Three distinguished leaders will be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame at the 57th Citrus Celebration Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on March 8 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Tim Hurner of Sebring, Richard J. Kinney (deceased), formerly of Lakeland, and Peter McClure of Port Saint Lucie will be honored at the luncheon.
Tim Hurner is a fourth-generation Florida citrus grower who has spent most of his life and career as an University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences citrus Extension agent, as well as a center director in Highlands County, supporting citrus growers in the production and profitability of citrus.
In 1990, he assisted growers in the formation of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, which was designed to help growers keep up with local and regional issues and respond accordingly. Throughout his Extension career, he was known as the “go-to” person for answers, helping growers’ transition to new technology and conservation methods.
As the 4-H youth agent for Highlands County, he grew the 4-H program to over 500 members. Hurner also taught at Florida Southern College, mentoring many students who are active in leadership roles in the citrus industry today. A Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), he received the National CCA Award in 2012, the International CCA Award in 2013 and was awarded a Lifetime CCA status in 2014 for his contributions and leadership of the Florida CCA program.
Richard J. Kinney will long be remembered as Florida’s most passionate advocate for its fresh citrus industry. Kinney started his career as an ag liaison for Representative Andrew Ireland and later for former Governor and Senator Lawton Chiles. He went on to serve as executive vice president of Florida Citrus Packers from 1983 until his retirement in 2012.
During that time, he worked tirelessly to maintain export and domestic markets for fresh Florida citrus after the discovery of citrus canker, “walking the halls” of Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., building the case for continued market access and ensuring that scientific research supported the cause. He helped the industry through overseas export challenges, citrus greening, in-store juicing debates and discussions, brix level studies, challenging industry consolidation discussions, import citrus dynamics, new packaging and carton size considerations and discussions.
He was one of the industry’s foremost experts on trade regulations and pest interdiction, as well as a successful citrus grower. Uncompromising and unapologetic of his defense and advocacy for the fresh fruit packers, he was known as a “bulldog on a soapbox” and fought tirelessly for the betterment of Florida’s fresh fruit citrus industry on numerous issues.
Peter McClure is a fourth-generation citrus grower and is known as “the godfather” of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), an organization he helped found to combat the devastating spread of HLB. He originally helped create one of the first ever grower-funded research organizations, the Florida Citrus Production Advisory Council, which evolved into the CRDF with over $200 million in sponsored, funded and completed research committed to HLB mitigation and control. It is the best positioned organization in the world to coordinate the required research and product development necessary to combat the disease.
A long-time production manager with both Becker Holdings and Evans Properties, McClure is currently the chief agriculture officer of TerViva in Fort Pierce.
He is a recipient of the Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award, the Florida State Horticulture Society’s Outstanding Commercial Horticulturist Award and the Saint Lucie County Conservationist of the Year Award.
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 Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, visit the website at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com, which includes access to biographies and photos of 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 Sara D. and Kirk 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, 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, contact Brenda Eubanks Burnette at 561-351-4314 or via email at BBurne1003@aol.com.
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