Lavern Brown grew up on a dairy farm in northeast Mississippi. After graduation from high school, he farmed for several years before being drafted into the army in 1942. After World War II, he graduated from Mississippi State University and the next day went to work as superintendent of the Northeast Mississippi Branch Research Station. He helped build that research station, and was hired by Auburn University in 1949.
He helped establish the Lower Coastal Plain Substation in Camden and built it into a nationally recognized center for livestock and forestry research. During his work at the Lower Coastal Plain
Substation, Mr. Brown was a leader in the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and was inducted into the Alabama Livestock Hall of Honor in 1982. He was also instrumental in development of the Alabama Crop Improvement Association was that group’s Man of the Year in 1984.
In 1972, Mr. Brown came to Auburn as the first head of the Department of Research Operations. The Poultry Complex, Forest Products Lab, Crop Improvement Association Building, and most of the agricultural buildings on the south side of Auburn’s campus were built under his supervision. E.V. Smith Research Center and the Solon Dixon Forest Center were also built under his leadership.
Lavern Brown was married to the late Cecile Bardwell Brown. They have a daughter Elizabeth Brown and son David Brown, who live in New York City, and a son, Edward Brown, who lives in Clarkesville, Tennessee.