Former CALS alumni group president receives national FFA honor

Richard H. Brooks, a three-term president of N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Alumni and Friends Society, received the American FFA Degree during the 84th National FFA Convention, held Oct. 21-23 in Indianapolis. The award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment.

Brooks of Apex, who earned a 1979 bachelor’s degree in soil conservation from CALS, has a long history of involvement with the college. In 2000, he joined the board of advisors of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni and Friends Society.

In 2000, Brooks was elected vice president of the society and served three terms as its president, 2003-2006. He now sits on the Council of Presidents with other distinguished past presidents.

In his professional role in soil conservation, he provides technical soil and education services. He especially enjoys conducting regional and state FFA Land Judging Contests, which earned him the American FFA Degree.

Through volunteering, Brooks has continued to give back to the college and university. He has supported and volunteered at numerous events, including the CALS Tailgate, Gala in the Garden, the Celebrate NC Wines event, and the 4th of July Celebration, to name a few.

In 1979, Brooks began his career with the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation as a soil scientist. Brooks later became the Raleigh regional soil specialist from 1993-2001.

In 2001, Brooks became a soil data quality specialist with NRCS in Raleigh. In 2007, he accepted a position as resource soil scientist in the NRCS Area 3 office, and he is currently responsible for conducting wetland determinations and delineations in 20 southeastern counties.

Brooks has been a member of the Soil Science Society of N.C. since 1978. He is a past president and has been recognized by the society with the Soil Science Society of North Carolina Achievement Award.

Brooks was born and raised in Wilson and is the son of George and Jeanette Brooks. He graduated from Ralph L. Fike Senior High School, where he served as drum major for the marching band. He entered N.C. State University in fall 1975.

Brooks lives in Apex with his wife of six years, Julia. His son Forrest is a senior in biological engineering at N.C. State. In Apex, Brooks serves as president of Citizens Assisting Police of Apex and is a member of the Community Emergency Response Team.

He says he will continue to serve as an ambassador to the soil science profession, to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and to his community.

Other recognitions that Brooks has received include:
• College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumnus Award
• Meritorious Honorary State FFA Degree, N.C. FFA Association
• Outstanding Service Awards from Division of Soil and Water Conservation
• Commendable Service Award from N.C. Department Environment and Natural Resources
• Service award for leadership and dedicated service, N.C. Board for Licensing of Soil Scientists
• Certificate of Merit, USDA-NRCS

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of more than 523,000 student members – all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture – as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

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