June 8, 2015
Citrus grower Vic Story, Jr. has been recognized for his dedication to growing the Sunshine State’s iconic agricultural product as well as his community service with the prestigious title of the 2015 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Florida Farmer of the Year.
Story will compete with nine other state winners in October for the top regional award as Southeastern Farmer of the Year at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga.
Raised in a grove, Story worked tirelessly alongside his father to build the family business, the Story Companies, from a 100-acre orange grove to what now spans 2,500 acres.
He is a pioneer in the citrus industry. Story was one of the first growers to control the psyllid, the invasive pest that transmits citrus greening disease. He has enjoyed continued success at this task. As a result of the pre-cautionary measures he has taken, Story has reduced the psyllid counts in the family’s groves to zero. At a time when most citrus growers are struggling with greening to produce a crop, his accomplishment has been exceptional.
Story is dedicated to conservation, as demonstrated by his implementation of outstanding strategies in the groves to conserve water and protect soil quality.
Story hopes to continue the momentum of developing the family business with his two sons, Matt and Kyle, and looks forward to helping guide and mentor them so that they too can pass the business on to the next generation.
Together, Story and his family recently increased their citrus acreage by 400 acres. This move reflected not only an expansion of production, but also their positive outlook on future market opportunities for citrus growers.
Vic Story is extremely active in the local community and has held leadership roles in many civic organizations. He is past president of the Polk County Farm Bureau and Florida Citrus Mutual, serves on the Florida FFA Foundation board of directors and is founding member of the Lake Wales Little League.