Three men inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame

Vic Story, Jr., Bill Castle and Jack Norris make it easy to understand why we love Florida citrus

WHEN YOU POUR that glass of orange juice, do you ever wonder about the grove that it came from or the farmer that grew it? In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the toils of others, especially of our farmers and the challenges they overcome to grow the food we enjoy. There are certain organizations, however, that seek to honor these members of our society for that very reason — so we can remember why we take pleasure in that glass of Florida orange juice with such ease.

On March 11, during the 54th Citrus Celebration Luncheon at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Victor B. “Vic” Story, Jr., John C. “Jack” Norris, and Dr. William S. “Bill” Castle were inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. In the words of John Jackson, the organization’s president, “The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame is committed to recognizing those individuals that have made significant contributions to the Florida citrus industry. Dr. Bill Castle, Jack Norris, and Vic Story certainly meet the criteria. These gentlemen have had — and continue to have — a tremendous impact on the industry. We are pleased to induct these three gentlemen, who reflect the remarkable leadership that has made citrus a dynamic force in Florida for more than 100 years.”

Dr. Bill Castle’s work has shaped the entire Florida citrus industry. His research has helped to improve citrus scion and rootstock development, orchard design and management of high density planting, citrus propagation and pre-plant expert systems, wind break design and establishment, along with pomegranate cultivars and plantings. He is a true leader in the citrus industry. “Dr. Castle’s research with varieties and root stocks has been instrumental for growers determining what plants to use today,” says Jackson.

Jack Norris is also well deserving of this honor for his countless hours of service to industry, educational, and civic organizations while working in top management positions at major corporations, such as Coca-Cola Foods and Turner Foods Corporation. His service in volunteer leadership roles with organizations like the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Florida Citrus Mutual, University of Florida Advisory Boards, and the Florida Citrus Production Managers Association strongly demonstrate his belief that industry organizations needed to work together to educate government leaders about the role Florida growers have in providing so much of the nation’s food supply. “Jack Norris has left his mark on the industry through the numerous current leaders that were mentored by him,” observes Jackson.

Vic Story, Jr., is well known for his hard work, multi-generational business, and his world-class production techniques. He serves as president of the Story Companies, a wellrespected grove management and fruit marketing operation based in Lake Wales. The Story Companies now owns and manages more than 7,000 acres of citrus with 30 full-time employees. Story is a leader in cutting edge production methods, from being one of the first to spray for psyllids with the onset of HLB (commonly known as citrus greening), to being one of the first to transition from overhead irrigation to micro jet technologies. He also helped to create the Sun Lion citrus label, which is currently sold at Whole Foods and other grocery stores, to provide a high quality Florida-based fresh product to consumers. “Vic Story continues to provide leadership through the many organizations with which he is involved and is a leading spokesperson for the industry at all levels of government,” Jackson points out.

These men are indeed worthy of the honor that comes with being in the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Their commitment to and achievements for the betterment of the industry makes it easy to agree with Jackson when he imparts this advice of the commodity that these inductees have devoted their lives to producing: “Enjoy Florida citrus every day.”


article by GRACE BOGGESS

Posted March 14, 2016

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