Auburn Agricultural Alumni group to honor five for contributions to state’s agriculture

AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association will pay tribute to five individuals for the significant contributions they have made to the state’s agricultural industry during its 2014 Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor banquet, Feb. 13 at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National in Opelika.

Three of the five honorees will be inducted into the association’s Hall of Honor, including Jimmy Sanford of Prattville, representing production agriculture; Abbeville businessman Lester Killebrew Sr., the honoree from the agribusiness sector; and Albert McDonald of Huntsville, recipient in the education/government category.

Sanford, a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees and chairman of the board of HOME Place Farms LLC., is a fourth-generation cotton producer on land his great-grandparents began farming in 1881; he also is chairman of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation and the Alabama Cotton Commission and is a member and leader in numerous agribusiness and business organizations at the local, state and national levels. Killebrew is chairman of the tri-state John Deere dealership SunSouth LLC and is president and CEO of Henry Farm Center Inc. and ValCom Wireless and CCS Technology Centers. McDonald is a veteran Madison County cotton farmer who served as an Alabama state senator from 1974 to 1982 and as Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries from 1983 to1991.

Also during the banquet, the association will honor the late James Collins of Cusseta and the late Dale King of Opelika with 2014 Agricultural Pioneer Awards, given posthumously to individuals who played a role in shaping Alabama agriculture. Collins was a successful cattleman and a leader in the state’s beef industry, and King was an Auburn Department of Poultry Science head, professor and researcher and was responsible for introducing the concept of laying cages to the state’s poultry industry.

The Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National is located at 3700 Robert Trent Jones Trail, Opelika. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the banquet at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets to the 2014 Hall of Honor banquet are $50 per person with the deadline Jan. 30 to order tickets. Opportunities for corporate sponsorships at the platinum, gold, silver and bronze levels also are available. Ticket and sponsorship reservation forms are available online at http://www.ag.auburn.edu/alumni/hall-of-honor/.

(Written by Jamie Creamer.)

Contact: Amanda Martin, College of Agriculture, (334) 844-8900 (amanda.martin@auburn.edu),
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)