Eugene Badger was born in Hastings, Florida, and grew up on his family’s potato farm. This early connection to agriculture grew into a lifelong commitment to advancing Florida agriculture and advocating on its behalf.
Badger graduated from the University of Florida in 1949 with a B.S.A. in agriculture economics and education. Following graduation, he began teaching agriculture at Palatka High School. In 1952, Badger then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and received honorable discharge in 1955 with the rank of captain.
Badger accepted a management position with the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau when he returned to Belle Glade, Florida, in 1972, and was able to actively advocate for farmers across the state. Though not a farmer, Badger’s selfless mission has always been to mentor farmers to be spokesmen for the industry on local, state and national issues.
George W. Bush selected Badger as head of the state Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, now known as the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Badger worked diligently to honor and serve Florida farmers by identifying pitfalls in the Federal Corp Insurance Program and pursuing opportunities to showcase Florida’s specialty crops. Badger’s strong advocacy and dedication to Florida farmers was underscored in 2008 by Senate Resolution 1366, which recognized Badger for his lifetime accomplishments in agricultural leadership and service to the residents of Florida.