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Ben Hill Griffin IV

Ben Hill Griffin, Inc.

Over 50 years ago, Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. began shipping citrus to markets throughout the United States. He started with a 10-acre orange grove, a small packing facility and a commitment to excellent quality.

Hill is a fourth-generation citrus grower.

Much of the fruit he grows goes directly from his family’s groves in Frostproof, Florida to Florida’s Natural Growers to be made into orange juice.


Is it true that you’ve had a color named after you?
“Griffin Green.” That’s our company color. It’s on all our trucks. I guess my grandfather wanted to be unique and visible!

Uh, “Frostproof,” Florida? Is that the original name?
Not sure about the history, but the name “Frostproof” has served our family’s citrus operation well over the years.

Let me guess: You were born in an orange grove.
Not quite. I started when I was 11, working with baby trees in my family’s nurseries. There wasn’t any pressure—I could be whatever I wanted to be. But I found early on that I really liked agriculture, and I liked being outdoors. It evolved from there. Pretty soon, I was in the groves learning the basics—planting, fertilizing, hoeing, irrigation. That ground-level training gave me a good foundation. It taught me the benefits of hard work.

How are you changing things?
Not changing. Improving. I want to keep growing the way “Old Florida” did, while always improving on it. We’re always developing efficiencies and better technology. But we do it without compromising the family customs that have been established over the years. Being a citrus grower is very complicated, but it’s also very simple. We’re putting a round orange in a square box.

Okay. So, what do you consider high-tech?
Well, one example’s in our packinghouse. We have a camera system that uses grading software to shoot, evaluate and sort each piece of fruit. But I still insist on the human element as the “finishing touch” on our fruit.

You’re a fourth-generation citrus grower on your father’s side, third-generation on your mother’s—and you go by “Hill.” That’s a real love for the land.
Ha, I never thought of that! But you’re right. I am proud of our grove operation’s environmental stewardship. It helps recharge the aquifer, generates oxygen and provides a home for wildlife. Many of the decisions that we make accommodate the health of both the citrus trees and the land. After all, our land is the best place in the world to grow fruit. We are very fortunate to grow Florida oranges because our climate, soil types and sunshine produce the best-quality citrus in the world. It’s just plain rewarding to produce a healthy and delicious citrus crop from the soil every year.

So, what’s the family secret to staying successful in the citrus business?
My grandfather and father taught me early on that as a citrus grower, there will be good years and not-so-good years. High fruit prices followed by low prices. Pest and disease challenges, etc. Every year will be different. Perseverance is part of the job description.


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