the individuals she has inspired will have a lasting impact on Florida agriculture for generations to come.”
About this Series: The year 2020 commemorates the centennial year of the passage of the 19th Amendment, a crucial achievement in the women’s suffrage movement. This milestone reminds us of the collective spirit marshalled to enact this change. Throughout the year, UF/IFAS is highlighting female researchers, educators, staff members, students and innovators who embodied a similar trailblazing spirit during their engagement with the university. These trailblazers left an indelible mark on both the university and the state of Florida.
The 19th Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” although some women were still denied the right to vote until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. We hope this series inspires others to ignite their own trailblazing spirit and effect change in our world.