Marion County Agricultural Hall of Fame
Since its inception in 2003, the Marion County Agricultural Hall of Fame has been recognizing individuals who have made tremendous achievements and contributions to the furtherance of agriculture in our community. Inductees are commemorated with a bronze plaque displaying their photo and short bio. The plaques are placed on permanent exhibit in the of the foyer of the Extension Service auditorium.
Lugusta "Gus" Gray
The 1991 book written about Lugusta “Gus” Gray’s life, They Call Me Gus, details Gray’s gifted storytelling of more than 50 years in which he recounts his life spent with world-class thoroughbreds at Fred W. Hooper’s farm and Donald Dizney’s Double Diamond Farm. Some of the most legendary racehorses and stallions were handled by Gray including Hall of Fame racehorse, the Florida-bred Susan’s Girl, and Florida stallions Precisionist and Tri-jet. Gray was the first person from Florida to win a Godolphin Award, a national thoroughbred industry employee award for lifelong dedication to the breeding of thoroughbreds. He is the only person to have been awarded all Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club honors as a breeder, a trainer and for community service. He is the first black American to produce a day’s sales topper at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company in the 1980s. “This has to be one of the highest honors that I could achieve. A lot of people don't make it into any kind of Hall of Fame and for me just being a nominee is a great privilege and a blessing from God. I thank God every day for letting me live and be successful in my life because I know where I came from. People tell me to retire, but I tell them, ‘What’s there to hang up?’ You don’t hang up life and what you enjoy doing,” said Gray. “I still have one more goal left in me, to win the Kentucky Derby,” he added.
Jerry Arthur was raised on a chicken farm and was in 4-H in his youth. For more than 40 years he has worked in the spreader and agriculture products business fertilizing, adding nutrients and providing pest control. He now delivers molasses and runs a small cow-calf operation. He served on the Southeastern Livestock Fair board for many years and in his youth he even showed there and was part of local, state and national judging teams. He has been a friend of agriculture, a valued resource and leader to many in the ag. industry in the county. He founded the North Marion Alumni and Friends of the SEYF, serves on the North Marion FFA Alumni board as co-treasurer, and spent countless hours raising money for youth programs. He is a member of the Marion County Farm Bureau and Marion County Cattlemen’s Association along with their state organization counterparts. He has dedicated his life to making the industry better.
Russell "Russ" Floyd Randall
Originally from Georgia and a vocational agriculture teacher at Dunnellon High School, Headmaster at Dunnellon Christian Academy and Pastor, Russ influenced the lives of many young people in Marion County. An active volunteer for the Southeastern Youth Fair, Russ served as president 2016 - 2018 and put his vocal skills to use as fair announcer for many years. He served several terms on the Marion County Farm Bureau board including president 2009 - 2011.
Willet (Bud) Albright Robert Boyer
A citrus producer in the Weirsdale area, Bud has a family history in Marion County agriculture extending over two centuries. While Bud's primary work was as a citrus grower and packer, he also worked in pine, sod and cut flower production.
Bud served 13 years on the Board of Florida Citrus Mutual. Involved with Boy Scout Troop #113 in Weirsdale for 65 years and an eagle scout himself, Bud has, as Scoutmaster, mentored 55 boys and earned the Eagle Award.
James (Jim) H. Williams
A lifelong resident of Marion County, Williams participated in FFA and the Southeastern Fat Stock Show and was a citrus and cattle producer. As a state senator he worked to create a horse research facility at the University of Florida and helped get it located in Marion County.
Appointed U.S. Deputy Secretary during the Carter administration, Williams worked to benefit all of agriculture. Upon his return to Florida he served eight years on the St. Johns River Water Management board, using his vast knowledge of our water resources for the benefit of all.
Franklin "Frank" Walter Smith
Smith is a third-generation watermelon producer who farmed 4,800 acres, and owned and managed cattle herds exceeding 1,200 heads in Central Florida.
Smith served as president for the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association and director for the Florida Cattlemen’s Association. The seasoned Ocala Bull Sale grader also supported the Southeastern Youth Fair for 50 years.
Adolph "Al" Kunz
Kunz operated a timber and cattle operation in Fort McCoy. He worked in the citrus industry at Libby, McNeil & Libby, Ocala, 1955-1972. Kunz then served the Florida Farm Bureau marketing Program from 1972-1996 as the Citrus Fruit Coordinator.
