The annual Harvest Awards at the Hillsborough County Fair will be held a few weeks prior to the fair on Thursday, October 10.

This year’s Harvest Awards, presented by the Hillsborough County Fair, won’t be awarded until October, but applications for nominees are now open. What makes these awards so unique is that they recognize not only those engaged in what’s considered traditional agriculture but also those involved in urban agriculture, as well as public and community service.

According to Randy Sears, event chair, the event will have some exciting new additions.

“After careful consideration, the Harvest Awards Committee has moved the event up to October 10, three weeks before the start of the fair that runs from October 31 until November 11, 2024, at the fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Rd., Dover. In addition, we’ve added a new category to recognize emerging young leaders in agriculture with the Next Generation Farmer/Rancher/Nurseryman Award for an individual with less than 10 years in the field.”

The mission of the Harvest Awards, since its inception, has been to recognize the accomplishments of families, individuals and organizations for their achievements and commitment to agriculture and to preserve the agricultural heritage of Hillsborough County. Award categories include Farm Family of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Agribusiness, Outstanding Public & Community Service, Urban Agriculture/Agriculturalist, Outstanding Farmer/Rancher/Nurseryman, Outstanding Woman in Agriculture, Posthumous Memorial Award and the new Next Generation Award.

Applications are available on the fair’s website,, which also has a complete list of previous winners as well as application requirements. All nominations must be received by Monday, July 15, and can be submitted by mailing to Harvest Awards, Hillsborough County Fair, P.O. Box 100, Sydney, FL 33587, or via email to

Participants in the luncheon include agricultural, business and community leaders; educational and governmental representatives; and students representing 4-H, FFA and other youth groups. In addition to a lunch featuring strawberry shortcakes provided by the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, participants will also receive gift bags filled with items from numerous commodity organizations and businesses. Businesses wishing to donate may contact Betty Jo Tompkins at or 813-477-8332.

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