Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Inductees Chosen for 2015

LAKELAND, Fla. – The Selection Committee for The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame has announced three distinguished leaders will be inducted into the Hall during the 53rd Citrus Celebration Luncheon on Friday, March 6, 2015 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Nicholas “Nick” D. Faryna (deceased), formerly of Umatilla, Fla., Sherwood J. “Buddy” Johnson, of Ft. Pierce, Fla. and John C. Updike, Sr. (deceased), formerly of Lake Wales, Fla. will be honored at the luncheon, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Hollis Wellness Center.

Nick Faryna started in the industry operating a sprayer for Golden Gem Growers during the summer while in high school and eventually opened his own grove care business in 1973, which is still in operation today. A graduate from the University of Florida, he was instrumental in pioneering cold protection practices in groves by introducing elevated micro sprinklers into the lower scaffold limbs of citrus trees. An unprecedented idea at the time, he experimented with his personal groves during the devastating freezes in the ’80s, and the results were so successful that the practice is now an industry standard. He was also one of the first to convert “Speed Sprayers” from 500 to 1,000 gallons in order to improve efficiency and allow uniform application with minimum damage to the tree, worked with Monsanto Company to design a shielded, low profile herbicide boom to reduce the drift of herbicides and worked closely with IFAS and the USDA on both rootstock and scion trials to provide valuable research for the industry.

Faryna was the Vice-President of the Umatilla Growers’ Assn.; Director, Florida’s Natural Growers; Member, Florida Citrus Production Research Advisory Council and the A.M. Whitmore Research Foundation Board; and a member of the Lake-Orange County Extension Citrus Advisory Committee and the St. John’s River Water Management District Water Conserv Committee. A University of Florida alumni and Gator Booster, he was also a member of the Diaprepes Task Force, the Citrus Budwood Technical Advisory Committee, and the Rural Enforcement Communication Network that linked growers and deputy sheriffs in Lake County. In addition, he was a valuable resource to the news media as an industry representative, providing an informed growers’ standpoint to the general public whenever necessary. Hall of Fame Chairman, John Jackson, noted “After his family, citrus was his passion…he lived citrus.”

Buddy Johnson grew up in the industry in the renowned Indian River Citrus area helping his father plant young citrus groves. He attained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florida, where he received the Florida Citrus Mutual Award for Outstanding Achievement in the field of Citrus Studies in 1966 – his second year at the university. He went on to excel in land development and care-taking, eventually moving into the packing and gift fruit business. He was one of the first packers to convert the grading line from manual to computer, which eventually became an industry standard due to the increased efficiency. He created marketing alliances with numerous entities, including Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., where he served as a board member for 13 years, serving as Chairman from 2001-2003, helping strengthen the importance of the citrus industry in that organization, which was comprised almost exclusively of cranberry growers at the time. In 2005, his leadership led to the development of one of the largest University research and development initiatives in the U.S. – the Treasure Coast Research Park, a 1,600-acre infrastructure-ready acreage designed to entice agriculture research to the St. Lucie County area.

A tireless worker, Johnson invested his time and talent in many organizations, including the Indian River Citrus League, where he served as President, Chairman and Board member; Treasure Coast Agricultural Research Foundation, which he helped found; Florida Farm Bureau, St. Lucie County Farm Bureau, Florida Citrus Production Managers’ Assn., IFAS SHARE Council, Indian River Research and Education Center Advisory Committee, and the Orange Avenue Citrus Growers’ Assn., to name just a few. He was a director on the boards of the Central Florida Farm Credit Service and Co-Bank, as well as a director and chairman on the Federal Land Bank of South Florida and Farm Credit of South Florida boards. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Farm Credit of Florida. He was inducted into the St. Lucie County Farm Bureau Hall of Fame in 2005, received the UF College of Agricultural & Life Sciences Alumni and Friends Award of Distinction, as well as the UF Gamma Sigma Delta Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award in 2008, and was honored with the prestigious “Legends of the River” Award by the Indian River Citrus League in 2011. Always considered the “go-to” guy in any situation, Hall of Fame Selection committee member George Streetman summed it up nicely: “Ask him to do anything and he comes to the plate and gets the job done.”

John Updike, Sr. worked with his father in their Lake Wales citrus business after graduating from the University of Florida and working part-time to pay his way through school. Their family business eventually grew to encompass both the packing and processing fields, building what was considered one of the most modern fresh fruit packing houses in the state in 1958. In 1964, Updike’s father died, and he became responsible for managing approximately 14,000 acres of land and citrus with his brother and son-in-law. Under his leadership, they built a bulk concentrate plant and feed mill, as well as processing concentrate by-products. As the leader of the Alcoma Packing Co., Inc., he was the innovator of modernization in their packing and processing facilities for decades, including the development of a dairy pack concept of frozen orange concentrate, which at one time was the major user of orange solids in Florida.

An active community leader, Updike helped establish the Lake Wales Housing Authority, which provided quality low cost housing for working families and helped create the lake Wales Family YMCA in the 1970s. He was a Director and President of the Florida Canners’ Assn., the National Juice Products Assn., and Seald Sweet Growers, Inc., as well as a director of the Citrus Associates of the New York Cotton Exchange and Alico, Inc. In 1966, he was honored as the Lake Wales Citizen of the Year. Hall of Fame Selection Committee member Ben Hill Griffin, III said that Updike “was a unique individual that served the industry in a leadership capacity on both the fresh and processed side and is well qualified to be a member of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.”

The induction luncheon ceremonies will take place on Friday, March 6, 2015 in the Hollis Wellness Center at Florida Southern College, Lakeland.  Invitations will go out in January, and ticket information will be available on the web site, www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com, later this month.  For more information, contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at (561) 351-4314 or [email protected].

The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame honors distinguished leaders who have made significant contributions to the Florida citrus industry. The Citrus Hall of Fame display and Archive Center is located within the McKay Archive Building at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information on members of the Citrus Hall of Fame, visit the web site at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com which includes access to biographies and photos on all members, noting their accomplishments and including various industry links.

Tickets to the luncheon, which is sponsored by Florida Citrus Mutual and The Florida Department of Citrus, are $100 for Patron Seating or $1,500 for a Sponsor Table, which includes preferred seating for 8, table signage and a listing in the program.  The event will be followed by the Florida Citrus Processors’ Association’s OJ “Meet & Greet” with the inductees as they unveil their names on the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Tree, located in the McKay Archives Center. An educational citrus exhibit will be featured during the month of March and tours of the Citrus Archives will be provided by the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame Fellowship students on the day of the event. Shuttles will provide transportation between the Hollis Wellness Center and the McKay Archives Center, where the main parking lot is located. A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will go to fund an Educational Outreach program to promote the history of the Florida citrus industry.

To purchase tickets, please call Florida Citrus Mutual at (863) 682-1111 or visit the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame website at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com.For more information, please contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at (561) 351-4314.