He was active in 4-H as a youth, provided educational programs with the Southeastern Youth Fair and served as director for the Marion County Farm Bureau.
Harry T. Mangurian Jr.
Mangurian owned Mockingbird Farm in Ocala and played a critical role in the local thoroughbred industry over his 3-plus-year career. A recipient of the Eclipse Award for lifetime achievement in 2001, he set world records for the number of stakes’ winners bred.
Mangurian served on the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owner's Association Board that decided to purchase The Florida Horse Magazine.
Following service in the US Navy, Jumper received a Masters in Agriculture from the University of Florida. He worked in the citrus, peach, timber and sod industries in Marion County.
His resume depicts a lifetime of leadership for agriculture having served as President of Florida Foundation Seed Producers and Florida Peach Growers Association; Director, State Farm Bureau, Florida Sod Growers and Florida Citrus Commission. Jumper was a gubernatorial appointment to the St. John River Water Management Board.
D.A. Lewis, Jr.
A cattle and peanut producer, Lewis continued the passion for farming he received from his father. A native of Marion County, Lewis participated in 4-H and FFA and earned a degree in Agriculture at The University of Florida.
Lewis served on the Marion County Farm Bureau Board, The National Peanut Council and supported youth education through the Southeastern Youth Fair.
Known as one of the most honored and respected figures in Florida’s history, Mayo served as the state’s commissioner of agriculture for 37 years.
He is best remembered for establishing Florida’s citrus commission, eradicating the tick population, improving Brahma cattle, the promotion of Florida as a tourist state, and as the founder of farmers’ markets.
Owner of the historic Ocala Stud Farm, O’Farrell has 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 locally as a leading consignor of two-year-old sales, and as a leading contributor to Marion County’s reign as “Horse Capital of the World."
Grant was a successful cattle and dry peanut producer, farming as much as 1,000 acres at one time. Her industry service involved in numerous agricultural and civic organizations at both the local and State level.
She has devoted much time to help youth in ag-related programs and in 1996, Grant was elected the first woman president of the Marion County Farm Bureau.
Richardson is known for having one of the top producing cow/calf production operations in the nation.
He has been involved in numerous agricultural organizations at all levels of government, including serving on both the County and State Farm Bureaus, the Florida Beef Cattle and Improvement Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and CattleFax.
Founder of GreenBriar Nurseries, Reese has dedicated over 30 years to the horticulture industry at local, state and national levels.
He was instrumental in bring the Ocala Pride and Bloom program to the city and has served in a number of leadership positions including as President of the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association.
Recognized for his work with the local cattle and timber industry and for his leadership roles in agriculture, civic and youth organizations, including the State and local farm bureau, the state and local cattlemen’s association, the Florida Forestry Association, and the Southeastern Youth Fair in producing “blue ribbon youngsters."
Recognized for his lifetime commitment to the promotion, improvement and protection of the cattle industry in Marion County, Strickland has served on the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, as chairman of the Ocala bull Sales, president of the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association, and tirelessly supports the Southeastern Youth Fair.
Recognized for the breed-improvement and promotion of the American Quarter Horse, Harris is most noted for her work with her horse, Rugged Lark - A two-time Superhorse winner and the first Superhorse in history to produce a Superhorse.
Lark performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics and was best known nationally for his bridleless performances.
A pioneer of the Florida thoroughbred industry, Heubeck managed the 1st thoroughbred operation in the area and developed his own farm, Quail Roost, into a highly successful thoroughbred and angus operation.
He developed horse training patterns and schedules, and was a member of numerous Florida thoroughbred organizations.
Founder and owner of Ocala Stud Farm, O'Farrell organized the first Two-Year-Olds in Training Sales in Hialeah.
He was a National leading commercial breeder, promoter of the Florida Thoroughbred industry and was responsible for bringing the legendary sire, Rough’N Tumble, to Marion County.
Jo Ann Smith
Smith served as founding chair of the cattlemen's beef promotion and research board, and was instrumental in the adoption of the Beef Check Off 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.
James M. "Jimmie" Glisson
For over 40 years, Glisson has promoted agriculture in Marion County through his involvement in ag-related industries. He helped improve cattle breeding, serving 15+ years with the Ocala Bull Sale and Southeastern Livestock Association and is a strong supporter of youth-in-agriculture programs. In 1982, the Southeastern Youth Fair was dedicated in his honor.
