Dr. Paul L. Harding (1898-1989)
Harding joined the United States Department of Agriculture, eventually becoming one of their leading scientists and was soon assigned to Orlando, FL to investigate seasonal changes in citrus fruit. In 1965, he became lead scientist for Southeastern Citrus and Vegetable Investigations in the Market Quality Division. His work helped to improve the delievered quality of citrus. Known as the father of Florida citrus maturity standards. He received numerous awards and was research advisor to Florida Citrus Commission and Florida Citrus Mutual.
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Southeastern Citrus and Vegetable Investigations
- Florida Citrus Maturity Standards
- Florida Horticulture Society
- American Soceity of Horticulture Sciences
- American Institute of Biological Sciences
- Florida Citrus Commission
- Florida Citrus Mutual
Paul Harding was born in Provo, Utah on May 7, 1898. After earning degrees from Brigham Young University, Utah State, and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Iowa State College in 1930, Harding joined the United States Department of Agriculture, eventually becoming one of the department’s leading scientists. In 1935 he was assigned to Orlando, Florida to investigate seasonal changes in citrus fruits. In 1965 Harding became the lead scientist for Southeastern Citrus and Vegetable Investigations in the Market Quality Division in the Agriculture Research Service.
In his 33 year professional career, Harding published roughly 140 papers on varied subjects important to the industry such as arrival conditions, nutritional value of citrus, quality, and storage. His work helped to upgrade the delivered quality of domestic and exported citrus. Harding is known as the father of Florida citrus maturity standards due to his numerous publications on the subject. Much of his work is still the industry standard today.
Harding was a member of the Florida Horticulture Society, the American Society of Horticulture Sciences, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He received the USDA Certificate of Merit in 1956, the Certificate of Merit and Superior Service Awards from the USDA in 1957, and the Annual Research award from Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. He was Chairman of the Florida Committee of the Hoblitzelle National Award in 1959 and was also Chairman of the Charles G. Woodbury Award in Raw Products Research in 1959. Harding also served as research advisor to the Florida Citrus Commission (1948 to 1968) and to Florida Citrus Mutual (1950-1960).
Credited with helping to modernize the citrus industry through his research, Harding retired from the Florida Citrus Commission in 1968 and he died in 1989, but his legacy lives on through his research and many other contributions that are still used by growers and packers.