A. Vernon Saurman (1901-1985)
Pinellas Citrus Growers Association
Florida Citrus Exchange
Florida Citrus Mutual
Soil Science Foundation
A. Vernon Saurman was an engineer who did not enter the citrus industry until his late 20s. In 1930, as the economy worsened, he and his father saw the opportunity to enter the citrus industry cheaply. They did so, and not only survived the economic difficulties of the time, but actually flourished. Part of his success was due to his establishment of the Pinellas Citrus Growers Association, which eventually led him to become director of the Florida Citrus Exchange.
Under his guidance the Florida Citrus Exchange helped establish modern packinghouses, uniform standards for packing and grading, and successful marketing programs. Better grading methods resulted in increased revenue for the industry. A promotional campaign was created during Saurman’s leadership, emphasizing to consumers the health benefits of citrus. All of these measures helped the Florida citrus industry increase its overall profits during this time period. Saurman also became Florida Citrus Mutual’s executive vice president and general manager. His work there established minimum prices for citrus and helped to further organize the industry.
Saurman was also involved with the Soil Science Foundation. The Foundation provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, wise land use, soil contamination and ground water quality. Saurman remained active in the industry and the Foundation in his later years.