Gamma Sigma Delta honors exceptional leadership and service to agriculture

On April 22, the N.C. State University chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta (GSD), the Honor Society of Agriculture, honored new inductees and recognized alumni and faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for distinguished service and leadership. Among the honorees were Kendall Hill and Dale Bone, who were inducted as alumni members, as well as Dr. Nick Hamon, CALS Entomology adjunct faculty member, who received honorary GSD membership. Dr. Richard Reich, CALS Soil Science Department adjunct associate professor, who is also a College alumnus, received the GSD Certificate of Merit.

They were recognized during GSD’s annual banquet at the McKimmon Center, as were 27 CALS seniors and graduate students, along with 18 students from the College of Veterinary Medicine, who were inducted into the honor society.

Also during the banquet, Dr. Ken Esbenshade, CALS associate dean and director of Academic Programs, announced that Dr. Daniel Phaneuf, is the recipient of the 2009-2010 CALS Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award and that Brantley Elizabeth Snipes and Michael Taveirne are co-winners of the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. Snipes is a graduate student in landscape architecture and Taveirne a graduate student in microbiology.

In addition, co-winners of the J. Fulton Lutz Senior Achievement Award were announced. They are Emma Lookabaugh, a graduate student in plant pathology, and Katie Pound, a graduate student in agricultural education. The Lutz Award goes to a student who will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and who is committed to pursuing a career related to production agriculture.

Hill, of Kinston, is a leader and innovator among agricultural producers in North Carolina. A 1962 CALS horticultural science graduate, he is co-owner of Tull Hill Farms Inc., a progressive and diversified operation of 4,500 acres producing tobacco, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, soybeans, cotton, cabbage, peppers and other crops. He has served six terms on the board of the N.C. Sweet Potato Commission, including four terms as president, and served as the state’s representative to the U.S. Sweet potato commission. He initiated and supported pioneering research such as the micropropagation program for sweet potatoes, and he was instrumental in the creation of the College’s specialty Crop Program, helping the College obtain funding through the legislature and Golden LEAF. He continues to be a participant in College-related on-farm trials, field days and conferences.

Bone, who graduated from CALS with a double major in crop science and agricultural economics, is known as one of the state’s most successful agricultural businessmen. A Nash County native, he is one of the leading producers of cucumbers, melons, sweet potatoes, other produce and tobacco. He farmed more than 14,000 acres throughout his career under the banners of Dale Bone Farms Inc. and Nash Produce Co. Through partnership with N.C. State horticultural research and Extension faculty and his own activities, he has had a major impact in the development of the produce industry in the United States. He has also distinguished himself as an advocate for agribusiness among local, state and national policymakers. He is a past president of the National Council of Agricultural Employers. At N.C. State he is a guest lecturer in the Agricultural Leadership Development Program. He and his wife have also established the Dale and Genia Bone Scholars Endowment at the university to provide scholarships and educational support for migrant farm workers and their families to pursue a degree at N.C. State.

Dr. Nick Hamon of Raleigh, vice president for product development and sustainability at Bayer Environmental Sciences, is a scientist and innovative research collaborator who serves in the CALS Department of entomology as an adjunct faculty member. He has more than 25 years experience in the agricultural chemical and environmental science industry. He began his academic career at the University of Reading, where he received his bachelor’s degree in applied zoology and his Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Reading, Rothamsted Experimental Station, and University of Hertfordshire.

Hamon leads the global Bayer sustainable development initiative called “Protecting Tomorrow Today,” as well as managing a team of scientists dedicated to providing new products and technical support to the professional and consumer customers of BES. He is vice chairman of the N.C. Agricultural and Life Sciences Research Foundation and serves as ambassador for the College in speaking engagement across the country and around the world. He has been a corporate partner who has brought significant resources into College research programs.

The Service to Agriculture Award of Merit is given to those who have made distinct contributions to agriculture in teaching, research, administration or other service. Dr. Richard Reich of Raleigh received the award in recognition of the service he provides to the citizens of North Carolina. Reich serves as assistant commissioner, Agricultural Services, in the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). Initiated in Gamma Sigma Delta as a student at N.C. State, he holds three CALS degrees: a 1974 bachelor’s in agronomy, a 1976 master’s in soil science and a 1995 Ph.D. in soil science.

At NCDA&CS, he oversees Agronomic Services, Food Distribution, Marketing, Plant Industry, and Research Stations divisions along with the Small and Minority Farmers Program. He was instrumental in helping develop the strategic plan for the research station system in conjunction with NCARS.  He serves as a primary departmental liaison for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, N.C. State, N.C. Biotechnology Center, Biofuels Center of North Carolina, and North Carolina A&T State University.  He has developed and coordinated cooperative research, extension and educational programs at land-grant universities in 14 states. Among recent honors and awards he has received are the 2010 Meritorious Service Award from the N.C. Soybean Producers Association, the 2008 Achievement Award from the Soil Science Society of N.C. and the 2005 CALS Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Terri Leith

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