Rison’s England to join state’s Agriculture Hall of Fame


LITTLE ROCK — Rison’s Jack R. England is among six Arkansans who will be inducted into the state’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, the hall announced Monday

England’s contributions to the poultry industry include building a multimillion-dollar business on the brokerage of hatching eggs at a time when there was no model for that type of venture in the U.S. The enterprise led to the shipment of hatching eggs to numerous international markets. England, 91, was recently inducted into the American Poultry Hall of Fame.

The other honorees, who will be inducted along with England in a March 8 ceremony, are:

• Margaret P. Alexander of Little Rock, retired district director and home economist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. During her career, Alexander was dedicated to developing Home Economics and Demonstration clubs for women and 4-H girls. In 1980 she was named director of the northwest district, becoming the first woman to serve the Cooperative Extension Service in that capacity.

• Lanny Ashlock of Conway, 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.

• Matthew Post Sr. of Altus, 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 accomplishments are the establishment of the Altus Viticultural Area in 1984 and development of a grape-packing facility in 1985 that opened the door for numerous other grape growers to ship their fruit to northeastern U.S. and Canadian markets.

• Leland Tollett of Springdale, retired chairman and CEO of 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, solidifying Tyson’s position as the world’s largest poultry producer.

• Donald W. “Buddy” Wray of Springdale. 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 25th annual induction luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. on 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 emailing aghalloffame@arfb.com.

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