Long-time Extension agent John L. Jackson, who is well known in citrus circles, and two others will be inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame next year. Jackson, Hugh Fred Dietrich III and Robert “Robbie” Roberson will be inducted during ceremonies at the Florida State Fair’s Agricultural Hall of Fame Banquet on Feb. 11.
Jackson’s professional career spanned more than five decades serving Florida’s agricultural industry, including 38 years as a county Extension agent for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) in Central Florida. He founded two weather alert systems, Weather Watch and the Florida Automated Weather Network, to inform producers of the latest forecasts and assist them with protection efforts during freeze and other weather events. He was also instrumental in encouraging citrus producers to use reclaimed water for irrigation and establishing the Mid Florida Citrus Foundation as the research arm of the effort.
Jackson’s other noteworthy accomplishments include the establishment of an annual equipment operator’s school, now known as Farm Safety Day; the Central Florida 4-H Citrus Project, which over a 20-year period engaged more than 2,000 middle and high school students in agriculture; and successful revitalization of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in other innovations such as the initiation of grower meetings for citrus producers and the promotion of integrating technology into agricultural operations.
Dietrich has been actively engaged in Florida’s agricultural industry in a variety of capacities throughout his life. He was a lifelong cattle rancher, an agricultural educator and an auctioneer.
Roberson has owned and managed successful nursery operations for the ornamental plant industry for more than 40 years. He was a founding member of the Florida Foliage Association and later an active leader with the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA).
The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture in this state and to mentoring of youth, who represent the future of agriculture in Florida.
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