Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame

Latimer "Latt" Maxcy

The late Latimer "Latt" Maxcy had a profound impact on Florida agriculture in all phases of citrus development and beef cattle production. Starting as a water boy in the phosphate mines of Central Florida at the turn of the century, Maxcy went on to develop extensive citrus grove and processing holdings, along with cattle and fertilizer operations.

Maxcy was one of the first growers to develop citrus groves in the Frostproof area, which became the heart of the citrus belt. He later built the first packing house in the area and a single-strength juice cannery to handle fruit that was not suitable for fresh shipment. As citrus plantings expanded in the area, Maxcy built a fertilizer plant to handle the needs of central Polk County. He later constructed a feed mill and citrus pulp plant to round out his holdings.

Frozen concentrate for citrus juices was developed in the mid-1940s, but Maxcy was one of the pioneers who helped develop the new product through the Snow Crop Division of Clinton Foods, with which he merged some of his citrus holdings in 1951.

Maxcy began raising cattle in 1930 and he acquired extensive land holdings upon which he experimented to improve beef production, particularly through selective breeding for greater disease resistance and better meat quality. He introduced new breeds and strains of cattle to Florida and tried various combinations of crossbreeding, while also testing range management techniques.

He was one of the organizers of Florida citrus Mutual and served as its first president. He also served on the Florida Citrus Commission in the 1940s. Maxcy was inducted into the Citrus Hall of Fame in 1971, the year in which he died.

During his lifetime, Maxcy performed many generous and humanitarian acts, including providing college scholarships for more than 60 students from the Frostproof area.

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