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January 18, 2011   Email to Friend 

Newby Among AU's Ag Hall of Honor Inductees
By Darryal Ray

A wall on the first floor of Auburn University's Comer Hall bears the biographical plaques of the Hall of Honor recipients.
Jerry Newby, president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, long-time Extension specialist Dallas Hartzog and Lowndes County cattle farmer Harold Pate will be inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Honor during the Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association's annual banquet and awards program Feb. 22 in Auburn.

Also during the ceremonies, the alumni group will present Pioneer Awards posthumously to B. W. Appleton of Gainesville, Ga., and John Cottier of Auburn. The Pioneer Awards are presented to individuals who had a significant impact on Alabama agriculture during their lifetimes.

The Ag Alumni Association established the Hall of Honor in 1984 to honor and recognize living Alabamians for the leadership they have shown and the role they have played in strengthening the state's agricultural industry. Each year, three new members are voted into the Hall of Honor -- one from production agriculture, one from the agribusiness sector of the industry and one in the area of education/ government.

Newby, a Limestone County row crop and cattle farmer who holds a business administration degree from Athens State University, is the honoree in the agribusiness category. He was recently elected to his seventh straight two-year term as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama's largest farm organization and a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). Prior to his election as president, he served as a vice president of the Federation and as a member of its board of directors.

Also a member of the AFBF board of directors and its Foundation for Agriculture, Newby served on the Alabama Board of Agriculture and Industries and is a past board member of Cotton Incorporated. He also has served as a delegate to the National Cotton Council for Alabama and as a member of the NCC Producer Steering Committee. He is a past secretary of Southern Cotton Growers.

Newby, who is part of a diversified family farm operation in north Alabama and south Tennessee along with his father, brother and seven other family members, was president of the Limestone County Farmers Federation for 14 years.

He began his involvement in the organization as a member of the Young Farmers Program, serving as Limestone County's chairman, and then as chairman of the State Young Farmers Committee. He also served on the American Farm Bureau's Young Farmer & Rancher Committee.

Hartzog, who retired in 2007 as an agronomist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at the Wiregrass Regional Research and Extension Center in Headland, is known throughout the South for his contributions to the peanut industry, including soil fertility and cultural practice research. He is being inducted in the education/ government category.

His research focused on row spacing, tillage, sub-surfaced drip irrigation, center-pivot irrigation, calcium requirements of the new peanut cultivars, yield sustainability in a reduced tillage environment and integrating cattle in a sod-based rotation with peanuts and cotton.

Hartzog, who holds masters and bachelor's degrees from Auburn University, worked to develop sustainable peanut, cotton and livestock cropping systems. He earned the Distinguished Career Award from the Extension System and, in 2001, was named Man of the Year in Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine.

Pate, who is being inducted in the production category, has been one of the state's top Charolais cattle producers for more than 50 years.

A staunch advocate of performance records, Pate measured and analyzed all performance data available to select the best genetics to produce top quality seedstock. He relies heavily on performance data collected from sire summaries, Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association (ALBCIA) central bull evaluations and steer feed-out evaluations. He also uses the performance data from his Lowndesboro cattle farm, Pate Charolais. In 2006, the ALBCIA presented Pate with the Richard Deese Award for his role in upholding the principles of performance testing and genetic improvement in beef cattle.

A former president of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association (ACA) and the ALBCIA, Pate was inducted into the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame in 1987. As a charter member of ALBCIA in 1964, he helped pave the way for today's cattlemen. He was Alabama Cattleman of the Year in 1977, ALBCIA Seedstock Producer of the Year in 1986 and the 1997 American International Charolais Association's Producer of the Year.

Pate has also assisted with youth livestock programs, hosted field days and volunteered to assist with judging teams. Pate also served as a leader in several state and national breed associations and helped to establish the Alabama Junior Cattlemen's Association.

The Hall of Honor's first class consisted of three members, with not more than three new members to be added each year. In later years, the selection process evolved to identify individuals from three primary sectors of the industry -- agribusiness, production and education/ government.

In May 1995, the Agricultural Pioneer Award was established to posthumously recognize individuals whose lives and work impacted the industry.

Each year, in conjunction with the association's annual meeting, a banquet is held to honor that year's recipients and their families. Biographical plaques of the Hall of Honor recipients are placed on the first-floor walls of Comer Hall. A plaque for the Pioneer Award is also located in this area with a brass plate listing each year's recipients.

For more information about this year's awards, contact Elaine Rollo at (334) 844-3204 or email rollome@auburn.edu.

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