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Marcus Edwards of Gadsden County Inducted into the National Association of Conservation Districts Hall of Fame.

At the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Southern Region in Destin, Florida, July 30, 2012 Marcus Edwards of the Sawdust Community in Gadsden County was inducted into the NACD Hall of Fame.

Marcus was born September 4, 1934 in Sawdust, Florida, graduated from Greensboro High School in 1952, attended the University of Florida, and was drafted into United States Army in 1955. He served a year and a half behind the iron curtain.   Served our country for 2 years active duty, and 4 years in reserve. Marcus was honorably discharged in 1961.

Marcus entered the family farm business in 1957 growing shade tobacco on the Pewter Farm in Southside Sawdust, Florida. The tobacco industry left Florida in 1977. After growing his last crop of tobacco he continued farming growing pole beans, squash and other vegetables.

The tomato industry then came to Gadsden County, and Marcus grew tomatoes for several years. This venture was not profitable.  He grew tomatoes for some South Florida individuals on his own farm, but they lost money and left.   He then grew tomatoes for himself for about three years.  He lost all his retirement savings doing it. Finally, he decided it was time to quit farming when they wanted to pay $ 3.00 for a 30 lb. box of tomatoes.

He went to work for the University of Florida IFAS, North Florida Research & Education Center Quincy from 1995 to 1997 for the tomato spotted wilt virus program. From 1997-2002 he worked for Florida A & M University growing tomatoes for research on nitrogen fertilization. He grew spring and fall crops of tomatoes for the nitrate Best Management Practices project. While at FAMU he transferred to the USDA, NRCS unit in 2002 until present, assisting with research in biological control on insects.

Marcus served on the Overall Advisory Committee for the Gadsden County Extension Service and was Chairman for many years.  He is an active director of Gadsden County Farm Bureau and a member of Gadsden County Cattlemen’s Association.   He is an elected supervisor of Gadsden County Soil and Water Conservation District serving as its current chair.

Marcus received the Outstanding Young Farmer recognition in 1964 for exceptional progress in agriculture and contribution to the community sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He received the Distinguish Service Award as Chairman of the Gadsden Soil and Water Conservation District for his many years of work on local and state issues to conserve our natural resources (soil, water, etc.). The award was given at the 54th Annual meeting of the Florida Association of Conservation Districts in Daytona Beach, August 5-8, 1999.  Marcus was recognized for being a “Leader in Helping the AFCD become a Viable Organization” by the Association of Florida Conservation Districts on August 12, 2006 at their annual meeting.

Panhandle Agriculture

Permanent link to this article: http://gulf.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/09/21/marcus-edwards-of-gadsden-county-inducted-into-the-national-association-of-conservation-districts-hall-of-fame/