November 25, 2014

Agricultural alumni group honors five for contributions

AUBURN, Ala.—The Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association recently announced the 2015 inductees into the Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor and the 2015 Pioneer Award recipients. The five will be recognized for their contributions to Alabama agriculture during a banquet Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center.

Chosen by a vote of the association’s members, each year’s inductee class includes three Hall of Honor members along with two Pioneer Award recipients. Pioneer Award recipients are recognized posthumously.

This year’s Hall of Honor inductees are Eric Cates of Greenville, Milborn Chesser of Fyffe and A.W. “Buck” Compton of Nanafalia. Pioneer Awards will be presented to the families of the late William Dumas and Claude Moore, both of Auburn.

 Cates is life-long farmer who, at 96, continues to manage the 1,600-acre Century Farm that has been in his family since 1818. In addition to farming, Cates is a former state representative who co-sponsored current-use property tax valuation legislation and has served as a leader of multiple statewide agricultural organizations.

Chesser is a retired poultry farmer and graduate of Alabama Polytechnic Institute who, concerned by the lack of financing available to poultry producers in the state, helped found the Bank of Fyffe, now Horizon Bank. Chesser served for more than two decades as secretary-treasurer of the Alabama Farmers Federation and is a charter life member of the Auburn Agricultural Alumni Association.

Compton, also a graduate of API, owns one of the South’s largest Charolais cattle herds and has held leadership roles in a number of agricultural organizations, including serving as president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, the American International Charolais Association and the Beef Cattle Improvement Association, which named him Seedstock Producer of the Year in 1998.

Pioneer Award recipients Dumas and Moore share the distinction of having been long-time faculty members in what is now the Auburn University College of Agriculture. Dumas, an API graduate who went on to become an agricultural engineering professor and researcher, is known for his tillage, weed control and insecticide research. During his 35-year career with the university, he oversaw the Agricultural Research Unit in Marvyn, Alabama, and was a favorite teacher and mentor to generations of students.

Moore was a professor of poultry science who served 27 years as the department’s head before becoming the college’s interim dean for research. A graduate of API, Moore was a geneticist who was a leader in the development of Alabama’s poultry industry during the 1980s. He served as president of the international Poultry Science Association and is a member of the Alabama Poultry Hall of Fame.

Tickets to the 2015 Hall of Honor banquet are $50 per person; opportunities for corporate sponsorships are also available. Ticket and sponsorship reservation forms are online here. For more information, contact Amanda Martin at 334-844-8900 or

The Agricultural Alumni Association established the Hall of Honor in 1984. The awards banquet is held each year in conjunction with the association’s annual meeting. Learn more about the Hall of Honor and Pioneer Awards here.



Auburn University College of Agriculture
Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station
AUBURN, AL 36849
334-844-2783 (PHONE)