Former county agent and longtime Extension employee Joe Love was named the winner of Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award for 2009 at the organization’s annual meeting in early December.

Love retired from the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service after 30 years of service to Mississippi agriculture and was coordinator of the state’s largest farm show, the Delta Ag Expo, for many years.

Love passed away on March 26, 2009.

Farm Bureau President David Waide said, “Joe Love has worked closely with farmers across this state for many years and was instrumental in starting the Rice Promotion Luncheon in Cleveland, Miss., which has become a wildly successful annual event.”

After graduating from Mississippi State with a degree from the College of Agriculture, Love began his Extension career as assistant county agent in Washington County, Miss.

He worked with 4-H clubs and volunteer leaders and helped kids purchase show animals that would do well in county, district and state livestock shows.

Love was a very active participant in the Mississippi Association of County Agricultural Agents, serving in all the offices of leadership and he received that organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 1987.

Love was awarded the prestigious Extension Worker of the Year Award in 1998. He served Extension well for 30 years before retiring in 1999, but he did not quit serving agriculture. He continued to be involved in the local Cattlemen’s Association and other volunteer roles. He also went to work for Pioneer.

“When it comes to being a service to the farmers of Mississippi,” said Waide, “there are very few individuals who can say they’ve done more than the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service Award.”

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor Farm Bureau bestows on an individual and it is reserved for someone who has truly made a difference in the lives of Mississippi farmers.