From raising chickens for a 4-H project to representing Florida tomato growers, Reggie Brown has been dedicated to Florida’s agricultural industry.
Brown, the former executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange and manager of the Florida Tomato Committee, recently was named the 2018 Friend of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science.
“I was surprised and quite shocked,” Brown said, according to a news release. “I was very honored to be included. It’s one of the most significant honors I’ve received.
“I have great respect for what UF/IFAS does,” he said in the release. “I have many close friends who have worked within that system and around that system. Having been singled out was a significant honor to me, personally.”
Brown grew up on a farm in Orange Heights, Fla., and was active in 4-H and helping sell fruits and vegetables from the farm.
After earning agricultural degrees at the university, Brown’s career began as a horticulture teacher in North Carolina. He returned to Florida as a UF/IFAS multi-county Extension agent and was a vegetable crops agent and director of the Collier County, Fla., Extension office.
In 1989, he joined the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, working on marketing and membership, according to the release. Ten years later, he accepted the position at the tomato groups.
During that time, he worked on the Tomato Suspension Agreement and the Dispute Resolution Corp.
Brown retired earlier this year. He has received numerous accolades from the university and industry associations, including the United Fresh Produce Association, for a food safety recognition.