Fred Y. Montsdeoca spent the last four decades in service to Florida agriculture through his businesses: Dixie Lime Products, Inc., and Montsdeoca Ranch, Inc.
Montsdeoca was born into an agricultural lifestyle shaped by his father, who was a Florida Agricultural Extension Agent in Glades and Okeechobee counties from 1930-1971, working with the Seminole Indian tribe in Brighton to establish a successful cattle operation that focused on herd and pasture management. Following in his father’s footsteps, Montsdeoca maintained a relationship with the tribe, focusing on fertilization and liming of the reservation’s pastures. He managed the family cattle ranch as a successful business enterprise by using environmentally sensitive and economically sustainable management techniques, most notably his involvement in the development of fair and uniform standards for the lime industry and his role in the development of Best Management Practices for nitrates.
His personal service and advice to the Florida Legislature and policy makers over the years, as well as his leadership on numerous statewide advisory councils, greatly advanced Florida’s agriculture while promoting compatibility with conservation of he state’s natural resources. Montsdeoca’s practical approach to resolving conflict resulted in four generations of Florida’s political and policy development leadership seeking his advice to resolve some of the state’s most pressing agricultural, environmental, and economic issues. Policies developed under Montsdeoca often achieved the difficult balance between commercial agriculture interests and the need to protect Florida’s unique land and water resources.
Montsdeoca’s achievements in these areas have been widely recognized. In 2000, the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored him with their Award of Distinction for Service to Florida Agriculture. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services awarded him a Citation for Distinguished Service in 1990. The Florida Association of County Agriculture Agents named him Outstanding Agriculturist Award in 1981. He was the recipient of the Agribusiness Institute of Florida’s White Hat Award in 1985, the same year he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Florida.
His long-standing service to such organizations as the Florida Fertilizer Technical Committee, Florida Pesticide Technical Committee, Florida Agricultural Advisory Committee, and National Lime Rock Institute helped ensure that fertilizer and agrichemical issues in Florida would be managed in a way fair to agricultural producers and other affected industries. As president of Loch Harbour Utilities, Montsdeoca has helped rural electric and other utility services to provide economic and social opportunities to its rural clientele. Always ready to offer his service to the agricultural community, Montsdeoca sponsored numerous university short courses, served on several Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame committees, and hosted many political receptions.
Montsdeoca was born in Avon Park on April 25, 1928. He graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Physical Education in 1950, where he excelled at football and baseball and was outstanding Senior Athlete. In 1984, he was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.
In his community, he was affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church in Ocala and the Florida Club. Retaining his interest in college sports, he served four years as president of the Gator Boosters and served on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of the University of Florida Athletic Association.
Montsdeoca is survived by his wife, Yvonne (Blue), who lives in Ocala.