John O. Schlechter

John Oscar “J.O.” Schlechter is a humble pioneer who has dedicated his life to the agricultural industry, his family, and most importantly, his relationship with Jesus Christ. 

After graduating from the University of Florida in 1958, Mr. Schlechter began his lifelong career as a farmer. He bought Everglades Farm Equipment from his father in 1971, making it a fourth-generation business. His love and marriage to Eleanor has stood strong for 68 years, along with their proud four sons, eight grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. 

Mr. Schlechter has served on several boards aimed at supporting agriculture like the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative board for 10 years and the Pioneer Growers Cooperative board for 35 years, as well as the Florida Celery Exchange board for 10 years. 

Mr. Schlechter has dedicated his time to serving his community and making a meaningful difference in the lives around him. He served for 15 years on the Glades Day School board and coached multiple Little League teams for 10 years or more. For more than 50 years, he has been a deacon at The First Baptist Church of Belle Glade, while serving as a Sunday school teacher and organizing a food pantry to feed the community. 

Mr. Schlechter’s lifetime of service and hard work has been recognized by many organizations. He was named Ag Man of The Year by the Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce, while he and Eleanor were jointly honored with the Citizen of the Year award by the same organization, as well as the Farmer of The Year award from Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau. Through his lifetime of service and hard work, Mr. Schlechter continues to make a profound impact on agriculture, his loved ones, and his community.

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The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture in this state and to mentoring of our youth, who represent the future of agriculture in Florida.

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The video profiles of the inductees from 1980 through 2017 were produced by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. More information is available at:

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