The late Hank Chamberlin of Monticello, whose leadership and service brought distinction to Arkansas agriculture, is among the six Arkansans who will be inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.
The inductees include Chamberlin, the late W.H. (Bill) Caldwell of Rose Bud, retired poultry executive Gary C. George of Springdale, rice farmer David Hillman of Almyra, longtime Cooperative Extension rice specialist Bobby Huey of Newport and cattleman John Frank Pendergrass of Charleston.
The group will be honored at the 28th annual induction luncheon, set for March 4 at 11:30 a.m. at Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel.
“I am always amazed at the hard work and success that is reflected by those elected to the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame,” said Butch Calhoun of Des Arc, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame and former Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture. “This group is a representation of the diversity and achievement of our agricultural industry.”
Agriculture is truly one of the great success stories of our state, and the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame exists to recognize those who have helped elevate agriculture in our state and have worked to make a positive impact on the lives of so many people, Calhoun said.
“Their work and accomplishments reflect well on agriculture, said Calhoun.”They all stand for the positive benefits agriculture provides to this state. It will be a special day of celebration when they are inducted.”
Hank Chamberlin founded what is now the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, the only forestry school in the state. He launched the forestry program with a mere three students in 1945. He remained as head of the forestry school until 1972 and continued teaching until 1980. The following year, he was selected as a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters. In 1994, he was an inaugural inductee in the Arkansas Forester’s Hall of Fame.
Bill Caldwell had his hand in many agricultural endeavors, operating a dairy farm, a feed mill business, Caldwell & Sons Eggs and Sidon Mountain Brangus Ranch. Under his guidance, his feed mill, Caldwell Milling, grew to more than 100 employees and seven locations around the state. It received numerous honors through the years, including Purina’s President’s Award for leading in sales. Caldwell was also a community leader, playing a major role in the formation of the town of Rose Bud, where he served on the town council and as mayor.
Gary C. George is chairman of the board of Georges Inc., leading a family poultry business started in the 1920s by his late grandfather, C.L. George. George was appointed president of George’s, Inc. and is subsidiaries in 1980 at the age of 30. In 1994, he was named CEO. Under his leadership, the company grew to include operations in multiple states and more than 4,700 employees. George has held positions on the Poultry Federation, the American Egg Board, the National Chicken Council, the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, and the boards of Legacy National Bank and J.B. Hunt Company.
David Hillman, currently state representative for District 13, is one of just 10 men to serve as president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the state’s leading agricultural advocacy organization. A rice farmer, Hillman has served on the board of Producers Rice Mill, the USDA Crop Advisory Committee (Rice) and the U.S.A. Rice Council board. He is past chairman of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board and served as a director for the Arkansas County Conservation District. In 1980, he was chosen Arkansas Outstanding Young Farmer and, in 1984, he and his family were selected as North Arkansas County Farm Family of the Year.
Bobby Huey spent 33 years with University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, including 20 years as a rice specialist at the organization’s experiment station in Stuttgart. During his long career, Huey received numerous honors, including an Extension Specialist of the Year Award, an Arkansas Farm Bureau Service Award, John White Outstanding Extension Award and a “Friend of the Farmer” Award from Riceland Foods Inc.
John Frank Pendergrass is a fifth-generation cattle farmer on Pendergrass Ranch in Franklin County. As president of Pendergrass Cattle Company, he has built one of the top beef herds in the state, earning him recognition as 2008 Arkansas Stocker of the Year by the Arkansas Cattelmen’s Association and the 2008 National Stocker Award from Beef magazine, representative of the top stocker herd in the United States.
The mission of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to build public awareness of agriculture and to formally recognize and honor individuals whose efforts have led to the prosperity of local communities and the state.
Luncheon tickets are $35 each. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available by calling (501) 228-1470 or emailing [email protected]