Hale honored for longtime service to agriculture

Published 11:16 pm Thursday, November 10, 2011

Randy Hale, district conservationist, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, is the recipient of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Farm-City Committee 2011 Service to Agriculture Award.

Under Hale’s leadership, as chairman of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Farm-City Committee, the Pike County Farm-City Committee was named the 2010 Best Farm-City Committee of cities less than 35,000 and also received a National Farm City Award as one of the committees that does an outstanding job of promoting the partnership between the urban and rural communities.

Jeff Knotts, county executive director Pike-Bullock FSA, said Hale’s leadership played an important role the committee’s recognition on both the state and national levels.

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“I have worked with Randy for about 10 years and I’ve known him to be nothing less than professional,” Knotts said. “He has been a strong supporter of agriculture in Pike County and has been very good for Pike County on the conservation side. He is always willing to help other agencies to make sure what needs to be done gets completed.”

Tammy Powell, who recently retired as Pike County Extension coordinator, had a working relationship with Hale for 25 years.

“Through Randy’s job with the NRCS, he provided the technical expertise to farmers, landowners and the municipalities in the county,” Powell said. “Extension was the education arm so we worked together often. He is someone who can be depended on and trusted to do his job and do it right.”

Powell said Hale has always been a ready voice for many of the county’s civic clubs and a strong community supporter.

“Randy has been involved in different avenues in the community as well as in the agricultural community,” she said. “He is dedicated to his work and is constantly trying to improve and learn more things. As things change, he changes with them.”

Hale is a native of Cherokee County and was raised on a small farm with a grade B dairy.

“Our farm produced cotton, corn, forages and beef cattle,” Hale said. “We always had a big garden and I participated in 4-H for 13 years and was the state winner in gardening in 1967. I was also in FFA, so I was around agriculture all of my early years. I just had a passion for agriculture and I wanted to be in some form of agriculture when I ‘grew up.’”

Hale received a degree in agriculture from Auburn University in 1972 and went to work with the NRCS upon graduation.

He has worked with the NRS for 37 years and counting, 34 of those years have been in Pike County.

“When Gail and I came to Troy, we didn’t know one person,” Hale said. “But we were made to feel right at home and we’ve been ‘at home’ ever since. I enjoy my work and I enjoy dealing with people. The NRCS has been a good life for me.”

Hale admitted that he is “retirement age” and is considering purchasing a comfortable rocking chair “before too long.”

“I do think about retirement often,” he said. “But, when I do retire, I’ll still stay involved with agriculture in some way. I’ve been a member of the Pike County Farm-City Committee for 34 years and that’s something I would probably want to continue when I retire.

“I enjoy gardening, work working, electrical work and appliance repair, especially the repair of antique appliances. But right now, I’m still working and I enjoying it. Retirement can wait… a little while.”