J.O. Pearce, Jr., an Okeechobee native, has been a long-time leader in the development of programs to control and eradicate cattle disease and pests in Florida. As president of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association in the late 1950s, he lobbied Congress and the Florida Legislature for the appropriation of funds aimed at eradicating the deadly screwworm in Florida and the Southeast. Largely as a result of his efforts, this cattle pest was eradicated. Pearce headed the U.S Livestock and Health Technical Committee that negotiated the federal and state policies for the brucellosis eradication program in Florida. In 1984-85 he was president of the United States Animal Health Association, which is dedicated to the elimination of animal disease.