Norman Todd

/Norman Todd

Norman Todd (1932)

Inducted 2008

Highlights

Todd attended Avon Park High School and graduated in 1950 and received a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Florida and attended the Citrus Training school in Lake Alfred. Later, he trained and worked under Ben Hill Griffin Jr. In 1969, he left BHG, Inc. to take a job with Hobe Grove Associates as production manager for 4,000 acres of citrus. Latt Maxcy Corporation hired him in 1973 to handle 3,500 acres of groves scattered over seven counties in central Florida. In 1990, he left the Latt Maxcy Corporation for the Bob Paul, Inc. company in Southwest Florida, as new plantings were taking place in that area.

Ben Hill Griffin, Inc.

Hobe Grove Associates

Latt Maxcy Corporation

Bob Paul Inc.

Citrus Marketing Order

Citrus Box Tax

Grove Crafters

Polk County Extension Citrus Advisory Committee

UF/IFAS Statewide Citrus Extension Committee

Florida Department of Citrus Research Advisory Council

Southwest Florida Citrus EXPO

Bio

The son of citrus growers E.G. Todd and Winifred Reck, Norman Todd was born on August 31, 1932 in Avon Park, Fla. where his father settled when he came from Maryland in 1920. Norman was the youngest of four sons and grew up on the family farm of about 250 acres of citrus. Norman was brought up in the citrus industry. his father was the first secretary of the Florida Farm Bureau and President of the Avon Park Citrus Growers Exchange. He attended Avon Park High School and graduated in 1950 as President of his class. Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Norman went on to attend the University of Florida, majoring in horticulture. He received his B.S. degree in Agriculture in 1954. He served two years in the U.S. Army in the Transportation Corps, which took him to Alaska to organize the amphibious landing of radar equipment for the construction of the Dew line, designed to keep the Russians from infiltrating through Alaska. In his travels, he met his wife, Helen, a stewardess with Northwest Airlines. They moved to Winter Haven, where she started as a charter employee of Gessler Clinic. Dr. Gessler delivered their first child, David in 1958, and Patricia followed in 1960 right on the heels of Hurricane Donna.

He was discharged from the Army as a First Lieutenant and attended the Citrus Training school in Lake Alfred under the GI Bill. Coincidentally, Todd started school the same day as another Hall of Fame member, Dr. Reitz; a few years later, the first person Todd worked with was Hall of Fame member, Dr. Koo. Upon completing his training in 1958, Todd’s first job was with Sottile, Inc. where he stayed until 1960, when it was bought out by Ben Hill Griffin, Inc. Under the strict tutelage of Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., Todd served as area superintendent of 5,000 acres of citrus. He would remain there for nine years. Todd believed it was the best job he could have had early in his career, because of the exceptional training he received directly from Ben Hill.

In 1969, he left BHG, Inc. to take a job with Hobe Grove Associates as production manager for 4,000 acres of citrus. He had a knack for putting a good team together to get things done properly, allowing him to concentrate on the few problem areas that cropped up unexpectedly. This brought him to the attention of the Latt Maxcy Corporation, who hired him in 1973 to handle 3,500 acres of groves scattered over seven counties in central Florida. Pat Wilson let him manage as he saw fit, and also allowed him the time to volunteer on various organizations. He worked for 17 years there before deciding he needed a change. In 1990, he left the Latt Maxcy Corporation for the Bob Paul, Inc. company in Southwest Florida, as new plantings were taking place in that area. By that time, he had worked in 26 different counties around the state.

Throughout his tenure at all of these companies, Todd was involved in numerous industry committees regarding IFAS research and production programs. He became convinced that a Citrus Marketing Order was needed to fund research programs for the citrus industry. Research had always been done at the discretion of the researchers and as funds became available, rather than at the needs of the grower. Upon doing a study for the Florida Citrus Commission on the status of the various research stations, Todd discovered that the IFAS stations were underfunded in operational capital by 15% of their budgeted monies, with over 90% of their budget being used for salaries and facilities. In 1987, the Production Managers Committee was set up to promote the idea of putting a Citrus Marketing Order in place to obtain the necessary funding for research projects that would be designated by the growers themselves. During the next few years, Todd’s employers allowed him free reign to travel the state and speak to various citrus growers on behalf of putting the marketing order in place. In 1991, as President of the Florida Citrus Production Managers Association, Todd spearheaded a statewide referendum on the box tax. When the votes came in, over 80% of the voting growers had voted in favor of the new tax. Todd has been known as the “Godfather” of the Citrus Box Tax, ever since.

In 1998, Todd left the Bob Paul Inc. on his 66th birthday and started his own consulting company called Grove Crafters. As such, he has helped develop additional citrus acreage, testified as an expert witness, and worked with various citrus organizations on a variety of projects.

Since 1978, Todd involved himself in numerous industry organizations. In 1978, he was the Sectional VP for the Florida State Horticultural Society, and from 1980 to 1990 he was the Chairman and three-term member of the Polk County Extension Citrus Advisory Committee; in 1982, he was President of the University of Florida Fruit Crops Alumni Assn. and was the first chairman of the UF/IFAS Statewide Citrus Extension Committee, which recommended to IFAS what research projects were needed by the industry. From 1985 to 1989, he was a member and chairman of the FDOC Citrus Research Advisory Council, which made recommendations on the best way to spend the nearly $2 million research budget that was in place at that time. From 1991 to 1993, he was a member of the SW Florida Citrus Advisory Committee, chairing it in 1992. In 1997, he was elected treasurer of the Florida State Horticultural Society, and a year later, elected secretary of the SW Florida Research and Education Foundation. He also had time to serve on the Gulf Citrus Growers Association Production and Research Committee from 1991 to 1998, serving as chairman from 1993 to 1998, and in 1997 was elected chairman of the South Florida Agricultural Council. This group was responsible for getting the Southwest Florida IFAS Research and Education Center developed and funded. Todd is also a Charter Member of the Southwest Florida Citrus EXPO, which he has worked on since it began in 1992.

In his free time, Todd volunteers for his community. He has served as President of the Avon Park Jaycees, President of the Frostproof Band Boosters Association, Chairman of the City of Frostproof Citizens Advisory Committee for Housing and Community Rehabilitation, Secretary of the Frostproof Rotary Club, President of the LaBelle Rotary Club and director of the Greater LaBelle Chamber of Commerce. He also owns and manages his own family groves.

Todd has received many awards throughout his career, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the University of Florida, 1983 Industry Man of the Year by the University of Florida Citrus Club, 1988 Distinguished Service Award of Merit by the University of Florida Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta (the Honor Society of Agriculture), Citrus Achievement Award by Florida Grower Magazine, Outstanding Agriculturist by the Florida Association of County Ag Agents, and Outstanding Commercial Horticulturist Award by the Florida State Horticultural Society.