The 2015 Hall of Distinction Induction Ceremony was held on March 5, 2015 at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge.
Combining his love of aviation and agriculture, Edwards Barham is honored posthumously for his contributions to cotton, rice, corn and soybean farming, as well as agricultural aviation and higher education.
As a farmer, Edwards was a certified flight instructor with a vision of improving crop dusting. He formed an agricultural aerial application business that used a variety of aircraft for pest management. Working with NASA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Edwards helped develop and deliver the first prescription pesticide applied by aircraft in the United States. He also played a key role in research that led to eradicating the boll weevil in Louisiana cotton farming.
Edwards went on to become an international pioneer in pilot training for agricultural aviation. He founded Flying Tiger Aviation, one of the country’s top agricultural flying schools that trains pilots in safety protocols and proper pesticide application procedures.
Also remembered for his dedication to higher education, Edwards served on the state board of regents, the board of supervisors for the University of Louisiana System, the board of supervisors for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, and he served as a state senator.
Edwards passed away in October 2014, but his legacy lives on with the establishment of the Louisiana Aerial Application Center of Excellence that will continue providing outstanding training with manned and unmanned application systems.
In certain corners of Louisiana, Jimmy Hoppe’s name is synonymous with rice farming and with good reason. His talent and contributions have been recognized at every level from his hometown to the international rice farming industry. A third-generation grower, Jimmy retired in 2012, though he still runs his specialty rice-packaging business. He learned the value of service and leadership as a state officer in the Future Farmers of America organization in high school.
Jimmy is known for his advocacy of sustainable environmental practices and efficient use of resources, and today is recognized for his long-running work and accomplishments in rice farming.
Named U.S. Rice Farmer of the Year in 1999 and a 2007 International Rice Festival honoree, he is also known for his contributions in cutting-edge agricultural research and working with the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station. His dedication and hard work have positively impacted a number of agencies, including the USA Rice Federation, the Louisiana and USA Rice Producers’ Group, the Louisiana and USA Rice Council, the American Rice Growers Association, the Louisiana Soybean Association and Louisiana Farm Bureau.
Service is important to Jimmy, which he demonstrated when organizing relief missions to help southwest Louisiana farms affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In addition, Jimmy is an active mentor, generously sharing invaluable skills and experience with next-generation producers and leaders in agriculture.