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Three added to Agricultural Hall of Fame

The N.C. Agricultural Hall of Fame now has three new members following the induction of John Holman Cyrus, Fred N. Colvard and Marshall W. Grant. 

• Cyrus, of Raleigh, was a pivotal figure with regards to the state’s tobacco industry, serving for 37 years with the N.C. Department of Agriculture in various capacities, including Tobacco Program Administrator. In the early 1950s, Cyrus established an annual comprehensive tobacco market report. Later, he planned and developed a service program focused on improving quality and marketing practices. That program also encouraged closer cooperation and understanding between tobacco growers, warehousemen, dealers and manufacturers.

• Colvard, of Jefferson, was a progressive and entrepreneurial farmer who helped develop crops suited to the North Carolina mountain areas. He was one of the first to commit 40 to 50 acres of land to growing Christmas trees in the area, ushering in a new crop on a commercial scale. He also was among the first to use irrigation in the area to ensure high quality crops. But Colvard was better known for developing the blight-resistant Sequoia potato, which is credited with ending a potato famine in Peru.

• Grant, of Garysburg, helped establish the Boll Weevil Eradication Program, a voluntary assessment program for cotton farmers that continues today. In the late 1970s, cotton production in North Carolina had dropped from a high of nearly 2 million acres to around 40,000 due to boll weevil impacts. Grant soon realized that to be effective, control efforts would need to be broader to keep the boll weevils from migrating to nearby fields, other regions and other states. Grant volunteered North Carolina as a trial location for the National Cotton Council’s eradication trial, helping to establish the foundation and structure for the Boll Weevil Eradication Program that exists today. In 1985, North Carolina declared the state boll weevil free.

Established in 1953, the Agricultural Hall of Fame posthumously recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to agriculture in North Carolina and beyond. All three nominations received unanimous approval from the Hall of Fame Board of Directors. A ceremony honoring the three will be held at a later date.

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