Lindcove dedicates conference center to Exeter man

Ray Copeland Citrus Center will be centerpiece of Lindcove Research and Extension Center gala on Oct. 4


EXETER – A late Exeter man who donated most of his fortune to local agriculture and educational institutions, will soon have his name affixed to University of California research facility.

The Lindcove Research and Extension Center, part of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources system, will rename its conference center after the late Ray Copeland. The Ray Copeland Citrus Center will be dedicated during the Lindcove Citrus Gala on Oct. 4.

Ray and his wife Mary Alice moved to Visalia in 1960 when Ray began work in Tulare County as the University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor. In 1965 he became the Superintendent of the UC Agricultural Research Station in Lindcove where he continued until he retired in 1987. In 1993 he co-founded Biagro Western Sales to produce and sell phosphite-based plant nutrients. He continued as president of the company until it was sold in 2012.

Ray spent many years as a citrus and avocado consultant to domestic and foreign clients. His work with clients in Morocco lead to the introduction of a seedless Clementine variety. Ray was instrumental in the adoption of seedless mandarin varieties from Spain and Morocco for production in California. Ray was also a partner in both Copeland & Gorden and California Clementine citrus farming operations.

Ray was also a leader in the community of Exeter as an active member of the Church of God of Exeter and the Exeter Kiwanis Club. In the months leading up to his death on May 9, 2016, Ray and Mary Alice donated $200,000 to the Kiwanis Club’s tax exempt Foundation to create endowments for programs supporting children in the Exeter community. The money was split between the Exeter Union High School Music Department, where their daughter Susan sang in the Madrigal choir, and the Exeter Boys & Girls Club, where Mary Alice served on the board of directors of the Exeter Boys & Girls Club for many years and spent many afternoons teaching children to read while Ray helped develop the archery program.

In addition to the dedication, the Lindcove Research and Extension Center will be honoring Georgios Vidalakis, the recent recipient of the Citrus Research Board Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection Endowment. The dedication is part of the gala’s launch of its fundraising campaign Sweetening the Future of Citrus at Lindcove. Proceeds from the event will go toward enhancing the center’s ability to serve the citrus industry and the community through improved facilities and programs.

The gala begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour, dinner, guest speakers at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center, located at 22963 Carson Ave. east of Exeter. Tickets are $100 per guest and can be purchased online at For more information, call 530-750-1328 or email [email protected].

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