Hugh M. English (1936)
English graduated from Alva High School in 1954, and the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agricultural and Animal Science in 1958. In 1976, he was named General Manager of Duda’s citrus grove operations and, by July of 1991, he was responsible for Duda’s fresh fruit packinghouse and frozen concentrate plant as well. English’s desire to increase sales for Duda led to the 1987 formation of the nucleus of growers that became known as the Gulf Citrus Growers Association.
A. Duda & Sons, Inc.
Gulf Citrus Growers Association
Lateral Ditches for Irrigation
South Florida Water Management District’s Lower East Coast Water Supply Plan
Caloosahatchee Advisory Committee
South West Florida Ag Council
Lake Alfred Citrus Research and Education Center
Hugh M. English was born in Alva, Florida, in 1936. A fourth generation citrus grower, English grew up working in his family’s citrus groves with his older brother, Jim, and his two younger brothers, Ed and Joe. After he graduated from Alva High School in 1954, English attended the University of Florida, where he attained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agricultural and Animal Science in 1958. After spending two years in the U.S. Army, he took a job with the Florida Division of Plant Industry. In 1965 English began his career as a field supervisor with A. Duda & Sons, in Hendry County. By 1969 he was promoted to the position of Grove Manager in the company’s LaBelle, Florida operation. In 1976, Hugh was named General Manager of Duda’s citrus grove operations and, by July of 1991, he was responsible for Duda’s fresh fruit packinghouse and frozen concentrate plant as well. English retired from A. Duda & Sons, Inc. in 2001 as the corporate Vice President of Citrus Operations and was responsible for all citrus production, packing, and processing.
English’s desire to increase sales for Duda led to the 1987 formation of the nucleus of growers that became known as the Gulf Citrus Growers Association. As the founding President of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association, English was a major force in the development of that area as a primary citrus growing region. He spent many hours recruiting grower membership for the organization, as well as educating growers, buyers, and visitors about the benefits of the organization. The Gulf Citrus Growers Association’s membership eventually represented over 140,000 acres of citrus. English pioneered the production of citrus on flatwoods soils and used low volume production techniques for citrus irrigation which allowed him to limit the traditional use of large, lateral ditches for irrigation. This technique added that land to citrus plant production. Hugh’s efforts laid the groundwork for the future development and protection of the Southwest Florida citrus industry and South Florida water management programs; programs that increased the citrus industry’s involvement in Florida’s regulations for environmental protection.
English served as a member of the South Florida Water Management District’s Lower East Coast Water Supply Plan, the Caloosahatchee Advisory Committee, the Southwest Florida Ag Council, the Citrus Advisory Committee for Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center and the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida, the Florida State Horticultural Society, and the Hendry County Farm Bureau. As a member of the Southwest Florida Ag Council, Hugh English obtained the legislative support and funding to build and staff the IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center and his efforts to initiate research, in cooperation with the University of Florida’s IFAS and extension agents, resulted in the foundation of the technology currently used to grow citrus in that region. English was also a member of the Florida Citrus Commission from 1990-1994, for which he served as Chairman in 1993. English also served as Vice-Chairman of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and Chairman of the South Florida Agricultural Council and Chairman of the Citrus Advisory Committee for the Southwest Florida Agricultural Research & Education Center. English served on the Advisory Committee for a number of other organizations as well; such as the American Farm Bureau, the Florida Farm Bureau, and the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association’s Citrus Canker Advisory Committee.
In 1995, Hugh English received the Outstanding Agriculturist Award and, in 1996, he received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award of Merit. In 1988 he Hugh was honored with the University of Florida’s Citrus Club Man of the Year Award and, in 2000, he received the University of Florida’s Alumni of Distinction Award. Hugh M. English was inducted into the Citrus Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2008.