Regarded as a pioneer of Florida’s cotton industry, Copeland Griswold spearheaded a program to eradicate the boll weevil. Realizing the economic and environmental advantages, Griswold worked tirelessly in the mid- 1980s to secure state and federal funds to offset the high costs of the program’s launch. He served as the first chairman of the Southeast Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. His efforts led to the virtual elimination of the pest from Florida, Georgia and south Alabama.
Griswold, a sixth-generation farmer, was born March 21, 1932, in Alabama. His career in farming began as a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) with an 80-acre plot of land. Today he is chief executive officer of Griswold Farms, a 4,800-acre family farm that produces food, fiber and timber.
Griswold’s family was recognized as a leader in conservation tillage during a 1999 congressional tour of his farm. In 1996, only 150 acres in Santa Rosa County used strip tillage; today, more than 15,000 acres use this environmentally sound technique. Copeland’s entire farm uses strip tillage and, because of his leadership, Santa Rosa County ranks first in strip tillage acreage in Florida.
Griswold served eight years on the governing board of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, working to ensure that every citizen had access to a quality water supply. During his term, he sought to implement policies that balanced preservation with agricultural production.
An active participant in agribusiness affairs, Griswold has been a longtime member of the Santa Rosa County Farm Bureau, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, American Farm Bureau Federation, Georgia-Florida-Alabama Peanut Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Florida FFA Foundation and the American Soybean Association.
In addition to his service to numerous industry and community organizations, Griswold has served as FFA state president (1951-52). In that role, he began an advocacy that would span half a century, speaking volumes about the industry he loves. He is highly respected in Tallahassee and Washington, and policymakers regularly seek his insight. Said U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd of Copeland Griswold: “One would have to search long and hard to find a person more deserving of this distinguished award.”
Copeland Griswold lives in Pace, Florida, with his wife, Winona Salter Griswold. They have four children: Marty, Lavon, Vicki and Paul.