The 1994 Winner: Anne Wardlaw Dickinson
Anne Wardlaw Dickinson of Frostproof was "Woman of the Year in Agriculture" for 1994. She was the 10th recipient of the award, which recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. Dickinson is an innovative and tireless educator and promoter for Florida agriculture, in which she has worked all her adult life. Her leadership, enthusiasm and dedication to the industry and her community make her eminently qualified and deserving of this honor.
Dickinson’s family began buying citrus groves in Polk County in the 1930s. She and her husband, James, then bought the grove property from her family in 1974 and Dickinson soon became involved in all phases of the business. The family enterprise now includes 400 acres of orange and grapefruit groves, a grove care-taking business, a 200-acre cow-calf operation and a gift-fruit shipping business. Dickinson is secretary/treasurer of the family businesses and manages the "Cracker Citrus" gift-fruit shop.
When Dickinson first got involved in the citrus business, she realized that she and other women whose families owned groves really knew little about the industry. So Dickinson organized the Florida Citrus Women in the 1980s to educate women citrus growers. The group took special classes at Polk Community College and went on local and international trips to visit citrus production and processing operations. This was just one of many educational and promotional endeavors relating to agriculture in which Dickinson became involved over the years.
A school teacher at one time, Dickinson helped organized and chaired the Polk County Agri-Fest, a program designed to educate, fourth-grade students about agriculture. She has also "adopted" school classrooms in Maine and New Hampshire, writing to students there about life as a Florida citrus grower.
Dickinson is an active member of the Florida Farm Bureau, serving on numerous committees at the local, state and national level. In Frostproof, Dickinson is an active member of the First United Methodist Church and she has contributed her time and talents to city government, the Frostproof Woman’s Club and other civic organizations.