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Legendary Leaders To Be Inducted Into Alabama Ag Hall Of Honor

Legendary Leaders To Be Inducted Into Alabama Ag Hall Of Honor
February 1, 2017 |

The Auburn University (AU) Agricultural Alumni Association will honor five men who impacted Alabama agriculture at the 2017 Alabama Agriculture Hall of Honor banquet Feb. 9 at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center.

The five include three Hall of Honor inductees and two recipients of the Agricultural Pioneer Award, presented posthumously.

2017 Hall of Honor inductees are L.O. Bishop of Cherokee, ag production honoree; Edgar “Eddie” Aldridge of Hoover, agribusiness honoree; and education/government inductee Benjamin Hajek of Auburn. Families of the late Loren Aldridge of Hoover and James Helms of Montgomery will receive Pioneer Awards.

Bishop began farming at the age of 15 and, in the 65 years since, has become known as one of Alabama’s leading pork producers. He’s also known for his mouth-watering Bishop’s Barbecue. For his leadership in Alabama agriculture, Bishop received the Alabama Farmers Federation Service to Agriculture Award and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Agricultural Leadership Award. The Federation nominated Bishop for the Hall of Honor.

Eddie Aldridge developed many new cultivars of ornamental plants and shrubs throughout his career, including the Snowflake hydrangea, an oakleaf hydrangea mutation he and his father, the late Loren Aldridge, discovered, propagated, patented and introduced.

Hajek was an AU College of Agriculture faculty member for almost three decades. His research resulted in greater accuracy in defining the characteristics of soils, which guided improved farm management practices nationwide. Hajek served as state cooperator in the National Cooperative Soil Survey and led Auburn’s soil judging team to four national championships.

Loren Aldridge, a 1926 Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) graduate in agricultural education, began his career as a vegetable farmer. His farm evolved into a greenhouse and nursery business. Aldridge founded the Bessemer Floral Company and Aldridge Garden Center and Nursery in Birmingham and served as Alabama Florist Association president.

Helms, an API agricultural engineering graduate, established and led API’s teaching farm for 13 years. He then began a 40-year career in farm equipment sales with Helms and Sons Tractor Co. in Montgomery, during which time the Montgomery County Farmers Service and Welfare Association presented Helms its Community and Economic Development Award. He also served as Agribusiness Advisory Committee president.

For more information, contact Luke Knight at (334) 844-2393 or luke.knight@auburn.edu.

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