Wednesday, January 13, 2010

AFBF honors Irvin with distinguished service award

The American Farm Bureau Federation honored Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin with its Distinguished Service Award in its closing session January 11 in Seattle, Wash.

Recipients are nominated by their home state Farm Bureaus in an extensive application documenting accomplishments and contributions to American agriculture on international, national, state and local levels. Former recipients include former Senators Sam Nunn and Bob Dole and Senator Mitch McConnell and other national agriculture leaders.

“It is an honor to have been nominated by the president of my state’s Farm Bureau and to be accepted into the distinguished company of those chosen before me,” Irvin said.

The nomination application detailed many of the commissioner’s efforts to improve Georgia agriculture which led to changes on the regional and national levels and impacted world opinion of U.S. agriculture. Irvin initiated an agriculture international trade division in the Georgia Department of Agriculture, an effort that has put Georgia products on menus throughout the world. In addition to the expansion of markets for Georgia’s agricultural products, Irvin’s aggressive programs to eradicate and control animal diseases and plant pests helped to stabilize the economic climate and establish a quality benchmark for the state’s products.

Irvin has given more than 54 years in public service, more than 41 as the state’s agriculture commissioner. He plans to retire at the end of this term at the beginning of 2011.

The Georgia Farm Bureau paid tribute to Irvin at its December annual meeting with a video about his career and life highlighting many of his agricultural accomplishments.

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