Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame
George F. Sorn
George F. Sorn was born October 11, 1927, in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Following graduation from Bridgeton High School, he attended Rutgers University, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture, with honors.
As a young man, Sorn learned first hand about the fruit and vegetable industry while working in the fields of New Jersey harvesting a variety of commodities. While in school during the 1940s and early 1950s, he worked for Seabrook Fanning Corporation in New Jersey in a variety of capacities, particularly in labor related jobs.
In 1953, his labor expertise landed him a temporary job with the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association that ended up becoming a full-time job as assistant manager of FFVA's Labor Division. He was promoted to manager of the Labor Division in 1967, and became well known throughout Florida and the United States as one of the foremost authorities on farm labor in the country.
It was during that time that Sorn began his longtime affiliation with the late Wendall Rollason and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association. During his 30-year affiliation with RCMA on the board and for the past 12 years as its President, Sorn worked diligently to provide day care services and educational opportunities for children of migrant farm workers.
Sorn was named executive vice president and general manager of FFVA in 1984, and a period of steady growth in association membership and services began. In 1985, Sorn created FFVA's Environmental and Pest Management Division, the first of its kind in the country to assist the association's members in effectively dealing with crop protection and water issues. He served on numerous national committees and organizations, including the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association's Government Relations Committee and its U.S./Mexico Task Force. He also served on the Executive Committees of the National Environmental Development Association and the National Council of Agricultural Employers. He was a board member of the Florida Agricultural Tax Council and the Agribusiness Institute of Florida. He was appointed by the President to serve on the National Commission on Agricultural Workers, and by the Governor to serve on the Florida Advisory Council on Farmworker Affairs.
During his tenure as FFVA's chief executive, he led the fight for Florida growers on critical issues such as immigration reform, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and maintaining access to crop protection tools. Sorn is particularly well known for his negotiating skills. Whether it was during negotiations for contracts on behalf of U.S. Employers of West Indies Workers or on controversial issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, Sorn sought common ground and win-win solutions for all parties. Sorn also consistently won high praise from numerous state and federal legislators and government officials for his straightforward and credible approach to government relations.
Sorn retired from FFVA in December 1992 after a highly successful, 40-year career. Among his numerous awards and honors are: the FFVA Distinguished Service Award; a Resolution of Appreciation by the Florida Cabinet for "Exemplary Public Service in the Field of Agriculture;" an Award of Merit for "Distinguished Service to the Food and Agricultural Industry of Florida" from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida; an Award of Appreciation from the Redlands Christian Migrant Association; and a Certificate of Appreciation from the Florida Governor's Advisory Council on Farmworker Affairs.
Sorn and his wife, Joyce, live in Orlando. They have one daughter, Valerie Sorn. Sorn is active in his community and is an honorary life member of the Optimist Club of Orlando, Inc., and one of its past presidents.