Courtesy University of FloridaPatrecia and Alto Straughn stand next to a photo of a blueberry medallion that adorns the front of the new Straughn Extension Professional Development Center on the University of Florida campus, at the building's dedication Jan. 12. The University of Florida recognized a pioneering Florida blueberry grower-shipper by formally dedicating a campus building after him.
On Jan. 12, the Gainesville-based University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences dedicated the Straughn Extension Professional Development Center to Alto Straughn, owner and manager of Straughn Farms LLC, Waldo, Fla.
About 200 people attended the ceremony which honors Straughn, who’s considered one of the state’s most progressive growers.
At the festivities, University of Florida president Bernie Machen commended Straughn for working closely with IFAS researchers to position Florida as a national blueberry production leader.
“A thriving blueberry crop is new to the Sunshine State,” Machen said at the ceremony. “But the mutually beneficial relationship between IFAS extension agents and Florida growers, ranchers and farmers is long and enduring.”
Known for trying to help extension agents better serve the state’s growers, Straughn is a former county extension agent. He said he and his wife, Patricia Straughn, financially contributed to the construction of the $4 million, 19,760-square-foot building because scholarships helped his Florida university education.
The university plans to use the facility for professional training for university extension professionals, according to a news release.