“The entire U.S. Sugar family is deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Collins, who had a significant impact on Florida Agriculture. Joe was a personal friend and a business partner for decades. He was someone who truly exemplified the Lykes’ legacy of land stewardship and traditional family values. We will miss him greatly and never forget the contributions he made to our industry and broader community at large.”
– Ken McDuffie, Executive Vice President of U.S. Sugar
Clewiston, FL – The people of U.S. Sugar today recognized two of their long-serving independent sugarcane growers on their induction into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame. The inductees, John Stitt of Stitt Farms in Clewiston and John Hundley of Hundley Farms in Belle Glade, have been among U.S. Sugar’s family of independent growers for many decades.
“Mr. Hundley and Mr. Stitt are some of the finest individuals you will find in Florida agriculture,” said Ken McDuffie, U.S. Sugar’s Executive Vice President. “On behalf of our employees, families and community, we offer our sincere congratulations on this well-deserved honor.”
In addition to U.S. Sugar’s own farmers, the company partners with 34 independent local growers that send their cane to its Clewiston mill.
About John Hundley
Hundley has been an active part of Florida’s agricultural community for more than five decades. A native of Pahokee, he worked on his father’s farm before founding Hundley Farms, Inc., with his wife, Patsy. The enterprise began on 400 acres of leased land, growing sweet corn and radishes. Today the operation consists of about 16,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), central Florida, and Bainbridge, GA, where they grow sugarcane, sweet corn, green beans, radishes, cabbage, field corn, rice, cattle, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and assorted winter produce. The Hundley Farms team now includes their son, John Scott Hundley, their daughter and son-in-law, Krista and Eric Hopkins, and grandson Cooper Hopkins.
A longtime member of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative, Hundley has been on its board of directors for 34 years and served as its chairman of the board for seven years. He has served on the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District and has been active in numerous other groups.
About John Stitt
Stitt realized early in his career that the agricultural ecosystem in Southwest Florida was vastly different from that in Central Florida and the region around Lake Okeechobee. He saw a great need for research in beef cattle pastures, citrus, and sandland sugarcane production and, through his vision, led to the development of the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee. Today, the center provides cutting-edge research for citrus, vegetables, water quality, soil science, and weed science.
In addition to serving on numerous advisory committees to the Immokalee center, Stitt has been extensively involved in industry organizations, including the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and Florida Farm Bureau. Stitt led the charge to establish the South Florida Agricultural Council, and with the cooperation of the legislative delegation, the council secured $2.39 million in funding for construction. In 1988, the Board of Regents, the UF/IFAS leadership, and the council developed a five-year plan to complete the staff funding. The result was the opening of a fully-funded research center staffed with a director and 12 researchers. Stitt and his wife Sandy still reside on Stitt Ranch, just outside of Clewiston, Florida.
The induction ceremony will be held at the Florida State Fair’s Agricultural Hall of Fame Banquet in Tampa this evening.