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For Immediate Release

Agriculture Hall of Fame to induct five new members 2010


Class includes leaders in beef cattle, conservation and Extension efforts

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame will induct five men whose leadership and service have brought distinction to Arkansas agriculture, the state’s largest industry.

The group will be honored at the 22nd annual induction luncheon, 11:30 a.m., March 12 in the Ambassador Ballroom of Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel. Tickets to the luncheon are $35 each and are available by calling (5­­01) 228-1470.

The newest class includes Philip Alford Jr. of Lewisville (Lafayette County), a founding member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association; Devoe Bollinger of Horatio (Sevier County), who led the effort to eradicate brucellosis from cattle herds in the state; Mark Bryles of Blytheville (Mississippi County), who led a significant increase of cotton acreage while an extension agent in Mississippi County; Jack Jones of Pottsville (Pope County), who helped create the LeadAR program in Arkansas; and Leonard Sitzer of Weiner (Poinsett County), who developed one of the most successful rice farming operations in northeast Arkansas.

Alford has been instrumental in bringing changes to agriculture in southwest Arkansas. He introduced stocker cattle grazing operations and, by organizing drainage districts, helped convert thousands of acres of non-productive bottomland into productive crop and pasture land. He was one of the founders of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association in 1958 and has been a mentor to many wanting to establish their own stocker operations.

Bollinger’s career has been devoted to improving the image of the cattle rancher. He served three terms on the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, two of those as chairman. In that role, he led the effort to hire an epidemiologist and begin a program of calfhood vaccinations to protect livestock from brucellosis. Because of his efforts, the state is now brucellosis free. He has spent his life supporting and mentoring Arkansas youth and was among the first to commit to help the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture rebuild its animal science program.

Bryles helped lead the revival of cotton as the primary crop in Mississippi County. His career as an agent with the UofA Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service spanned 35 years, 22 of those in Mississippi County. By helping growers adopt new technologies, cotton acreage increased from 34,500 acres in 1983 to 200,000 in 1997 with yields nearly tripling during the period. He has received numerous awards for his leadership, innovation and service. A former president and active leader with Mississippi County Farm Bureau, Bryles has spent his life as an outspoken advocate for agriculture, recruiting and training volunteer farm leaders in the county.

Jones is a second-generation farmer and rancher from Pope County and has given much of his adult life serving the state’s largest industry. He spent 24 years on the Arkansas Farm Bureau board of directors, 17 of those as vice president. He helped establish the Ag in the Classroom program and served on the committee which formed LeadAR, the Cooperative Extension Service’s professional development program. He has given many years to his community, serving 30 years on the county fair board and 12 years on the Pottsville School Board, in addition to being a member of the Petit Jean College Board of Trustees.

Sitzer’s life is a testament to hard work, dedication and leadership. With only a 10th-grade education, he returned from duty in World War II to build one of the most successful rice farming operations in Poinsett County. An avid outdoorsman and wildlife conservationist, he has hosted duck hunts for numerous dignitaries, including former president Jimmy Carter. He spent 33 years on the Riceland Foods board of directors and 21 years as director and associate director of the Poinsett Production Credit Association. He is a Diamond Life Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited and was named the 1998 Arkansas Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year.  

The Agriculture Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Farm Bureau. The program honors those who have made significant contributions to Arkansas agriculture, as well as community and economic development.

Follow the links below for detailed biographies and photos of each inductee:

 

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 220,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

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For more information contact:

Steve Eddington
steve.eddington@arfb.com
(501) 228-1383
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

or

Ken Moore
ken.moore@arfb.com
(501) 228-1512
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

 

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