The 1986 Winner: Ruth Wedgworth
Ruth Springer Wedgworth of Belle Glade was "Woman of the Year in Agriculture" for 1986. She was the second recipient of the award, which recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to Florida agriculture. She was characterized as a true leader and example for others in business, in agriculture, in the community, in religion, and in her family.
Wedgworth was a businesswoman, farmer, grandmother and civic leader in Belle Glade. She began operating a large sugarcane, cattle, celery and fertilizer complex after her husband, Herman H. Wedgworth, died in 1938.
While rearing her three children, Wedgworth developed Wedgworth Farms, Inc. (sugarcane, cattle, celery), Wedgworth Produce, Inc. (produce pre-cooling plant) and Wedgworth, Inc. (fertilizer, blending). Wedgworth was a director of Florida First National Bank of Belle Glade and past secretary of Seminole Life Insurance Co.
Her civic contributions include chairing the Belle Glade Bicentennial Committee; serving on the select study group which drew up the Minimum Foundation Program for Florida schools; receiving recognition from Governor Millard Caldwell for service to migrant workers; and serving on the Palm Beach County School Board.
Wedgworth also was a charter member of the Wee Care daycare center for migrant children; and is a member of the administrative board of the Community United Methodist Church of Belle Glade, where she taught Sunday school.