Max Hammond was a member of the “Farm Record” 4-H club in Iowa in 1926-1927. He graduated from high school in 1927 and began his career traveling the fair circuit in the western and Midwestern United States showing purebred cattle.
At age 95, Hammond says that he believes 4-H was an important influence on his life, but also hopes that he has left 4-H with a legacy, saying, “I hope I’ve had more impact on 4-H than 4-H had on me.”
In 1933 he joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Subtropical Research Station at Brooksville as a herdsman. In 1948, he became ranch manager at the W.H. Stuart Ranch in Bartow, Florida, a purebred Brahman cattle operation. He frequently hosted 4-H tours and judging teams at the ranch until his retirement in 1981. He was a leader in marketing Brahman cattle all over the world, and in 1982, he was named International Marketing Man of the Year by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
For more than forty years, he purchased steers and swine at the Polk County Youth Fair. He also funded a program to ensure that youth whose animals brought a low price were brought up to a minimum level. His three children were involved in 4-H programs, and Hammond supported their efforts with the 4-H program.
In 1984, he became a charter member of the Polk County 4-H Foundation’s Board of Directors. He has served with the foundation’s board for more than twenty years. He served two terms as president of the board in 1992 and 1993, and spent nine years as its secretary-treasurer. He has also given leadership to the foundation’s investment committee and worked to improve the resources available to help 4-H members be successful.
“Mr. Hammond has been an outstanding role model for 4-H youth,” said Nicole Walker, 4-H extension agent in Polk County. “He has consistently contributed financially to the Polk County 4-H Foundation and helped with other fundraising efforts, including standing at the gate of the County Fair selling raffle tickets for a pickup truck being auctioned by the 4-H Foundation.”
Hammond was instrumental in developing Performance Registry International, where he served as the first president and on the board for many years. He was also the first president of the Florida Beef Cattle Improvement Association. He was president of the American Brahman Owners Breeders Association in 1974 and 1975. He was the only president of the association who was not a ranch owner. He was secretary of the Florida Cattleman’s Association and served on its board for many years. He was president of the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association and a long-time board member.