Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, Dr. Charles F. “Chip” Hinton grew up in Pensacola. He attended the University of Florida, obtaining a B.S. and M.S. in Agriculture and a Ph.D. in Poultry Products. Later, while on sabbatical at NCSU, he completed an ABD (all but dissertation) for an Ed.D in Education Administration.
Through his strong leadership on numerous committees and councils for all segments of agriculture, including research, labor, environment and outreach, Dr. Hinton’s guidance led to many advances across Florida agriculture. As Executive Director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Dr. Hinton recognized the need for better varieties and worked with growers and the University of Florida in a public/private partnership to develop new varieties such as Sweet Charlie, Festival and Radiance. This led to more support for further research to expand the strawberry breeding program. As a result, strawberry production skyrocketed. In the late 1980’s about 5,000 acres of strawberries were grown per season generating roughly $50 million. As the new varieties came on line, the Florida strawberry industry expanded steadily to over 10,000 acres with a value over $300 million. Among his other accomplishments, Dr. Hinton worked with Hillsborough County officials, strawberry and tomato growers and the nursery industry to establish the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Balm.
Dr. Hinton has been a mentor to countless youngsters in 4-H and FFA, and with students he recruits every year for the University of Florida. His is committed to the future of Florida agriculture and worked with Dr. Gene Trotter at UF/IFAS to bring to reality his vision of an institute to foster young agricultural leaders. As a result, the Wedgworth Leadership Institute was established. Dr. Hinton’s advocacy for the Wedgworth Leadership Institute continues as does his mentoring of young people.
Through his leadership as a consultant for the Florida Association of Food Banks (FAFB), Dr. Hinton formed a partnership between FAFB and Florida fruit and vegetable growers to provide fresh produce to the hungry in our state and nation. The program, called “Farmers Feeding Florida,” distributed 1 million pounds of fruit and vegetables in its first year. By the fifth year, that number increased to 22 million pounds. Through the program, Florida growers received a total of $1.6 million to defer the costs associated with pick and pack, resulting in almost fourteen pounds of produce per dollar expended.
Dr. Hinton has been active in Hillsborough county governmental programs and in water management agency programs. He has utilized his strong agricultural background to influence public policy favorable to agriculture with his involvement on the boards of Farm Bureau, the Planning Commission, the Citizens Environmental Advisory Committee, the Zoning Advisory Board, and the Citizens Advisory Committee. He currently serves as chair of the Agricultural Economic Development Council, chair of Extension Overall Advisory Committee, and the Hillsborough County Farm Bureau.
Dr. Hinton has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the University of Florida Distinguished Alumni Award.
Dr. Hinton and his wife, Jemy, live in Brandon and have 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren.