Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

1995 Winner

Burt McKee, United AgriProducts, Inc.
Tampa, Florida

Burt McKee is considered one of the most knowledgeable resource people in agriculture, with a talent for analyzing complicated information and presenting it in a format that can be easily utilized by Florida farmers and ranchers. Through his newsletter, "Environmental Update," he provides farmers with accurate, up-to-date information on pesticide use, emergency planning, pesticide safety, worker protection and many other subjects important to agricultural producers. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, McKee brings innovation, enthusiasm and perseverance to the resolution of complex environmental issues, tempered by the common sense gained from a rural beginning in Alabama.

Approximately 70,000 pounds of lead arsenate, a pesticide canceled for use on citrus, remained in grower possession and was creating an environmental challenge to growers and regulators. Operation Clean Sweep, a program for the proper collection and disposal of the chemical, was launched in July 1995. The program was a resounding success due to McKee's persistence and dedication in laying the groundwork for this project. He worked with government agencies, agricultural representatives, chemical distributors and citrus growers over several years to provide a grower-friendly process for the proper collection and disposal of this canceled chemical.

McKee is recognized as a leading agri-chemical and environmental expert and has developed an excellent reputation with many state and federal regulatory agencies. Through tireless efforts, he is able to bring together grower and regulator in the spirit of cooperation. His contributions to Florida agriculture have gained him national acclaim and have resulted in his employer expanding his responsibilities nationwide. -- 1995


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