The Marion County UF/IFAS Extension Service is accepting nominations for Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees.
Since its inception in 2003, the Hall of Fame has recognized people who have made tremendous contributions to the furtherance of agriculture in the community. Nomination forms must be received by 4 p.m. on July 10.
Previous Hall of Fame honorees include 32 individuals credited with advancing Marion County’s agricultural history. Their contributions include youth education, cattle, citrus production, horticulture, historical firsts and more.
The last inductee, Russ Randall, was an agriculture teacher at Dunnellon High School and longtime announcer and executive board member for the Southeastern Youth Fair. Randall served as president of the Florida Agriculture Educators Association, is member and past president of the Marion County Farm Bureau and serves as state secretary of the Georgia Future Farmers of America Association.
Owner of the historic Ocala Stud Farm, Michael O’Farrell dedicated his life’s work to the promotion and improvement of Florida’s thoroughbred industry. He is recognized as a national leading commercial breeder and as a leading contributor to Marion County’s reign as Horse Capital of the World. His farm is the oldest active thoroughbred farm in the state. He was responsible for bringing the legendary sire, Rough’N Tumble, to Marion County. O’Farrell was inducted in 2007.
Also inducted in 2007, Jo Ann Smith served as founding chair of the cattlemen’s beef promotion and research board and was instrumental in the adoption of the Beef Checkoff by a nationwide referendum. She was the first female president of the National Cattlemen’s Association and served as assistant secretary of USDA, heading up the marketing and inspection division.
A third generation farmer from Ocala, Charles Seiler Jr. is most noted for promoting the green peanut industry in Marion County and was bestowed the Florida Peanut Producer Association’s High Yield award. He was honored in 2006. He was a member of both the Farm Service Agent committee and the Marion County Farm Bureau.
Inductees are commemorated with a bronze plaque featuring their photo and a summary of their dedication to agriculture. The Hall of Fame is on permanent exhibit in the foyer of the Extension Service auditorium located at 2232 Jacksonville Rd. For more information, call (352) 671-8400.