Agricultural Hall of Fame inducts Dudas
Note: This Flashback is in honor of a new generation of Dudas being inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame this month. Read more here.
More than 600 persons, breaking all-time attendance records, turned out to see Andy, John and Ferdinand Duda, Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Conner, and Hux Coulter inducted into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame recently.
The crowd, including many FFVA officers, directors, members and their families watched as the Duda brothers became the first representatives of Florida’s vegetable industry to achieve such an honor.
The Duda brothers were all born in Slovakia – John in 1904, Andrew in 1906 and Ferdinand in 1909. Starting with a 10-acre farm established by their father at Slavia near Orlando in 1912, the sons formed the partnership of A. Duda & Sons in 1926. The company was a charter member of FFVA when the association was organized in 1943.
Beginning with a bountiful celery harvest that first year, the brothers have expanded their operation to include vegetables, sugar cane, citrus, sod, ornamental foliage and cattle.
Most important, according to one sponsor, are their progressive, dynamic and efficient operation, pioneering spirit, innovative ideas and concern for the agricultural community and their fellow man.
John has been responsible for development and maintenance of prototype farming and packinghouse machinery. Although many of his machines and ideas are patented, they have been freely copied by Florida farmers and others throughout the United States.
Andrew was the outside person who served the fledgling fruit and vegetable operation as it began to prosper in the ‘30s and ‘40s. He has been a strong supporter of quality standards and professional marketing of Florida’s agricultural products.
Ferdinand headed the farming arm of the company. He has been an industry leader in cooperative work on new plant varieties, farming techniques and improved pay and working conditions for farm workers.
The Dudas have been recognized for being a sound company that has brought credit to Florida’s agricultural community. They have established labor housing facilities and set up benefit programs for seasonal workers. In addition to being charter members of FFVA, the Dudas have been staunch supporters of agriculture field stations, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, and of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
In April 1983, the brothers received honorary degrees of Doctor of Agricultural Sciences from the University of Central Florida, just one of many honors they have been accorded over the years.