Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Commissioner's Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award

1995 Winner

O.F. Nelson and Sons Nursery
Apopka, Florida

O.F. Nelson and Sons is considered one of the horticultural industry's leaders in utilizing environmentally sound methods to grow plants. The nursery has developed an international reputation for promoting biological controls by playing a crucial role in research that led to the development of biological methods to control the sweet potato whitefly. The Nelsons are responsible for discovering Delphastus pusillus, a small predatory beetle that feeds voraciously on all stages of the sweet potato whitefly. This beetle is now being sold commercially worldwide and was featured on the 1994 calendar distributed by BioBest, one of the world's largest producers of biological control agents.

The Nelsons also initiated a biological control program using predator mites to control two-spotted spider mites on Dieffenbachia. O.F. Nelson and Sons has taken considerable economic risks to further the knowledge of controlling plant pests with biological controls. Through participation in numerous Florida Nursery Growers Association-sponsored seminars, the nursery has actively promoted the use of Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM) with other growers.  Progressive growers such as Nelson reflect positively on the horticultural industry and herald the day when IPM is the norm, not the exception. -- 1995


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