GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When the University of Florida Agricultural Womenâ€™s Club celebrated its 100th anniversary recently, it added a new traditionâ€”recognizing one of the stateâ€™s foremost female agribusiness leaders. At an April 17 reception, Vero Beach citrus grower and cattle rancher Hariot Greene was presented the clubâ€™s first Women of Distinction Award. The event was held at the Presidentâ€™s House on UFâ€™s main campus.
The award honors Greene for her lifetime contributions to Florida agriculture, said club President Dee Ann Connor.
â€œWhen the Agricultural Womenâ€™s Club was planning its 100th birthday celebration, it seemed appropriate to honor a woman who has been outstanding in the field of agriculture for some of those 100 years,â€ Connor said. â€œThere were many distinguished Florida women for the selections committee to consider, but Hariot Greene seemed the totally appropriate choice for this special year and this special award.â€
Greene also was presented with a crystal plaque and a bouquet of roses. In an interview prior to the reception, Greene said she was surprised and honored by the award, and had received many unexpected benefits from her involvement in agriculture.
â€œI canâ€™t think of any profession that would be more rewarding to families than agriculture,â€ Greene said. â€œItâ€™s a never-ending job but the rewards are so great and, as a parent, it gives you so much opportunity to set a good example for your children.â€
As a young woman, Greene was a ballerina, performing with a professional troupe in Virginia and later studying dance in New York City. She later taught dance in Florida, and started her own dance studio.
She had no involvement in agriculture before 1946, when she married Orlando native Barney Greene, who was completing his agriculture degree at UF. The next year the couple moved to Vero Beach, where Barney took a job as assistant production manager with a citrus grower.
By 1959 they became independent growers and in 1962 launched Greene Groves and Ranch, producing grapefruit and cattle. That company has spawned numerous businesses where Mrs. Greene has held executive positions, including director and treasurer of Greeneâ€™s Citrus Management; director and treasurer of Greene River Packing and president and director of H.H. Greene, Inc.
The Greenes have had statewide impact in many ways: they played a pivotal role in attracting Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. to Florida when the company sought to expand its business into citrus. They introduced the Romano red cattle breed to Florida. And they helped establish an innovative water saving practice, growing citrus in drainage districts.
They also are longtime supporters of educational institutions, including the University of Florida, Florida 4-H, Florida Southern College, Indian River Community College and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. In 1965 they established a high school in the Philippines, Greene Academy, which teaches fundamentals of agriculture and is still operating today.
Among her activities with UF, Mrs. Greene is a member of the University of Florida Foundationâ€™s Board of Directors, a position she has held since 2002.
Mrs. Greene is active in First United Methodist Church of Vero Beach and the Indian River County Farm Bureau. She is the mother of four grown children, all of whom are active in the family business, 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Sources: Dee Ann Connor, 352-335-4806, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hariot Greene, 772-778-4220 email@example.com