Two distinguished leaders will be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame (FCHOF) during the 56th Citrus Celebration Luncheon on Friday, March 9, 2018, at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
L. Gene Albrigo, of Daytona Shores, and Marvin D. Kahn, of Sebring, will be honored at the luncheon, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m.
Gene Albrigo has led a distinguished career for decades in the Florida citrus industry as a research scientist at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS CREC) in Lake Alfred. His research focused on understanding the interaction of citrus trees and fruit with pests, diseases and environmental stresses and has been instrumental in a variety of areas, including protecting fruit from canker and most recently, understanding symptom development of greening (HLB). He also created a grower-friendly model to predict strength and dates of citrus tree flowering, resulting in the “Flower Bud Induction Advisory” reports and the development of increased flower induction through nutritional sprays.
An outstanding educator, Albrigo led the development of the MS degree in citriculture and developed three Horticultural Sciences Department courses which drew students from around the world to his classes. He also developed the audio-video delivery of classes within the College of Agriculture, which became the standard for IFAS-wide distance education delivery of classes, meetings and conferences. His graduate students are in influential positions both in the Florida citrus industry and throughout the world.
Albrigo has over 130 published works, including the book “Citrus,” authored with Fred S. Davies, which covers all aspects of citrus production. An active member of many horticultural-related organizations, he was awarded honorary membership in the Florida State Horticultural Society for his almost 50 years of service to the organization. Although he retired in 2010, he continues to work on grant-funded research at CREC. He commutes from his home in Daytona Beach and stays in Polk County three days a week. John Jackson, chairman of the FCHOF, noted “For Gene, it’s not just a job – it’s a commitment to the growers and dedication to the industry.”
Marvin Kahn is President of Kahn Grove Service and Kahn Citrus Management, LLC in Sebring, which he helped build from 400 acres to managing over 5,500 acres at its peak. He was a founding member and first president of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association in Sebring, which helped protect agricultural interests during the early development of state comprehensive planning efforts.
An innovative grower, caretaker and marketer, Kahn has been a proactive agent for change in the citrus industry for over five decades, serving in multiple leadership roles to ensure the protection of growers’ property rights. He served on the Florida Citrus Commission for eight years and continued to work on the Long-Range Planning Committee for many years afterward.
An early practitioner of water-management practices, Kahn promptly invested in overhead sprinklers for his groves, followed by low-volume irrigation, and was part of a working group with the Southwest Water Management District that ultimately developed the first Water Use Caution Area.
A founding member of the Highlands County 4-H Club Foundation, Kahn helped raise funds to support the 4-H program and invested time hosting tours for Highlands County school children in his groves to give them a firsthand insight into the industry.
Kahn has received numerous awards, including Outstanding Farmer in Highlands County, Outstanding Soil Conservationist, Runner-up – Outstanding Farmer in Florida, Florida Bankers Award for Soil Conservation and Outstanding Young Men of America, to name just a few. He also established the Florida Cracker Trail Association and the Florida Cracker Trail Ride to recreate a part of Florida’s history commemorating the tradition of the Florida cattlemen herding their cattle across the state from Fort Pierce to Bradenton for shipment to Cuba. Hall of Fame member Brantley Schirard said, “The key word about Marvin Kahn is passion. He was driven to be there to discuss, correct and persevere on behalf of the industry.”
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 website at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com. It has access to biographies and photos on all members, noting their accomplishments and including various industry links.
Tickets to the luncheon, which is co-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 eight, 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 from January through March and tours of the Citrus Archives will be available. A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will go to fund an educational outreach program to help 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 on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at (561) 351-4314 or via e-mail at BBurne1003@aol.com.