Fifteen plaques of those selected for the inaugural class of the Daviess County Agricultural Hall of Fame were unveiled Tuesday evening at the Owensboro Convention Center.
Clint Hardy, Daviess County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, said, “People approached us last summer, saying that Daviess County agriculture has played a significant role in the region, and we should recognize those responsible. We formed a committee to select the first class.”
Fifteen were selected.
Hardy said one or two more will be added each year.
Grady Ebelhar, a farmer and historian, said none of those selected is still living.
He said he started researching who should be selected last spring.
William Rapier, born in 1869, is the oldest on the list, Ebelhar said.
Sponsors can request to show the plaques in their businesses for awhile, he said.
But they will eventually be displayed at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.
“There are still a lot of worthy people not on it, Ebelhar said.
Hardy said the Hall of Fame’s mission “is to recognize visionaries, founders, servants and innovators of agriculture in Daviess County.
They were selected in three categories.
Business: People involved in successful agricultural business management/ownership, which served to improve the lives and opportunities for farm families in the region.
• Charles Field, founder of Field Packing Company, longtime purchaser and processor of locally-produced cattle and hogs.
• The Foors Family, founder of Velvet milk company, longtime purchaser and processor of locally-produced milk.
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• The Miles Family, founder of Miles Farm Supply and Enterprises. Purveyors of crop production resources, services and innovation.
• The O’Bryan Family, founder of Owensboro Grain and longtime purchaser and processor of local soybeans.
• William Rapier, established the Curdsville fair and livestock exhibition, later established Rapier Grain and Feed on the current site of Owensboro Grain Company.
Service: People who led successful careers in the agricultural service sector whose efforts led to improved lives and opportunities for farm families in the region.
• Frank Cox, soil scientist who accomplished the soil type and classification survey of Daviess and Hancock counties.
• Tom Curtsinger, cooperative extension agent responsible for initiating the Farm/City Breakfast and Ag Expo. He led countless leadership opportunities and provided resources that strengthened the Daviess County Farm Bureau and Lions Club.
• Paul Irish, longtime adult vocational agriculture instructor who developed rules pertaining to the grain yield contests and began the Daviess County Grain Yield Variety Demonstration plots.
• Charles Loyal, longtime Soil Conservation District leader who was instrumental in education pertaining to no-till adoption and soil erosion reduction practices.
• Jack McClure, longtime Cooperative Extension Agent responsible for service related to rural electrification adoption by farms throughout the county. Responsible for leadership involved in organizing the Daviess County Farm Bureau and largely responsible for education and demonstration of the importance in improving soil fertility through lime addition.
Production Innovation: People who experienced risk with acceptance and demonstration of new farming production enterprises and techniques that led to wide adoption and improved lives and opportunities for farm families in the region.
• William Crabtree, tobacco grower responsible for the tobacco warehouse and auction market development in Owensboro.
• J.C. Ellis III, landowner responsible for providing rental land necessary to establish several farming families in Daviess County and early adopter and promoter of the commercial produce production opportunity in our area.
• William Foster, beef cattle and tobacco farmer, provider of superior beef breeding stock throughout the Ohio Valley. He was one of three people who represented Kentucky in Washington, D.C., in an effort to develop the tobacco quota program.
• Murray Hagan, farmer and commercial seed producer. He was instrumental in the adoption and expansion of hybrid seed corn acres. One of the key authors for the KY Certified Seed laws.
• Charles William Hayden, farmer and one of the first to transition from black forage soybeans to the modern yellow soybeans. He increased yields by introducing improved varieties from Indiana and was one of the first to possess a self-propelled combine in Daviess County.