The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame will induct six individuals in its 31st class. The group will be honored with an induction luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 2, at Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel.
The newest class includes attorney Bill Bridgforth of Pine Bluff, weed scientist Ford Baldwin of Austin (Lonoke County), retired agriculture educator Lew Brinkley of Jonesboro, fruit breeder John Clark of Fayetteville, timber executive Peggy Clark of Arkadelphia and the late Adam McClung of Vilonia, according to a news release.
• Bridgforth is senior partner in the law firm of Ramsay, Bridgforth, Robinson and Raley, where he represents the legal needs of farmers and ranchers in Arkansas and throughout the United States. He is a frequent speaker across the country on agricultural and regulatory matters. Bridgforth has worked with agriculture committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in an effort to ensure the nation’s farm programs are beneficial to production agriculture, according to the release. Bridgforth received the C.E. Ransick Award for extraordinary service from the Arkansas Bar Foundation in 2005, was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame by the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation in 2012 and was the 1993 recipient of the Harvey W. McGeorge Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture in Arkansas, presented by the Pine Bluff Rotary Club. A native of Forrest City, Bridgforth earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas in 1962, followed by a law degree in 1964.
• Baldwin is retired from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and now operates Practical Weed Consultants, while writing regularly for the Delta Farm Press. His 43 years of assistance to farmers (27 with the Cooperative Extension Service and 16 as a consultant) have resulted in improved weed control and environmental stewardship, according to the release. While herbicide-resistant weeds continue to challenge famers, Baldwin is one of the country’s top experts on combating this problem. Baldwin earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D from Oklahoma State University.
• Brinkley has taught three generations of students at Arkansas State University, spending his 46-year career there as a professor of agricultural economics, department administrator, student advisor and mentor. When he retired from full-time service in 2005, the ASU College of Agriculture alumni established the L.E. Brinkley Endowment for Student Development to provide ongoing support of student activities. Brinkley earned an undergraduate degree at Lambuth University in 1964, followed by his master’s (1966) and Ph.D (1969) in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee.
• John Clark is one of the country’s preeminent experts in the field of fruit crop genetics and breeding. As distinguished professor in the department of horticulture at the University of Arkansas, he has been recognized with many awards, including the National Association of Plant Breeders Impact Award. His development of the thornless, large-fruited blackberries was just the first of many innovations in the blackberry industry. His most meaningful success might well be the development of new genetics and production practices that will enable the availability of fresh blackberry fruit year-round. Clark earned undergraduate (1978) and master’s (1980) degrees is horticulture from Mississippi State University. He earned a Ph.D in plant science from the University of Arkansas in 1983.
• Peggy Clark is owner and manager of Clark Timberlands and has been synonymous with sustainable forestry for almost 40 years. Peggy Clark assumed the role of manager of the family timber, cattle and real estate investment business in 1987 after the death of her father, Charles Clark. She has grown the timber business to encompass timberland in eight south-central Arkansas counties and includes other real estate investments, a livestock auction, and a working farm and cattle ranch. She was the first woman appointed to the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the first female president of the Arkansas Forestry Association, the first woman to serve as president of the national Forestry Landowners Association and the first female elected to First Commercial Corporation’s board of directors. She is a a graduate of the University of Arkansas (1971).
• McClung was executive vice president of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association from 2009-17, generating membership growth over that span and creating the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Class, designed to develop leadership skills for tomorrow’s agricultural leaders. McClung died Aug. 6, 2017, at the age of 37. His relentless efforts to bring positive change to the beef industry, and all of agriculture, spurred the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to recognize him in 2014 as one of 15 “Champions of Change” from across the country. McClung attended Eastern Oklahoma State College and Oklahoma State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science from OSU.
Tickets for the March 2 luncheon are $35 each. Tickets and tables of 10 are available by calling 501-228-1609 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.