Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame to induct six new members

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The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame will induct six new members at a March 4th luncheon.

The newest class includes the late W.H. (Bill) Caldwell of Rose Bud, the late Hank Chamberlin of Monticello, 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 11:30 a.m. on March 4 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.”

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. 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.

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.

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 its subsidiaries in 1980 at the age of 30. In 1994, he was named CEO. Under his leadership, the company has grown to include operations in multiple states and more than 4,700 employees.

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.

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.

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.

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.