Richmond Young Bailey


Richmond Young Bailey was born near Wadley, Alabama, in 1893. He grew up on his father’s farm, where he developed his love for the land. He entered Auburn University in 1912 and received the B.S. in agriculture, with a major in agronomy and soils, in 1916. Bailey began his agricultural career as a county agent in Randolph County, and worked in various capacities for Auburn until 1934, including seven years as agronomist for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station.

In 1934, Bailey became the first employee of the U.S. Soil Erosion Service in Alabama, the agency that became the USDA Soil Conservation Service. His first SCS job was director of the Buck and Sandy Creeks Soil Erosion Project with headquarters in Dadeville. The next year, he became the first coordinator (head) of SCS in Alabama. In 1936, he was named chief of the regional agronomy division of SCS, and in 1950 became regional representative. He promoted crimson clover and sericea and was largely responsible for the introduction of Kentucky 31 fescue and bahiagrass into Alabama and the Southeast.

Bailey received numerous honors and recognitions, including Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy in 1946, Fellow of the Soil Conservation Society of America in 1951, “The Progressive Farmer” Man of the Year in 1941, and Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America in 1985. He has made significant contributions to the Alabama Sheriff’s Girls Ranch near Camp Hill.

His wife is Mary B. Bailey, formerly of Aliceville.