LITTLE ROCK — The  Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame will induct six individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to Arkansas agriculture, the state’s largest industry.

The group will be honored at the 25th annual induction luncheon, 11:30 a.m., March 8 in the Ambassador Ballroom of Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel. Luncheon tickets are $35 each and are available by calling (501) 228-1470 or email [email protected]

The newest class includes:

  • Margaret P. Alexander of Little Rock (Pulaski County), retired district director and home economist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. During her career, Alexander dedicated her life to developing Home Economics and Demonstration clubs for women and 4-H girls. In 1980 she was promoted to director of the northwest district and as such, was the first woman to serve the CES in this capacity.
  • Dr. Lanny Ashlock, of Conway (Faulkner County), who has been known as “Mr. Soybean” in Arkansas for more than 20 years. An Extension soybean specialist and agronomist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, his field research led to the development of many innovations, including the shorter season Group IV and Group V varieties.
  • Jack R. England, Sr. of Rison (Cleveland County), who made significant contributions to the poultry industry worldwide and in Arkansas. Perhaps his greatest achievement was building a multi-million dollar business on the brokerage of hatching eggs at a time when there was no other model for this type of venture in the United States. This enterprise led to the shipment of hatching eggs to numerous international markets.
  • Matthew Post Sr., of Altus (Franklin County), a pioneer in the grape and wine industry in Arkansas for more than 60 years and chairman of the board of Post Winery. Among his notable accomplishments are the establishment of the Altus Viticultural Area in 1984, and development of a grape packing facility in 1985 which opened the door for numerous other grape growers to ship their fruit to northeastern U.S. and Canadian markets.
  • Leland Tollett of Springdale (Washington County), retired chairman and CEO for Tyson Foods, Inc. Under Tollett’s leadership, the company built or integrated 23 major production facilities and in 1989 acquired Holly Farms with its 16 processing plants which solidified Tyson’s position as the world’s largest poultry producer.
  • Donald W. “Buddy” Wray of Springdale (Washington County). During a career with Tyson Foods, Inc. that has spanned more than 50 years, Wray has served as president and now executive vice president – special assistant to the president and CEO. During this time he helped build a company that now contracts with nearly 2,000 farmers and employs more than 23,000 people in Arkansas.

The Agriculture Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Farm Bureau. It honors those who have made significant contributions to Arkansas agriculture, as well as community and economic development.


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