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Jim Senterfitt, former district conservationist, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Conservation District Southeast regional area at the conference held in Biloxi, Miss. Aug 9-12.
Senterfitt was inducted along with people from seven other southeastern states and was sponsored by the Suwannee Conservation District and the Association of Florida Conservation Districts to represent Florida as the 2008 recipient of the Hall of Fame Award.
Senterfitt was nominated form Florida by the Association of Florida Conservation Districts for his exceptional service as a career and volunteer that spans 59 years of service.
Senterfitt began his career with USDA Soil Conservation Service in 1951. Prior to joining USDA, he held his Veteran Vocational Agriculture members to the successful establishment of the Tri-County Gold Kist cooperative stores in Trenton and Chiefland. They still operate today under Southeastern Cooperative Stores.
One of his greatest accomplishments for youth occurred when he and his veteran members sponsored the first Gilchrist County Livestock Show that became the forerunner for the Suwannee River Fair and Livestock Show.
He worked with numerous conservation districts throughout his career, While working with Levy Soil and Water Conservation District, he helped them with the Goodyear Conservation award in 1954 and again in 1959, an accomplishment few have rivaled in Florida.
Thirty-fie years later as chairman of the Suwannee River Soil and Water Conservation District, he and his wife Voncile enjoyed the 1994 Goodyear Award trip where they traveled to Camelback Resort in Phoenix, Ariz. to participate in the festivities sponsored by Goodyear Tire USA.
In 1967 Senterfitt was named by the Florida Wildlife Federation Governor's Ward as the outstanding conservationist for his leadership in guiding farmers and ranchers in combatting and controlling wind erosion with legume cover crops, strip cropping, mulch tilling and planting wind breaks.
While working as the district conservationist for Duval, Nassau and Clay counties, he was instrumental in developing conservation information and education programs with WJXT-TV, WJCT-TV and the school systems.
As president of the Suwannee River Resource Conservation and Development Council, he was instrumental in helping the seven county board of directors recover from near deactivation to becoming one of the most active RC&D councils in Florida.
In 1991 while serving as chairman of SRSWCD, Senterfitt led the district to co-sponsor a $3.5 million water quality management plan funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. This led to $10 million middle Suwannee River Watershed Project that provided cost-share or water quality management plans for numerous dairy and poultry farmers through the Middle Suwannee River Area basis. This project provided cost-share assistance for 43 dairies and 118 poultry producers to develop water quality conservation plans that prevented contamination of the Florida aquifer, the primary source of drinking water for Suwannee and surrounding counties. This project helped farmers with management of approximately 1,402 tons of nitrates and 22, 946 tons of animal waste annually.
Senterfitt's efforts toward conserving Florida's natural resources have led to numerous distinguished awards by his peers and various organizations. His two most cherished awards are his honorary FFA membership awards from Williston FFA and Suwannee FFA chapters.
Senterfitt is the son of the late James H. Senterfitt and Cora Hutto Senterfitt of DeFuniak Springs and one of five children: Clarence, Bulon, Tula Mae, Truett and James Jr.
He was married to the late Margaret Hagan, a former bookkeeper for Six Andrews Co. The couple have three daughters Carol (Larry) Roberts of Williston who works at Perkins State Bank, Marilyn Roberts of Live Oak, a vocational education teacher and Gwen (Cecil) Stalnaker of Ft. White, a family counselor.
He lived in Chiefland from July 1951 until June 1952, when he moved to Williston where he lived until April 1967.