Florida Crystals Corporation recently announced that company founders Alfonso Fanjul and J. Pepe Fanjul have been inducted into the 2018 Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. The Fanjul brothers accepted the honor, presented by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, on Feb. 13 at a ceremony in Tampa.
The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture and mentor youth who are the future of Florida agriculture. The Fanjuls have been an integral part of Florida agriculture and their communities for nearly 60 years. The Hall of Fame recognized the success of their business endeavors, which have been vital to agriculture in the Everglades Agricultural Area, where they farm, and across the state.
“I am so honored to be inducted into the Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame, because I believe it is a recognition not only of us, but of our company and its contributions to Florida’s economy, to jobs and to food supply,” said Alfonso Fanjul, chairman and chief executive officer of Florida Crystals. “We’ve come a long way since we planted our first crop in Florida nearly 60 years ago with our father and our uncle, and we’re very proud to be recognized by our peers.”
The Fanjul family founded Florida Crystals in 1960 as a sugarcane farming and milling company in Palm Beach County. Over the last six decades, the Florida division of the company has grown to include two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution center and the largest biomass renewable power plant in North America.
Florida Crystals also pioneered farming and milling of organic sugar in the United States — a major challenge in a subtropical climate. Florida Crystals continues to be the only producer of organic cane sugar products 100 percent made in the U.S.
Internationally, its subsidiary ASR Group is the world’s largest cane sugar refiner.
“I believe that this honor is given to those who love the land and are champions of agriculture,” said J. Pepe Fanjul, vice chairman, chief operating officer and president of Florida Crystals. “We are so happy to be part of this vital industry in Florida, which supports 23,000 jobs and contributes more than $3 billion to the state’s economy. We have dedicated our lives to ensuring a strong and sustainable agricultural industry.”
In addition to providing jobs and economic activity, the Fanjuls take pride in their steadfast commitment to sustainable agriculture. In 2015, the South Florida Water Management District recognized farmers in the EAA, south of Lake Okeechobee, for their highly successful 20-year partnership in Everglades restoration. It is a recognition that Alfonso Fanjul said was one of the proudest moments of his long career in farming.