A dedicated conservationist, a devoted voice of agriculture, and an innovative efficiency expert were among those Delta leaders recognized at the 2001 Annual Meeting of Delta Council in Cleveland, Miss., for the high standards they have set for the agricultural industry.

“It is a tradition for Delta Council to recognize the special accomplishments of those rare individuals who have set high standards in their respective fields of work,” says Kenneth Hood, Delta Council president for the year 2000-01.

The three longtime and widely respected Delta farm leaders honored at this year's meeting were Seymour Johnson of Indianola, Miss., Ed Hester of Benoit, Miss., and Charles Coghlan of Scott, Miss. Johnson received the Delta Council Conservation Farmer of the Year award, Hester received the Outstanding Rice Producer award, and Coghlan received recognition as the Delta's Outstanding Soybean Producer.

Trey Cooke, executive director of Delta FARM, calls Seymour Johnson's farming operation a conservation paradise. “It is the most environmentally sound and productive farm I've ever seen,” he says.

Hood agrees that the recipient of the 2001 Conservation Achievement Award “is a Sunflower County landowner and farm operator who has developed his farming operation into a conservation showplace where wildlife, waterfowl and intense agricultural production have found a comfortable home side-by-side.

“Delta Council's commitment to soil and water conservation is deep. And, the dedication of landowners and farm operators to conservation efforts such as the Delta FARM program and Delta Wildlife is a reflection of the priority which we place on responsible conservation stewardship,” he says.

The Delta Council conservation award is selected annually by the staff of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts from the Delta.

Ed Hester, a long-time farm leader who has devoted thousands of hours toward the advancement of Mississippi agriculture, was recognized at the Delta Council Annual Meeting for his achievements as one of the areas most widely respected and productive rice farmers.

“Rice production, processing and marketing represent a $500 million business in the Mississippi Delta annually and rice growers in this region lead the way in cost efficiency and price competitiveness when compared to other growing regions in the United States,” Hood says.

The 2001 soybean achievement winner operates a diversified cotton and soybean operation in Bolivar County, Miss.

“With prices sustained at extremely low levels for soybean producers, innovative production strategies are required in order to be a profitable soybean grower,” Hood says. The name Charles Coghlan is synonymous with hard work and a commitment to efficiency. Charles Coghlan has remained one of the most intensive farm managers of any cotton or soybean operation in the Delta.”

Other 2001 Delta Council Achievement Award winners include: Marty Fuller of Mississippi State University for his outstanding contributions to aquaculture and Larry Moore with Delta National Forest for the outstanding contributions to hardwood forestry.

The following awards were also presented at the meeting: Peter Hairston of Silver City, Miss., received the Outstanding Cotton Ginner Award; Aubrey Harris with the Delta Research and Extension Center received the Agricultural Researcher of the Year Award; Scotter Henderson of Hollandale, Miss., was named the 2000 Delta Campaign County Membership Chairman of the Year; and Gayden Metcalfe of Greenville, Miss., was named the 2000 Good Middling Lady of the Year.


e-mail: doreen_muzzi@intertec.com