Rex A. Martin and Donna Pugh Johnson were named recipients of the Southern Crop Production Association's highest awards for service at the group's 48th annual meeting at Charleston, S.C.
Martin, who is with Syngenta, was honored with the William C. Larue Award, for outstanding service to SCPA and the crop protection industry by an organization member. “The person chosen must exemplify the highest standards of honor and integrity and must have acted in some capacity to materially advance the accomplishment of SCPA's goals,” said Ed Duskin, the group's executive vice president.
“Rex's knowledge and expertise make him invaluable to the crop protection industry and a very worthy recipient of this award.”
The award was named for William C. Larue, SCPA's executive secretary for 14 years.
A long-time active member of the SCPA State Affairs Committee, under Martin's leadership the committee assisted state associations and agribusiness councils to pass anti-crop destruction bills in nearly all Southern states.
“He and the committee have monitored state legislation and have lobbied for effective and fair legislation for our industry,” Duskin noted. “They held our fourth annual State Affairs Issues Summit in October — an event that continues to grow in popularity, with its informative programs and networking opportunities.”
Martin began his sales career with Ciba-Geigy Corp., which evolved into Syngenta, at Amarillo, Texas, later moving to Des Moines, Iowa, as an environmental issues specialist.
He then became a public relations manager for the Crop Protection Division at Greensboro, N.C., and in 1995 moved to Springfield, Mo., where he serves as state government relations manager. His responsibilities include managing state legislative and regulatory issues in 15 states, covering most of the South. He serves on the Alabama Agribusiness Council, has chaired SCPA's State Affairs Committee for the past two years, and recently was recipient of the Missouri Corn Growers Association's President's Award.
SCPA's highest award for service to agriculture and the ag chemicals industry by a person outside the association was presented to Donna Pugh Johnson, president of the Virginia Agribusiness Council.
The award, honoring the late Don W. Beise, recognizes Johnson for “her leadership and effectiveness in working with agribusiness and legislators in her state,” Duskin said. “She is a good liaison for our SCPA State Affairs Committee and is an active communicator on issues of importance to agriculture and our industry. Her knowledge and enthusiasm continually strengthen our industry.”
Under her leadership, he noted, many bills favorable to the industry have been passed by the Virginia General Assembly. Bioterrorism against the agriculture industry was included as a crime in legislation that was passed.
In 2002, the groundwork was laid for the state to add the position of Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, with implementation likely in July, 2003.
“Funding was approved for an agricultural Best Management Practices cost-share program,” Duskin said, and the council has been successful in securing approval of legislation to authorize the forfeiture of membership or patronage equity to agricultural cooperatives when the member can't be located.
“Thanks to Donna's and the council's efforts, Virginia was the first state in the mid-Atlantic area to pass an anti-crop destruction bill,” he said. “After a great deal of negotiation and support from legislators, proposals from the governor regarding weight limit violations for motor vehicles were amended to eliminate any adverse impact to agribusiness in 2001-02.”
Johnson is a member of the board of directors for the Ag in the Classroom Foundation, president elect of the Virginia Society of Association Executives, an honorary member of the Virginia FFA Association, past president of the Friends of the Industry of Agriculture, and former executive secretary of the Colonial Agricultural Educational Foundation.