Auburn University alumni group to recognize Alabama agricultural leaders Feb. 4

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The Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association will honor five individuals who have made significant contributions to the state's agricultural industry during the 2016 Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor banquet, set for Thursday, Feb. 4, at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National. The center is located at 3700 Robert Trent Jones Trail in Opelika.

The five honorees, chosen by a vote of the association's members, include three new Hall of Honor inductees and two Pioneer Award recipients. Pioneer Award recipients are recognized posthumously.

This year's Hall of Honor inductees are Jim Cravey of Shalimar, Florida, recipient in the agribusiness sector; Wayne Thames of Evergreen, production-sector honoree; and education/government inductee Stanley Wilson of Auburn. Pioneer Awards will be presented to the families of the late Walter "Sonny" Corcoran of Eufaula and the late Ralph Harris of Auburn.

Cravey is a Florala native who held various leadership positions with the Alabama Farmers Federation during his 34 years there, retiring in 2004 as Commodity Department senior director and Dairy Division director. He temporarily returned to the workforce in 2013 to serve as interim executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. He now operates a farm and hunting lodge in Covington County with his brother, Albert.

Thames is a Conecuh County cattle farmer and a member of the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame. A past president of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, Thames also served on the Alabama Agricultural Development Authority and USDA's Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board.

Wilson was assistant dean of Auburn's College of Agriculture and associate director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station from 1975 to 1980, when he was named the university's vice president for agriculture, home economics and veterinary medicine. He held that position until 1985. The Andalusia native was also a cattleman who, on retiring from that operation in 2001, donated his Angus herd and all his farming equipment to the College of Agriculture's Beef Teaching Unit. The unit was subsequently named in his honor.

Pioneer Award honoree Ralph Harris spent more than 40 years as a faculty member and then department head in Auburn's Department of Animal Sciences, where he taught animal nutrition and was a favorite among students. A member of the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame, Harris was a native of Winfield.

Corcoran was a Barbour County farmer who played a key role in the implementation of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program in Alabama. He held leadership roles in numerous organizations, including the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Peanut Producers Association and the National Cotton Council.

A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the banquet at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person; opportunities for corporate sponsorships are also available. Ticket and sponsorship reservation forms are online at For more information, contact Amanda Martin at (334) 844-8900 or

The Agricultural Alumni Association established the Hall of Honor in 1984. The awards banquet is held each year in conjunction with the association's annual meeting. Learn more about the Hall of Honor at

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