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Agriculture Hall of Fame to induct six new members

2013 class includes major contributors to agriculture

2/10/2014 at 12:36 p.m.

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

The group will be honored at the 26th annual induction luncheon, 11:30 a.m., March 7 in the Ambassador Ballroom of Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel. Luncheon tickets are $35 each and are available by calling (501) 228-1470 or email

The newest class includes:

  • R. Marion Berry, 71, of Gillett (Arkansas County), former presidential advisor to President William H. Clinton and former member of The United States House of Representatives. Berry was a tireless champion for agriculture. During his time in Washington D.C., Berry fought to ensure rural America was not slighted or overlooked. Among his greatest accomplishments, Berry served on the House Agriculture Committee during the writing of the 2002 farm bill.
  • O.H. “Doogie” Darling, 85, of Crossett (Ashley County), retired forester of Georgia-Pacific Corporation. Darling has been revered as one of the most respected leaders in forestry for five decades. The former commissioner of the Arkansas Forestry Commission managed three million acres of Georgia-Pacific’s timberland at the peak of his career. Darling was one of the first pioneers of a landowner assistance program that provided scientific timber management advice and forestry services to southern Arkansas farmers struggling to make ends meet following the Depression and World War II.
  • Leroy Isbell, 89, of England (Lonoke County), owner and operator of Isbell Farms. Isbell pioneered zero grading of rice fields in Arkansas that led to tremendous water savings and many other benefits for agriculture. As a result of zero grading his rice fields and being the first to harvest Japanese rice varieties in the United States, Leroy and his son Chris were recognized as 1996 Rice Farmers of the year by Rice Farming Magazine.
  • Ruben H. Johnson, 83, of Magazine (Logan County), retired employee of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Johnson worked in a variety of capacities while in the Cooperative Extension Service, ultimately becoming its interim director. His greatest accomplishment would come with the initiation of the research verification program, a program that took research and applied it to actual farming situations through on-farm demonstrations.
  • Keith Lusby, 65, of Fayetteville (Washington County), retired professor and head of the Department of Animal Science at the University of Arkansas. Lusby was responsible for a major Animal Science Department renovation and building program where more than $10 million was raised. His efforts increased scholarship endowments, enrollment numbers and faculty positions to the program, all making the UA Dept. of Animal Science a national leader.
  • J. Keith Smith of Hot Springs (Garland County), the late pioneer in the development of the broiler industry in south Arkansas which presently employees 42,000 Arkansans and contributes $2.8 billion statewide. Smith was CEO of the Keith Smith Company, Inc. and his innovative work built the poultry industry in Arkansas to its national prominence.
The mission of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to build public awareness of agriculture and to formally recognize and honor individuals whose selfless efforts have led to significant contributions to agriculture’s impact on the prosperity of local communities and the state. The Agriculture Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Farm Bureau.

For more information contact:

Steve Eddington
(501) 228-1383
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203


Ken Moore
(501) 228-1512
PO Box 31, Little Rock 72203

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