During the annual Georgia Peanut Farm?Show and Conference awards luncheon, which took place at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, the Georgia Peanut Commission presented a variety of awards to individuals that have contributed to the advancement of the peanut industry. Tyron Spearman has the story.
Below Press Release from Georgia Peanut Commission
The Georgia Peanut Commission presents the following awards to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of the peanut industry. The awards are presented during the Georgia Peanut Farm?Show and Conference awards luncheon on Jan. 17, 2019, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.
Distinguished Service Award – Marcus Evans, Georgia Peanut Commission
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to Marcus Evans, director of field services and industry information for the Georgia Peanut Commission. Evans retired in October 2018 after 31 years of service on behalf of Georgia’s peanut farmers. He has shown a true dedication to the peanut and agricultural industry through the years and has dedicated his life toward bettering the livelihood of farmers.
In his role at GPC, Evans coordinated GPC representation at Extension grower meetings throughout the state, served on the Georgia Peanut Tour Committee and coordinated many of the promotional activities at GPC. Some of the specific activities he coordinated include the exhibits at the Sunbelt Ag Expo, Georgia Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau, Georgia Young Farmers Association, Georgia School Nutrition Association, Georgia Dietetics Association, as well as peanut festivals in Georgia. Evans also coordinated a variety of promotions including sporting event promotions with University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and the Atlanta Braves, as well as Georgia Peanut Bank Week and partnerships with Georgia 4-H.
Through the years, Evans served on committees with the American Peanut Council and National Peanut Museum. In 2015, Evans was awarded honorary membership by the Georgia Young Farmers Association.
Before beginning his career at GPC, Evans worked for Allied Chemical in Metropolis, Illinois, and Nutrien Ag Solutions (formerly Crop Production Services) in western Kentucky as a chemical and fertilizer salesman. He currently resides in Tifton, Georgia, with his wife Rhonda. Together they have seven children and 13 grandchildren.
Research and Education Award – Dr. Corley Holbrook, U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Georgia Peanut Research and Education Award is presented to Dr.?Corley Holbrook, research leader for the USDA-ARS Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton, Georgia. He also has over 30 years of experience in peanut breeding and genetic research. Holbrook has published over 500 technical publications, and delivered numerous invited presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Peanut Research and Education Society (APRES), and the Crop Science Society of America. Holbrook has also served as president of APRES. He developed ‘Tifguard’ – the first peanut cultivar with resistance to both the peanut root-knot nematode and tomato spotted wilt virus. Holbrook recently released TifNV-High O/L which combines these resistances with the high oleic characteristic. He also served as a co-chair of the Research Steering Committee for the Peanut Genomic Initiative. Holbrook led the work to develop structured population and to phenotype these populations for economically important traits. This has resulted in the identification of numerous genetic markers that can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all U.S. peanut breeding programs.
Media Award – Brad Haire, Southeast Farm Press
The Georgia Peanut Media award is presented to Brad Haire, editor of Southeast Farm Press. Raised in South Georgia, Haire has covered the South’s diverse agriculture for more than 20 years, working with daily and weekly newspapers, as news director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, editor of Farm Progress Companies Southern Farmer, and now as editor of Southeast Farm Press. His stories and photographs about agriculture have been published across the country. His video work has appeared on television stations in Georgia and websites across the region. He has contributed to segments for NBC and CBS affiliates, CNN, Animal Planet, PBS and National Geographic, too, and has produced a daily farm radio show. He’s won a handful of national awards for Extension educational materials. He lives in South Georgia with his wife, Teresa, and their two children Brandon and Charlee.
Special Award – Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture
The Georgia Peanut Special Award is presented to Georgia’s Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. For more than 35 years Commissioner Black has championed sound state and federal policies impacting food safety, science-based environmental stewardship and agricultural marketing. Recently being elected for his third term, Commissioner Black remains committed to fostering growth in Georgia’s No. 1 industry. Black devoted many hours to recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael this past fall and helped farmers have a voice nationwide on the damage to agriculture in?Georgia.
Black’s love of agriculture was first sparked on his family’s farm in Commerce. He became an active member of the Commerce FFA and was elected president of the Georgia FFA Association in 1975. Black attended the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where he earned a degree in agricultural education and interned with Sen. Herman Talmadge and the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture. Upon completing his degree at UGA, Black worked for Georgia Farm Bureau as the Young Farmers coordinator for seven years before being named president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, where he served for 21 years.
Commissioner Black was first elected in November 2010 and immediately set out to retool the Department of Agriculture so it could continue to serve farmers and producers in a 21st century economy. Georgia Grown – the Department’s marketing and economic development arm – was revitalized as a business-minded program that seeks to help Georgia producers find new markets and consumers. As part of the Department’s new goal to bolster local economies and local food systems, the Department of Agriculture and Georgia Grown launched the Feed My School program which aims to connect local school systems with producers in their area. In recognition of these successes, Commissioner Black was named Georgia Trend Magazine’s Georgian of the Year in 2017.
Despite all this, Gary W. Black would rather be referred to as Lydia’s husband and Ward and Caroline’s dad. He and Lydia continue to raise commercial beef cattle on his family farm in Commerce. The Blacks are also active in the Sunday school and music ministries of Maysville Baptist Church.
Special Award – American Peanut Shellers Association
The Georgia Peanut Special Award is presented to the American Peanut Shellers Association in recognition of its 100th anniversary. The APSA is a non-profit trade association, composed of commercial peanut shellers and crushers. Chartered on April 5, 1919, the association is the oldest organized group in the peanut industry. The primary purpose of the American Peanut Shellers Association is to promote the common interests of those engaged in the peanut shelling industry and more particularly, those in the Southeastern states.
The Association consists of both active (commercial peanut shellers and crushers) and associate members (other affiliated businesses). The Association provides a unified base and forum for members working closely together to advance the industry, both at home and abroad. APSA provides information to all of its members, as well as a multitude of items to aid in marketing and sales. In addition, APSA is involved in various peanut promotional projects throughout the year. The active members of the Association are the founders of both The Peanut Institute and The Peanut Institute Foundation.
The American Peanut Shellers Association is a co-sponsor of the annual USA Peanut Congress – the largest meeting of all segments in the peanut industry. This conference allows the members an opportunity to meet and discuss affairs with key industry figures worldwide.
Special Award – University of Georgia Tifton Campus
The Georgia Peanut Special Award is presented to the University of Georgia Tifton Campus in recognition of its 100th anniversary. Originally formed as the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in 1919, the campus is now known as the University of Georgia Tifton Campus. It is one of three campuses that form the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, along with the Athens and Griffin Campuses.
For 100 years, UGA-Tifton has been committed to the land-grant mission supporting Georgia’s peanuts farmers. In 1949, scientist James Shepherd developed and tested the first peanut combine. Current combines implement many of the same concepts as first developed by Shepherd. Also, the UGA-Tifton Peanut Team has been instrumental in developing management strategies to counter tomato spotted wilt virus, a devastating disease in the mid-90s. The team is comprised of scientists from different disciplines who are dedicated to help grow an industry that produces half of the United States’ peanut crop.
UGA-Tifton is celebrating its campus Centennial this year, which will culminate with a special event on May 3, 2019, the official date the campus was formed in Tifton, Georgia. There are 76 scientists on campus. Students can also stay close and go far at UGA-Tifton by studying in one of four undergraduate programs and two graduate masters programs. UGA-Tifton has an economic impact of $83 million. It also operates the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, whose yearly impact on the local economy is $5 million. UGA-Tifton is among the top five employers in Tift County, Georgia.