Published on 10/01/09

Georgia Agriculture Hall of Fame

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia

Wallace Beggs and Johnny Crawford, two pioneers in Georgia agriculture, were inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Athens Sept. 25. The Hall of Fame is a program of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Beggs is a world renowned expert in poultry breeding. Crawford was a charter member of the UGA Cooperative Extension Cotton Team and head of the UGA Extension plant pathology department.

Before beginning his career in the poultry industry, Beggs earned a degree from UGA and taught agricultural education. He then began a 40-year career with a poultry business now known as Fieldale Farms. He experimented with cross breeding various poultry lines and worked with feed operations to create improved birds. He oversaw the building of Fieldale’s corporate headquarters, and was the project leader for the Fieldale’s first feed mill. By his 1992 retirement, Fieldale’s Mill Operation was the world’s largest privately-owned feed mill.

Crawford earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from UGA and began his career as the Extension cotton plant pathologist on the campus in Tifton. Recognizing cotton’s potential in Georgia, Crawford worked with researchers, county agents and farmers to implement effective production methods. His nematode control, irrigation, variety selection and crop management work laid the foundation for a Georgia cotton production rebound, from a low of 100,000 acres in the ’70s to over a million acres every year since 1995.

During the banquet, CAES also recognized Kristen McWhorter, Dixie Truelove and John Wilkinson with the Alumni Association's Awards of Excellence. These are given to CAES alumni who have achieved excellence in their chosen field and the community.

CAES Alumni Association Young Alumni Achievement Awards went to Beth Bland, Carrie Lynn Fowler, Clint Tolbert and Rachel Waters. The award recognizes alumni, 35-years-old or younger, who have achieved excellence in their field and/or community.

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.