AGRICULTURE WAS his destiny and after more than 50 years of dedication to an industry he served and led, David Bennett of Ashland, Miss., was awarded one of Mississippi's highest honors for service to agriculture.

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation named Bennett, a farmer from Benton County, as the 2002 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award.

Bennett worked as a school teacher and an agricultural Extension agent and served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, all while establishing a premier row-crop operation in northeast Mississippi.

“The cotton industry owes David Bennett a great debt of gratitude,” said David Waide, MSFB president. “Thanks to him we have a successful boll weevil eradication program in our state.”

During the turbulent 1990s, when eradication programs were being established in his area, Bennett spoke openly and convincingly of his belief that Mississippi should enter a boll weevil eradication program and held several leadership roles for the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation.