Edward, Ferdinand and Joseph Duda, together and individually, represent significant contributions to both state and national agriculture. All three men are members of the Duda family’s third generation and have represented their family’s collective ownership in the agriculture and real estate business known as A. Duda & Sons, Inc. by serving as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board for A. Duda and Sons, Inc.
Under their 33 years of leadership at DUDA’s agricultural operation, Ed, F.S. and Joseph, have witnessed major expansion and diversification. Sod was added to the company’s vegetable, citrus, sugarcane and cattle production. A world-class celery breeding program was established and continues to develop quality-consistent varieties for their production locations, including Florida, California, Arizona and Michigan. A commercially viable celery straw and red celery are among the innovative results of this breeding program, which currently boasts 19 patents. Fresh-cut celery is among the value-added innovations that have helped create new markets for their products. As the company’s customer base for its fresh vegetables and citrus products grew to include national supermarket retail and foodservice clients, partnerships with other Florida grower were formed to ensure a steady supply of quality products.
The men are steadfast in their commitment to the quality of the Florida environment. DUDA was one of the first to utilize integrated pest management (IPM) to minimize use of pesticides. Crop rotation and field flooding continues to be used to further control weeds and insects and the oxidation of muck soil. A variety of best management practices have been employed to reduce water use and runoff such as micro=jet irrigation and water retention systems that conserve and re-use water. In 1994, the company earned the Florida Agriculture Commissioner’s Ag-Environmental Leadership Award for its pesticide/nutrient management.
Ed, F.S. and Joseph contribute their time, experience and knowledge to the ag industry by taking on leadership roles. Ed served for 16 years as a director of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida and as a board member and chairman of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association from 1981-1997. For 23 years, F.S. served as a board member of the
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association and as chairman in 1993. F.S. also gave testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture regarding the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Joe was a founding member of the Florida Land Council and served as its first chairman from 1985-1990. He was a member of the Nation and Florida Cattlemen’s Associations from 1973-2011.
Ed, F.S. and Joseph Duda’s accomplishments in agriculture tell only part of their story. They have used their talents and gifts to demonstrate true generosity and service to their church, their community and the state of Florida.