A farmer for over 40 years, Grant was one of the largest dry peanut producers in the area. His industry service included involvement in the State and County Farm Bureau, IFAS research, Florida Peanut Council and many others. He was one of the founders of the Southeastern Youth Fair; and in 1999, the fair was dedicated in his honor.
Edsel W. Rowan
For over 30 years, Rowan worked with the UF/IFAS Extension Service, dedicating much of his life to serving the public. He was director of both the Florida and Marion County Cattlemen's Association. He served as secretary to the Ocala Bull Sales for over 20 years. In 1982, the Marion County Agricultural Center complex was renamed in his honor.
Charles Seiler, Jr.
A third generation farmer from Ocala, Seiler is most noted for promotion the green peanut industry in Marion County and was bestowed the Florida Peanut Producer Associations High Yield award. He was a member of both the Farm Service Agent committee and the Marion County Farm Bureau.
Dr. William R. Brawner
A veterinarian in Marion County for over 50 years, Brawner was a pioneer in equine reproduction. He was awarded Lifetime Membership to the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club in 1990 and was inducted into the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners associations Hall of Fame in 2004.
Jackson C. Dudley
A horse farm owner in Marion County, Dudley helped bring attention to the thoroughbred industry in Marion County through his part ownership of Needles, Florida's first Kentucky Derby winner in 1956. He was a long-time member of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association.
Ned H. Folks
A third generation cattlemen and vegetable grower from Dunnellon, Folks served 12 years as a Marion County Commissioner. He served as president of the Marion County Cattlemen's Association, and was a long-time member of both the Florida Farm Bureau and Florida Agricultural Stabilization & Conservation Board.
O.D. "Buddy" Huff
A produce broker and citrus producer from McIntosh, Huff was a leader in opening new markets, engaging in innovative advertising/promotional programs. He is noted for his unmatched service to the citrus industry. He served on the Florida Citrus commission and was inducted into the 1981 Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.
Carl G. Rose
Owner of Rosemere Farm, Rose is one of the early pioneers in the thoroughbred industry in Marion County. Throughout his life, Rose promoted agriculture through improving pasture grasses, promotion of purebred cattle, organizing the Southeastern Livestock Show and Sale, and working with FFA and 4-H clubs.
A nationally noted cattlemen and owner of Baldwin Angus Ranch, Baldwin received many honors in agriculture. An innovator, he developed drought resistant clover, new methods for silage storage and improvements to Angus breeding. He served as 2002 American Angus Association President, 1993 Lancaster/Sunbelt Farmer of the year, and was inducted into the 1995 Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame.
T. Richard Barber, Jr.
A native of Marion County, University of Florida graduate Barber worked in agriculture growing peanuts and watermelon and raising cattle. His industry service included involvement in Farm Bureau, IFAS Share Council, National Peanut Council and many others. Barbra was selected in 1995 as Lancaster/Sunbelt Farmer of the year.
Bonnie M. Heath
A pioneer of Florida’s Thoroughbred industry, Heath is noted as the co-breeder/owner to Needles, Florida's first Kentucky Derby winner in 1956. Owner of Bonnie Heath Farm, Heath served as the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' & Owners' Association and worked tirelessly to promote the industry. He was also a strong supporter of the United Way of Marion County.
Douglas H. Oswald
Founder and chairman of the Ocala Bull Sale, University of Florida graduate Oswald was the first full-time agricultural banker in Florida. Much of his career centered on helping potential horse farm developers select quality soil on which to raise their horses. Oswald served on the State Association of Soil Conservation District Supervisors and was Mayor of Ocala in 1976.
University of Florida graduate Renner served as Marion County 4-H Agent from 1973-2003. He influenced many 4-H youth by teaching them skills that benefited them throughout their lives. Renner coached the Forestry Judging Teams to state championships 29 straight years and provided leadership in the National Junior Horticulture Association The 2004 Southeastern Youth Fair was dedicated in his honor.
David Baillie, Jr.
Baillie came to Marion County in 1943, when he was appointed assistant county agricultural agent. Following his appointment as Marion County sheriff during the 1950’s, Baillie operated a plant nursery. A substantial contributor to the Southeastern Youth Fair, the 1973 Youth Fair was dedicated in his honor.
Roche began his career in Marion County in 1936 as a teacher of vocational agriculture. During his 27-year tenure, the FFA Chapter under his direction won every state award possible. Appointed director of vocational education in 1963, Roche served in the capacity until 1987. In 1991, the Southeastern Youth Fair was dedicated in his honor.