November 14, 2012
Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources honored three area residents with Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Awards during its annual Pig Roast at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall. The Pig Roast also features scholarship donors, recipients and intercollegiate judging teams.
The annual outstanding agriculturalist awards recognize individuals for contributions to various areas of Texas agriculture. This year’s recipients are Kevin Igo of Plainview for agricultural production, Richard Ridgway of Flower Mound for public service, and Joe Hurst of Idalou for agribusiness.
The outstanding agriculturalist awards, established in 1969, are named for Gerald W. Thomas, who served as dean of Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences from 1958 to 1970.
The Plainview native currently farms 3,000 acres of land, with crops including corn, cotton, wheat, milo, cucumbers, soybeans and alfalfa. He also runs 225 head of Black Angus cattle and operates a feedlot/finish yard with background cattle. Igo has produced and raised 14 Breed or Reserve Breed Champion steers at major Texas stock shows in Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston. Along with being a crop consultant in his area, he’s also the president and owner of Halfway Farm Chemical, Inc. He has been a Hale County 4-H adult leader for more than 28 years, as well as a member of the Hale County Stock Show Board and Texas 4-H Foundation Board.
The Flower Mound resident serves as the president of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation, where he’s initiated a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the World Food Prize Foundation to promote a broader understanding of agriculture and to demonstrate the importance of scientific knowledge. Previously he served in research and leadership positions with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in both College Station and Beltsville, Md. He received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Texas Tech in 1957. His master’s and doctorate in entomology are from Cornell University (1959, 1960).
The Idalou resident is currently general manager of Hurst Farm Supply, which was established in 1955 by his father as a Lorenzo John Deere dealership. Hurst developed a process for trading and selling late model, used cotton stripers that enabled the firm to earn the title of the nation’s top cotton stripper dealer for John Deere. The company has dealerships in Lubbock, Slaton, Crosbyton, Colorado City, Snyder and Abernathy. Hurst is a long-time supporter of FFA, Texas Boys Ranch, Women’s Protective Services and the American Museum of Agriculture. He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Texas Tech in 1979.