The Plant City Greater Chamber of Commerce held its 2012 Salute to Agriculture breakfast Wednesday. The event is sponsored by Farm Credit of Central Florida.
Five awards were presented before an audience of more than 200 at the Evelyn & Batista Madonia Sr. Agricultural Show Center on the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds.
Joel Connell received the 2012 Young Agriculturist award. Connell, born and raised in Plant City, is a fifth-generation member of his family.
Jane Bender received the Agriculture Educator award. Bender, who is now retired after a 35-year career, related how much she treasured the moments she shared with agricultural students.
The AgriBusiness of the Year award went to the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau for its continued support of agriculture.
Michelle Williamson, a board member of the Farm Bureau, received the Agriculturist of the Year award. She oversees Ag Literacy Day, international tours and many other agriculture endeavors while addressing the needs in the community.
Ed and Myrtle Lou Swindle received the Supporters of Youth award. The Swindles, longtime members in the agricultural community, donated to the construction of one of two new livestock pavilions on the festival grounds. They have also provided support to Future Farmers of America.
Ed Swindle held up a "No Farmers, No Food" bumper sticker and asked the audience to heed the message and support youth interested in agriculture.
"You can't do enough for them," he said.
Dale Bliss, Times correspondent