Contributors to Alabama agriculture to be honored at February Hall of Honor banquet

AUBURN – The Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association will honor five distinguished Alabama agriculturists during its 2012 Hall of Honor banquet, Thursday, Feb. 23, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center beginning at 6:15 p.m. Three of those honored will be inducted into the Hall of Honor and two will be honored posthumously.

The three inductees into theĀ  prestigious Hall of Honor will be Herman McElrath of Guntersville, the honoree in the agribusiness sector; Rudy Schmittou of Auburn, from the education and government sector; and Ben Bowden of Eufaula, representing the production agriculture sector. The Hall of Honor recognizes living Alabamians who have made significant contributions to agriculture in the state.

The alumni group will present its posthumous Pioneer Awards to the late George Blake Jr., a long-time faculty member in entomology at Auburn; and the late William M. Warren, a former head of the Department of Animal Sciences.

McElrath was one of the early leaders in establishing Alabama’s poultry and egg industry, first as co-owner and later as general manager of a highly successful commercial egg operation, and has served as a leader in the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association. Schmittou, who was a faculty member in Auburn’s fisheries and allied aquacultures department for many years, is an internationally known aquaculturist whose influence ranges from west Alabama, where he helped establish a catfish cage culture initiative, to Asia and multiple other countries where he helped teach fish farming. Bowden is a row crop farmer who has been a leader in adopting the latest innovations in sustainable farming practices and has served as a national leader and spokesman for agriculture and sustainable farming.

Tickets to the Hall of Honor banquet, which is held in conjunction with the Agriculture Alumni Association’s annual meeting, are $50 per person, and opportunities are available for corporate sponsorships. Sponsorship levels include: Platinum at $2,000 which includes eight banquet tickets; Gold at $1,000 which includes four tickets; Silver at $500 which includes two tickets; and Bronze at $250 which includes one ticket.

The deadline to order tickets is Feb. 9. Order forms are available online at or by contacting Elaine Rollo at (334) 844-3204 or

(Written by Jamie Creamer.)

Contact: Jamie Creamer, College of Agriculture, (334) 844-2783 (, or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (