Annual Meetin I
It's a little like spring fever the anti-
cipation preceding the annual meeting of
stockholders. Plans are developing al-
most daily for this year's meeting which
is scheduled for Thursday, MARCH 16th,
beginning with dinner at 6:30 P.M. at the Tupper-
ware Auditorium, south of Orlando.
Of particular interest is the announcement that the
principal speaker of the evening
will be Mr. Doyle Conner, Com-
missioner of Agriculture, State of
Florida. His address will be
keyed to the citrus growers who
make up Florida Citrus P CA and
their guests. The stockholders'
annual review of business, the
election of directors, and other matters for general
consideration will take place immediately following
the buffet dinner.
Since the services and membership of Florida Citrus
Production Credit Association cover a major portion
of the State, the later hour for the meeting will en-
able guests, grower-members and their families to
come to Orlando after the close of their business
day. Special entertainment is planned for the young
members of our PCA family, and a variety of door
prizes at the close of the meeting add the element
of suspense for the adults. Remember, March 16!
SHOWCASE Contest Draws Students
Citrus-related activities focus under the big orange
dome which is the hub of the Florida Citrus Showcase
during the week of February 18- 25. Not the least of
these in interest is the Citrus Identification Contest
for Future Farmer Chapters represented by a team of
three members. Handsome prizes of $75, $50, and
$30 and winners' rosettes for the first three winners,
plus cash awards of $15, $10, and $5 down through
tenth place, spice the already keen competition be-
tween F.F.A. chapters.
The contest is divided into 3 classifications dealing
with identification of citrus rootstocks, leaves, and
fruit varieties; insects and scales; and diseases and
nutritional disorders. Concentration is the order of
the hour as microscopes come out of pockets and diffi-
cult choices are made. By admission of Warren Har-
rell, Area Supervisor of Agricultural Education, who
is in charge of setting up the contest, it is not for
(Continued on back page, Youth column)
Your Neighbor I
The telephone Jangled persistently in the home of
Mrs. Mabel Miller in the still, chill early morning
hours. When she answered, the voice of her grove
caretaker informed her, "It looks like we're in for a
free ze, Mrs. Miller. We ought to get the heaters
going in your grove. "
As she recalls the events of that bitter night, Mrs.
Miller remarks that the helpfulness given in that in-
stance was "above and beyond the call of duty" for
ordinary caretakers but typical, she adds, of the kind
of personal interest shown by "Sonny Griffin", owner-
manager of Griffin's Caretaking Service. Mrs. Miller
was the first customer of this caretaking operation,
and she is not alone in her praise of the service; an
increasing number of so-called small citrus growers
are placing the entire care of their groves into the
capable hands of Eugene F. Griffin, Jr.
Top Photo: Howard Frost (left) puts his magic
on a piece of machinery as Bill Chesshire
and Sonny Griffin watch.
Lower Photo: Sonny Griffin confers with crew
foreman Bill Chesshire in front of sprayer.
Individual attention and interest is a precept on which
Mr. Griffin has built his young service corporation,
from the very small beginnings in 1960 when he did
the caretaking on 40 acres of grove for himself and
members of his family almost as an accommodation,
to the point today where he services approximately
1,200 acres of citrus property. Two-thirds of this is
under his complete contract care and management; in
connection with approximately 400 acres, Mr. Griffin
works in cooperation with citrus consultants who ad-
vise and direct the time and types of service to be
done by Griffin's Caretaking Service.
Eugene F. Griffin, Jr., known in his locale as "Sonny",
approaches his caretaking operation in a somewhat
unique manner as viewed by both customer and em-
ployee. Not only is individual attention and interest
a part of his contract with citrus growers, but also
standard of excellence which he strives to instill in
his workers. "I try to give those groves under our care
everything that I would do for my own. I don't con-
sider that the best care of a grove necessarily means
'dressing it up' all the way, unless a grower insists
upon this, but I do consider that whatever cultural
practices are done in a grove must be done thoroughly
and right. "
Sonny accomplishes this in various ways. He be-
lieves his key personnel must have a real interest in
the business, and he strives to allow each of these
people to feel his individual responsibility. For his
shop foreman, smiling Howard Frost, Sonny has words
of praise that he can reconstruct or build up any stan-
dard or specialized piece of equipment that is needed.
To his crew foreman, Bill Chesshire, Sonny gives the
credit for good supervision of temporary workers and
attention to details that make for a complete and
quality job in the groves. To Willie, a Negro employee
who has worked for Griffin's Caretaking Service al-
most from its beginnings, Sonny has assigned respon-
sibility for the spray equipment. Willie accepts this
seriously and proudly, having moved up through two
older pieces of equipment to the Speed Sprayer pre-
sently being used, which he keeps polished to its full
from PAGE THREE
(Production Manager, cont'd)
These three men, plus Sonny and his wife Joyce who
handles the bookkeeping detail, make up the nucleous
of an organization which at peak times employs fifteen
regular workers and additional temporary help; during
slack seasons they keep the operation moving by their
own efforts. Griffin's Caretaking Service has under its
roof all the equipment and personnel required to handle
every phase of citrus care and production. Mr. Griffin
has his operation geared to one good regular worker
for every 100 acres of grove under his care, and he
works unceasingly with these people for quality per-
To every member of his organization as well as to his
grower-customers, Sonny makes himself readily avail-
able through his carradio. With this he candirect a
repair crew to a grove location for servicing broken-
down equipment that would otherwise necessitate the
loss of many man hours; he can inform his crew fore-
man of a situation he notices in one of the groves
that needs attention or correction; he can receive of
send messages to customers during normal business
Sonny Griffin is a firm advocate of grove hedging and
topping. When these somewhat drastic pruning prac-
tices were first coming under close observation, Mr.
