Five men who have made significant contributions to Alabama agriculture were honored by the Auburn University (AU) Agricultural Alumni Association during its annual banquet and awards program Feb. 17 in Auburn.Three of the honorees–Tom Beaty, Cecil Lane and Bryson James–were inducted into the association’s Agricultural Hall of Honor, while Benjamin Duggar and Troy Patterson were honored posthumously with the association’s 2004 Pioneer Awards.Beaty, a Coosa County native who now lives in Auburn, founded Universal Blanchers in Blakely, Ga., in 1978. The company, which prepares peanuts for further processing into candy and other food products, has been a key influence in the development of the peanut industry in the Southeast. Beaty’s more than 40 years of work in the industry have led to improved profits for peanut farmers and to safer, more affordable peanut-based foodstuffs for consumers. Lane, a resident of Benton in Lowndes County, is a charter member of the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame and a long-time member of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, where he has held numerous positions. Lane, who owned Lane Cattle Co. until his retirement in 2002, has devoted much of his life to the study, development and growth of the beef cattle industry.James, a Florence native and now a resident of McMinnville, Tenn., has been active in the nursery industry for many years. James is a former professor and director of the University of Florida’s Agricultural Research Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is former co-owner of Cardwell Orchards in Tennessee. Currently, he is a consulting horticulturist and also serves as director of horticultural research for the Southern Nursery Association. Patterson, a native of Mississippi who joined the AU animal science faculty in 1957, was a much-revered professor and scientist who pioneered research on crossbred beef cattle for Alabama and the Southeast. He also helped establish the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association and statewide performance testing programs for beef bulls and was a member of the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame. Patterson retired from Auburn University in 1986 but remained active in the Auburn community until his death in 2002. Duggar, a native of Hale County’s Gallion community, was a botanist who earned his master’s degree from Auburn in 1892. During his career, Duggar taught at Harvard, Radcliffe and Cornell universities and at the University of Wisconsin and worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of Illinois. Nationally recognized as an exceptional plant pathologist, Duggar retired from academia in 1943 and went on to work for Lederle Laboratories, a division of American Cyanamid Co., where he helped isolate an organism that produced the antibiotic aureomycin. He died in 1956.The Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association was founded in 1981 by alumni and friends of AU’s College of Agriculture to promote unified support for Auburn, its agricultural program and the ag industry.In 1985, the association established the Agricultural Hall of Honor and since has inducted three leaders in Alabama’s agriculture industry as members each year. Hall of Honor inductees–including one individual each from the areas of production agriculture, ag education and agribusiness–are nominated by Ag Alumni Association members based on their past and current contributions to agriculture in Alabama and are voted on by the group’s board of directors. Plaques honoring the 60 inductees to date are on display in Comer Hall on Auburn’s Ag Hill.The Pioneer Awards are presented to honor two individuals posthumously for their past service to agriculture. The awards are presented to the honorees’ surviving spouses and/or children.
Three Inducted Into Agriculture Hall of Honor