Roy Eugene Stevenson
Born and raised in Harvest, Alabama, Gene Stevenson grew up less than 10 miles from the Tennessee line. In 1939, a loan from the Farm Security Administration instantly transformed the family of poor cotton farmers from renters to owners.
Gene and his brother, Bob, were impressed with Extension Service professionals who helped the family get established in farming. The boys became involved in 4-H programs, and the love of agriculture became firmly implanted.
After a brief tour in the U.S. Navy, Stevenson attended Auburn University and found his calling while attending journalism classes. He received a bachelor’s degree in ag science and journalism and began working for an ag-related publication in Nashville. Soon after marrying his long-time sweetheart, Mavis Mayberry, and after completing a second tour in the military, Stevenson headed back to Auburn, embarking on a career with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station that lasted more than 36 years.
Stevenson’s journalistic talents took root and continued to grow as he produced publications such as “Highlights of Agricultural Research”. For many years, his column “Research You Can Use,” was a regular feature in “The Progressive Farmer” magazine. Under his watchful eye, the vast amount of research conducted by Experiment Station scientists was communicated to end users, whether through scientific journals or the popular press. Stevenson’s expectations for himself and those with whom he worked were to get information out as quickly as possible and in a way that could be read, understood, and enjoyed.
Even after retirement in 1991, Stevenson continued to tell agriculture’s story. In 1997, he partnered with Joe Yeager to write “Inside Ag Hill”, a book that documents the people and events that shaped Auburn’s agricultural history from 1872 through 1999. Proceeds from sales of the book were used to endow a scholarship in ag journalism. Once that goal was met, further proceeds were donated to Ag Heritage Park.
All who know him say that Stevenson is a true Southern gentleman. He and Mavis have three children – Jane Martin and David and John Stevenson – and six grandchildren.