CLEWISTON -- U.S. Sugar announced Nov. 8 that Ken McDuffie has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Derek Pridgen has been promoted to Vice President, Agricultural Operations. In his new role, McDuffie will assist the President in all strategic and political matters as well as have oversight of U.S. Sugar’s agricultural operations. McDuffie will continue to directly oversee citrus agriculture and research, railroad operations, Rouge River Farms (locally-grown vegetables) and industry and grower relations.
“Under Ken’s steady leadership at the helm of our Agricultural Operations division, we have had some of the most productive crops in our Company’s 90-year history,” said U.S. Sugar President & CEO Robert H. Buker, Jr. “As Executive Vice President, Ken will take on additional responsibilities to help move our Company forward as we continue charting a course for the future.”
“It is humbling to be able to help lead a Company I have grown up admiring and have had the privilege to work for throughout my career,” said McDuffie. “U.S. Sugar is a special company, and I look forward to playing a larger role in ensuring we can continue to provide cane sugar, citrus, and fresh vegetables to customers across America.”
McDuffie, a Clewiston native, most recently served as U.S. Sugar’s Senior Vice President of Agricultural Operations, a position he has held since 2005. McDuffie first joined U.S. Sugar in 1992 and has held several positions with the Company. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from Florida State University.
McDuffie and his wife Melissa (Dusty) live in Clewiston with their two high school-aged children, Nick and Samuel, and third son Landon lives in Stuart.
U.S. Sugar also announced that Derek Pridgen was promoted to Vice President, Agricultural Operations. In this role, Pridgen will be responsible for all aspects of sugarcane operations and will report to Ken McDuffie.
Pridgen, also a Clewiston native, has served as U.S. Sugar’s General Manager, Farm Operations since 2019. Pridgen first started with Southern Gardens Citrus in 1997. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from University of Central Florida.
Pridgen and his wife Michelle live in Clewiston with their children Sofia, Ty and Alexis.