OCALA, FL. – William “Bill” Phillips will be inducted into the Marion County Agriculture Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony and banquet on Thursday, November 16 at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala. The banquet is part of the annual Farm City Week activities held November 15 through 22.

Phillips’ achievements will be commemorated with a bronze plaque as part of a permanent Hall of Fame exhibit in the foyer of the extension service auditorium. The plaque will feature his photo and a summary of his achievements in agriculture. He will also be recognized with a Hall of Fame video released during Farm City Week.

He was born on April 28, 1940, in Norfolk, Virginia. Bill began his career in agriculture as a Marion County Extension agent for Horticulture, fruit crops, and commercial vegetables in 1967 and retired from extension in 1996. During his tenure, he worked to establish a Freeze Warning Program with the latest weather information on freeze nights. Bill also was instrumental in establishing the Master Gardener program to assist residents in identifying and solving issues in the home gardens. He was the owner/operator of a 50-acre Citrus Grove from 1996-2020.

Bill served in numerous professional organizations such as the Florida Association of County Agriculture Agents, Marion County Farm Bureau, Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Florida State Horticulture Association, Salvation Army Board of Directors, Southeastern Youth Fair Board, and is currently serving on the Advisory Board for the Marion County Extension Department and the Southeastern Youth Fair General Board.

The Hall of Fame inductee has received numerous awards from many organizations. He was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award – Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents in 1986. Public Broadcasting WMOP Award of Appreciation for 20 years of service in 1996, Marion County Cattlemens Award of Gratitude for service in 1996, and recognized with a proclamation for service from the Board of County Commissioners in 1996. The Southeastern Youth Fair was dedicated to Bill in 2005.

Since its inception in 2003, the Marion County Agricultural Hall of Fame has been recognizing individuals who have made tremendous contributions to the furtherance of agriculture in the community. Previous Hall of Fame honorees include 33 men and three women credited for their advancement in Marion County’s agricultural history.

For information about induction ceremony sponsorships or to purchase tickets, contact Patricia Nobles, County Extension Director and Extension Agent III, M.Ed., at (352) 671-8400 or

Return to the Oct. 23 issue of Wire to Wire