The 1998 Winner: Nancy Gurnett Hardy
Nancy Gurnett Hardy was "Woman of the Year in Agriculture" for 1998. She was the 15th recipient of the award, which recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture.
For more than 30 years, Hardy, of Winter Haven, has helped keep the public and the industry informed about the Florida citrus industry and the significance of agriculture to Florida’s economy. She is a dedicated and trusted reporter among growers, shippers, processors and others involved in the citrus industry.
A native Floridian, Hardy worked with her father, John D. "Jack" Gurnett, in reporting on the citrus industry for his own newsletter and other trade publications until his death in 1968. She then took over operation of the weekly newsletter, "The Florida Citrus Reporter," as well as reporting on the citrus industry in "The Produce News," and later for "Citrus Industry Magazine."
Hardy has covered good times and bad times in the citrus industry, including the impact of issues concerning production, processing and marketing, while maintaining the confidence and respect of all segments of the industry. Gordon Hochberg, editor of The Produce News, once noted that Hardy "has to balance her goal of writing every story fairly, accurately and evenhandedly with her unabashed love of the Florida citrus industry and her desire to see it healthy and prosperous. This is a tough act to balance, but balance it she always does. She is too conscientious, too tough, too professional to do otherwise."
In addition to her reporting activities, Hardy has been on the board of directors of the Florida Citrus Showcase for 15 years. She also speaks frequently about the citrus industry to various civic organizations and schools.
Among numerous awards, Hardy has been honored for her reporting by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Southern College Citrus Institute, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association.