The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame plans to induct five individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state’s largest business sector.
The newest class includes retired University of Arkansas educator Dr. L.B. (Bernie) Daniels of Fayetteville; Ed Fryar of Rogers, the founder of Ozark Mountain Poultry; UA professor Dr. Donna Graham of Fayetteville; UA distinguished professor Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen of Fayetteville; and David Walt of Dumas, a retired soybean farmer.
The group will be honored with an induction luncheon, set for 11:30 a.m., March 1 at Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel.
“This class of inductees includes entrepreneurs, researchers, educators and agricultural leaders,” says Butch Calhoun of Des Arc, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame committee. “The broad reach of these five individuals has been felt in every corner of Arkansas, from the delta flatlands to the pastures of western Arkansas.
“I have said this before and it bears repeating; agriculture is one of the great success stories of our state. We are pleased to bring recognition to these individuals who have impacted our state’s largest industry in such a positive way.”
The new selections will bring to 169 the number of honorees in the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, encompassing 32 classes of inductees.
Dr. L.B. (Bernie) Daniels retired in 2001 from the University of Arkansas, having first joined as a faculty member in 1969. He bracketed his tenure as a faculty member with a decade of service as Associate Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station in Fayetteville. A native of Thornton, Daniels began his collegiate experience at Southern State College (now Southern Arkansas University) in Magnolia, and earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Arkansas.
He earned a doctorate at the University of Missouri. As a faculty member, he taught more than 5,000 students in classes ranging from Introduction to Animal Sciences to Neonatal Physiology and Bio-Energetics. He published more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles and helped advance the understanding of ruminant nutrition for both dairy and beef cattle.
Dr. Ed Fryar started Ozark Mountain Poultry in 2000 after working 13 years as a professor of agricultural economics at the UA. He grew the business to more than 1,800 employees and processing more than 1.2 million chickens per week.
OMP focused on antibiotic free and non-GMO chicken products, servicing the retail and foodservice channels with its Forester Farmers Market brand. In just more than a decade, OMP experienced significant growth in both our customer base and our product offerings – with sales reaching more than $280 million.
Dr. Donna L. Graham has spent almost 50 years with the University of Arkansas System starting in 1970 with the Cooperative Extension Service in Jefferson County. In 1985, she moved to the Fayetteville campus as a faculty member in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and served 10 years as associate dean for academic programs.
Graham has received numerous teaching and advising awards including the Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence as well as recognition as a Distinguished Alumna from the UA Alumni Society. As a faculty member, Graham created curriculum to effectively train future Extension agents and strengthen the college core. A recent effort led to the creation of Ag*Idea, a consortium of 12 universities to share agriculture courses online.
Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen is an international leader in rice research, particularly in processing and drying of the cereal grain. He serves as distinguished professor and director of the University of Arkansas Rice Processing Program, which he started in 1994.
The ARPP is an industry-interactive, multidisciplinary effort focusing on rice processing operations and has sponsors from across the United States, South America, Europe and Japan. Siebenmorgen began his faculty career at the UA in 1984 as a food engineer, working in several areas of food processing.
Since the late ’80s, he has focused on rice processing in response to the strong need for research from the food industry. Among his many industry awards are being selected as Riceland Foods’ Friend of the Farmer in 2012 and receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Rice Technical Working Group in 2016.
David Walt is owner of Camp David Farms in Dumas and a longtime leader in row-crop agriculture, raising soybeans, cotton and rice. He is known best as an aggressive and unyielding advocate for the soybean industry.
Walt began farming in 1962 after returning home from the University of Arkansas, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He farmed for many years with his brother, Martin. Walt spent five years (1962-67) in the Arkansas Air National Guard and a year (1968) on active duty with the U.S. Air Force.
Although he retired from “full time” farm work in 2007, Walt remains active (especially at harvest time) on the family farm, where the fifth generation of the Walt family carries on.
He was especially keen on agricultural research,and was an active participant in numerous land improvement, soil conservation and seed variety projects. Walt was appointed to serve on the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board in 1987 by then-Gov. Bill Clinton and served for 16 years on that committee, being reappointed by Govs. Jim Guy Tucker, Mike Huckabee and Mike Beebe.
The mission of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to build public awareness of agriculture and to formally recognize and honor individuals whose efforts have led to the prosperity of local communities and the state.
Luncheon tickets are $35 each. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available by calling (501) 228-1609 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau contributed this article.