Four Mississippians were honored for their service to agriculture by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation at its recent annual meeting.

They are two state legislators, Sen. Buck Clarke of Hollandale and Rep. Greg Ward of Ripley, who were presented Friend of Agriculture awards; Farm Press Editorial Director Hembree Brandon, who was presented the Agriculture Ambassador award; and Mrs. Eddie Myrtle Moore of Pelahatchie, who was presented the Excellence in Leadership award.

Clark, who is chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, vice chairman of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Agriculture Committee, was cited for his work with Farm Bureau to pass legislation dealing with the tax on farms fighting the boll weevil, said David Waide, Farm Bureau president, who presented the award.

“The warehouse tax that farmers were paying needed to continue to be paid to the Boll Weevil Management Committee, and that’s what his bill did. We wanted to see that farmers who paid the tax still got the benefit.”

As rural representation in Mississippi government declines, “we must rely on our friends in the legislature to enact measures that support and strengthen agriculture,” Waide said.

Ward, who is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, was recognized for his work with Farm Bureau to pass disaster legislation for sweet potato farmers devastated by the extremely wet 2009 harvest season and for his efforts on a bill to stabilize the boll weevil eradication program.

“His leadership helped both of these bills become law, to the benefit of our state’s farmers,” Waide said.

Brandon was honored for his “thousands of columns and articles” in support of agriculture during his 37-year career at Farm Press.He was also commended for his assistance to Farm Bureau in their Farmers of Mississippi promotional campaign to educate the general public about agriculture and how it affects their daily lives.

The Agriculture Ambassador award “recognizes individuals who have gone beyond their normal range of activities in promoting Mississippi agriculture, Waide said. He noted that the award is not given every year, but “only when Farm Bureau feels it has been earned.”

Mrs. Moore was honored for her more than 40 years of service to Farm Bureau women’s programs.

“She was one of the first to promote the Ag in the Classroom program in schools in her country and district,” Waide noted. “She encouraged others to participate in Farm Bureau events and programs, including the toy drive for the Blair Batson Children’s Hospital, the Young Farmer Silent Auction, and women’s business sessions.

“She was very instrumental in collecting money and supplies for the Ronald McDonald House to celebrate Food Checkout Day, and she encouraged many others to participate in Women’s Day at the state capitol, when farm women met with legislators to discuss issues of importance to agriculture.

“She has been generous with her energy, money, and time to promote Mississippi Farm Bureau and Mississippi agriculture,” Waide said. “She has enriched many by her Christian example of volunteerism, her unselfish effort to enhance rural life in Mississippi, and her encouragement to get involved in worthwhile causes.”