GAINESVILLE, Fla. May 21, 2008-The University of Florida chapter of the agricultural honor society Gamma Sigma Delta recognized three of the stateâ€™s agribusiness leaders and a retired extension director for their service at an annual awards dinner in Gainesville May 8.
The honorary named these four as winners of the Distinguished Service to Agriculture award, which recognizes long-term achievement and leadership:
J. Bryan Cooksey III, president of McCall Service Inc., a family-owned pest management and fuel oil company that dates back to 1928. He is active in Florida Pest Management Association Inc., having served as its president, regional director and a member of its Fertilizer Best Management Practices steering committee. Heâ€™s been active in Duval County as a champion of quality education for all children and has been an advocate statewide for well-planned growth that preserves natural resources.
Sherwood â€œBuddyâ€ Johnson, a third-generation citrus grower known for his ability to lead committees to consensus. He was among the first growers to recognize the need for commodity diversification and has counseled industry leaders to support UF research for the most promising alternative crops. As chairman of Farm Credit of South Florida, he helped write the federal Agricultural Credit Act of 1987. More recently, he used his board-governance skills to help restructure the board of CoBank, one of the nationâ€™s five farm credit banks.
Gene Mooney, executive vice president of Ben Hill Griffin Inc. He is active in the UF Alumni Association and the universityâ€™s capital campaign, Florida Tomorrow. He has been a member of the Florida Agricultural Council Inc., an organization of leaders who generate legislative support for research and education in agriculture and related industries. He has held manufacturing, sales and top management posts with major Florida citrus-related companies, including president and CEO of the former Orange-co Inc. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1970-1975.
Dallas B. Townsend, retired Hendry County extension director, who gave 39 years of service to UF. After starting his career as a Collier County extension agent, where he helped lead numerous 4-H livestock and meat judging teams to state and national championships, he spent 24 years as Hendry County extension director. Over the years, he received outstanding service citations from the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce, Collier County Board of County Commissioners, the South Florida Agricultural Council, Gulf Citrus Growers Association Inc. and the Collier County 4-H Advisory Committee. He was president of the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents and, in 1997, the Hendry County agricultural building was named the Dallas B. Townsend Agricultural Center.
Gamma Sigma Delta encourages advancement and improvement in all branches of the agricultural sciences and industry. It encourages high academic achievement, professional ethics and devotion to service by those who work in agriculture.
By Mickie Anderson, 352-392-0400, email@example.com