Griffin bought machines designed to hedge and top
and was the earliest and sole owner of such equipment
in the locality. Far from being "Griffin's folly", the
huge, circular razor-bladed machines were in steady
demand following the freeze of 1962-63, and Sonny
anticipates a continued call for these services up to
the limit which the organization can handle. He works
with other caretakers on the use of this equipment as
well as contracting with individual growers for this
specific service. Mr. Griffin cites several reasons
for his recommendation of these pruning practices.
Reducing the size of trees makes for easier, earlier
picking of the fruit and for better quality fruit. Equip-
ment for spraying and picking can move through a
hedged grove with more ease and effect.
The hedging and topping machinery is of special in-
terest to students at Florida Southern College. Annu-
ally a citrus class comes out to Griffin's Caretaking
Service for a Field Day to observe the operation of
this and other equipment. This is not the only acti-
vity which Sonny shares with young people. He is
chairman of the Agriculture & Conservation Committee
of the Bartow Kiwanis Club, and he is regularly seen
marshalling a group of youngsters on Fair Days.
Polk County has always been home to Sonny Griffin,
having been born and raised there. He studiedat the
Universtiy of Florida as a special student, and his
agricultural interests have been in citrus and cattle.
Mr. and Mrs. Griffin live at Eagle Lake and have two
Sonny Griffin might spell "good caretaker" as "pro-
ductionmanager." He believes he is offering a needed
service, particularly to small grove owners who de-
pend to a greater degree on their caretaker for advice
and assistance. Mrs. Miller and other enthusiastic
customers of Griffin's Caretaking Service are evi-
dence of how ably he is meeting this need, a,
t Above: Under the shadow of the cutting
blades, Willie adjusts a bolt.
The 'straight and narrow' path
to increased production
(This story starts on the front page)
novices, and after the contest closed, many of the
boys voluntarily returned with their score cards to
check their decisions.
This is the fourth year for this Citrus Identification
Contest. Mr. Richard Kelly, State F.F.A. Secretary,
reports that participation and interest has increased
annually with 27 chapters entering this year. It is
sponsored by the Citrus Showcase in cooperation with
the Florida Association of Future Farmers, the Voca-
tional Education Department of the State Board of Edu-
cation and the Citrus Experiment Station, Lake Alfred.
First place winner of the Citrus Identification Con-
test, 1967, was the team representing the Dade City
F. F. A. chapter. Mr. Floyd Philmon is the Chapter
Advisor, shown at left above, with team members
Mitchell Herring, John Adams, and Danny Gardner.
Second place was taken by the Haines City Chapter
and the Avon Park F.F.A. team earned third.
,Bits & Pieces
* *OF THE AIR-WAVES (and TV, too)
Tune your TV set to Channel 9, Orlando (WFTV)
on Sunday, March 12th, at 12:30 P.M. for the
Agri-World program. General Manager Tom Camp-
bell will be interviewed--with a message for YOU.
Mr. Junius Bolin, our Orlando branch office mana-
ger, also appeared on that program on February 19.
* * * * * *
The girls of Florida Citrus PCA will be off to school
on March 6 through 8 to join the clerks and typists
of other Florida production credit associations at
a conference in Jacksonville.... Without malice,
we hope you will "swamp" the offices with all kinds
of business so our men won't find out how well
they can do without us.
* * * * * *
If citrus would only behave like other
deciduous fruits, agricultural engineers
would have one of their major problems
formechanical citrus harvesting solved.
Some effective chemical for loosening
the bonding force between stem and fruit Cn citrus is
needed before the various mechanical harvesters can
become practical and effective. The two most pro-
mising types of machines a mechanical tree shaker
and an air-blast machine have been modified and
improved, and harvest trials at the Citrus Experiment
Station at Lake Alfred are encouraging. But damage
to the fruit still remains a serious problem. Valen-
cias also pose a special problem with the following
season's crop already set on the trees before the cur-
rent crop is harvested .................. ......
Identified with other major citrus firms during
the Florida Citrus Showcase in Winter Haven
was Florida Citrus Production Credit Association.
The miniature model citrus grove scene depicting vari-
ous items eligible for loans from Florida Citrus PCA
was housed in the shadow of the bright orange chan-
delier in the main building of the Showcase. Earl
Tomlinson, our branch manager at Winter Haven, was
pleased to participate in this major assemblage of
citrus displays. Hope you saw us when you went by!
Newsletter to the Members and Friends of the
Florida Citrus Production Credit Association
Post Office Drawer 2111
Orlando, Florida 32802
General Manager ................ ............... A.T. Campbell, Jr.
Newsletter Editor........................................ Ellen Haynie