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Info offered on 2012 Ag Hall of Fame inductees

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The following individuals will be part of the sixth annual class of inductees into the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame:


Paul Agee


Agee was born on a farm 5 miles west of Lebanon on Aug. 4, 1909. His father raised Duroc Hogs and gave Paul one at an early age.He lived and breathed hogs from this moment on. At 16 he was showing hogs at local fairs; winning ribbons and becoming known for his Durocs pure bloodlines.Paul purchased a farm on Old Lebanon Road in late 1939. He married Mamie Grigsby in 1941. In addition to Duroc Hogs, they raised Hereford Cattle, Suffolk Sheep and bird dogs. Paul and Mamie were members of First Baptist Church and were founding members of Trinity Baptist Church. He was active in the Wilson County Hereford Breeders and was Vice President in 1955. He also served that year as Secretary for the Tennessee & Tennessee Valley Duroc Breeders Association. Paul was an original incorporator of Wilson Farmers Co-op. He was on the Board of the Wilson County Farm Bureau. He won Premier Sire five times in Memphis, Knoxville and Alabama, winning every year from 1965 through 1969, and Tennessee Premier in 1969. Paul served as Director of the United Duroc Swine Registry.Early in 1970, Paul was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away on Dec. 20, 1970. He was honored in the Tennessee State Fair Premium List. When describing Mr Agee, the Duroc News said Paul has probably shown at as many fairs and shown as many champions as any Duroc Breeder in modern times.


Betty Freeman


Freeman was born on Feb. 10, 1939 in Lewisburg.She married John Freeman in 1959 and had two children, Delane Smith and Brad Freeman, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She studied Equine Reproduction Management at Middle Tennessee State University and raised Tennessee Walking Horses all her life.Her breeding operation was known as Freeman Foals just outside of Lebanon.She bred and raised the 1997 World Grand Champion Walking horse Generators Santana, which is the only World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse to be bred and raised in Wilson County.She also bred and raised other outstanding Tennessee Walking Horses including Ironworks, Extra Ebony, Absolutely Armed, and Im a Buzzsaw. She served as the Executive Director and as a board member of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. Mrs. Freeman was the first woman in Wilson County to serve on the Wilson County Agriculture Committee and was the organizer of the Lebanon Charity Classic.In addition, she served on the board of Hearthside Retirement, was president of the Lebanon Jaycees and the Garden Club.She was a member of the College Hills Church of Christ.Mrs. Freemon passed away on May 23, 2007.


Newell Jenkins


Newell Red Jenkins was born on Sept. 14, 1929 in the Rawls Creek Community of Smith County. He married Thelma Bush in 1948 and has two children,Diane Jenkins Marsh and Darrell Jenkins as well as four grandchildren,Lorie Marsh, Aaron, Tabitha and Tiffany Jenkins.At the age of 7, he and his brother raised their first tobacco crop.In 1955, he moved to Wilson County and through the years he established a farm with more than 300 acres of improved pastures, eight farm ponds, one fishpond and 6 acres of grassed waterways.In 1962, he bought a Lime and Rock business at Rome, Tenn.When the state started construction of the five bridges that cross the Caney Fork River on I-40, he hauled all the rock for the pillars and for the beams built. Later he got out of the rock business and continued hauling lime. He has been named Wilson County Conservation Districts top conservation farmer two times and has served as a Wilson County Magistrate (County Commissioner) of the 7th District.He has been active in the Tuckers Crossroads Grange #1240 and the Wilson County Livestock Association serving on their Board of Directors and was named a Lifetime member.He hosted the associations annual field day on numerous occasions. Jenkins is an avid supporter of the Wilson County 4-H program and the University of Tennessee Extension Service. He isa member of Wilson County Farm Bureau, Wilson and Smith Farmers Cooperatives and Hillcrest Baptist Church. For numerous years he could be seen each night at the Wilson County Fair.You would find him and Thelma on the white benches near the main gate visiting with friends and neighbors.In 2007, they were honored to be named the Wilson County Fair Old Timers. He continues to raise beef cattle, hay and tobacco with help from his son and grandson.Some people have asked him, When are you going to retire?He tells them with a chuckle, when I get old enough.


Charles Willoughby


Willoughby was born in 1930 in Morristown, TN.He married Dorothy Roach of Columbia, TN in 1954 and has two children, Al and Don Willoughby as well as two grandchildren, Dale and Kate Willoughby. The family moved to Mt. Juliet in 1946 and purchased Greenhill Farm, which had been widely known for bringing registered Jersey cattle to the area. The family continued the dairy operation with grade Holstein cattle. Charles attended and graduated Mt. Juliet High School in 1947, before enrolling at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he began his agriculture major while playing football for two years.He transferred to UT Knoxville and completed his degree in Animal Husbandry in 1951, and returned home to Mt. Juliet.During these years, he continued to run the dairy operation with 80 cows, and raised the majority of corn, hay, and silage needed for feed along with tobacco. He received the honor of Outstanding Young Farmer for Wilson County. In 1965 he began teaching high school agriculture in Mt. Juliet while maintaining the farming operation. Charles accepted an appointment as Wilson County Vocational Director in 1975. After the dairy cattle were sold in 1980, the family transformed the farming operation into raising soybeans, wheat, beef cattle and hay. He served as Scout Master, and was presented with the Long Rifle award. He has served as president of Mt. Juliet Kiwanis, Mt. Juliet Little League and Tennessee Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. He has been a member of Hermitage and Cloyds Presbyterian Churches serving in Deacon and Elder positions. He has served on the Wilson County Commission, West Wilson Utility District Commission, and later on the Farm Bureau Board and UT Institute of Agriculture Development Board. He is a life member of FFA Alumni, and was recently recognized as a member of the Tennessee FFA Foundations Century Club.


The purpose of the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame is to recognize citizens of Wilson County who have made a significant impact on agriculture in Wilson County, Tennessee, nationally or worldwide, said Hale Moss, chairman of the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame.We feel the time is right to pay tribute to these very deserving individuals. As you can tell, each has made significant contributions to Wilson County Agriculture, as well as Wilson County in general.


Other members of the Board of Directors of the Wilson County Agriculture Hall of Fame are Ben Powell, vice chairman; Keith Harrison, secretary; Diane Major, treasurer; Ruth Correll and Stratton Bone.


The organizers have established a non-profit status for the organization to enable them to raise money to be used for a building on the Ward Agricultural Center to be dedicated to the individuals inducted into the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame.


Any funds raised over and above the costs of putting on the annual banquet will be set aside for the building, Major said.


Tickets for the April 3 banquet can be purchased from Major by calling 444-1890 ext. 3.The cost is $15 each.Jordans Catering will be preparing the meal that evening, which is another reason to join in on the festivities.


We want folks to come together to recognize these deserving individuals on April 3, Moss said. We owe these folks a great deal of gratitude for everything they have done for agriculture as well as Wilson County.

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