Alumnus Eugene “Gene” McAvoy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Cook College in 1974 and a master’s degree in horticulture from Rutgers Graduate School of New Brunswick in 1981. He was recognized by the Cook Community Alumni Association with the Dennis M. Fenton Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award in 2018,
Eugene McAvoy is among three 2024 Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductees announced by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson and the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held at the Florida State Fair’s Agricultural Hall of Fame Banquet on Feb. 13, 2024.
“I am proud to announce three new inductees into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame whose contributions to Florida agriculture leave lasting legacies,” said Commissioner Simpson in announcing the new inductees.
“Eugene McAvoy, John Hoblick, and John Schlechter exemplify the resilient, hard-working, and innovative spirit of Florida’s agriculture community, which produces the most affordable, abundant, and nutritious food supply in the world.”
McAvoy has spent over 50 years supporting and advocating for the agriculture industry in Florida and around the world.
He was an excellent educator and spokesperson for agriculture during his 25-year career with the UF/IFAS Extension service. He joined the Hendry County Extension Office in 1997 as the Vegetable/Horticulture Agent. In 2004, he broke new ground as one of UF/IFAS’ first Regional Specialized Extension Agents. In this role, McAvoy was responsible for developing and implementing educational programs for vegetable producers in five counties in Southwest Florida.
In 2005, McAvoy also took on the role of County Extension Director for Hendry County. He maintained these dual responsibilities until he retired in 2019. On his retirement, he was granted the title Extension Agent Emeritus by the University of Florida. In 2017, he was elected vice president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Less than a month into his retirement, he was invited to become the Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. He served the agricultural community of Southwest Florida in this capacity until July 2022.
McAvoy is well-known for his South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline, which he published biweekly during the vegetable production season until his retirement. The hotline provided growers with up-to-date information on pest and disease occurrence on over 140,000 acres of South Florida vegetables. He also publishes the Pest of the Month Column in Florida Grower magazine, which highlights a different pest or disease affecting Florida vegetable crops.
This article first appeared on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.