* Due to Covid19, we were unfortunately unable to obtain a group photo of our 2020 inductees. A group photograph will be forthcoming after our next Hall of Distinction event, in which we will take time to honor the 2020 inductees again once we can all safely gather and present a full event.
Dr. James Barnett
As a USDA Forest Service researcher, James Barnett, Ph.D., has dedicated nearly 50 years to improving reforestation of the South's major pine species. His advancements in seed physiology, seedling production, seedling establishment, and plantation ecophysiology and management have set the standards for pine reforestation.
He has authored more than 350 publications and 200 professional presentations on seedling survivability and forest nursery management. Barnett has made presentations around the world and is recognized globally for his expertise.
An LSU graduate in forestry, Barnett has been named an outstanding alumnus of the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2015.
He serves as a fellow of the Society of American Foresters, of which he has been a member for 50 years, and has recieved numerous awards by the USDA Forest Service. He also has a 23-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, retiring with the rank of captain.
Dr. Jay Hardwick
A passionate environmentalist, John "Jay" Hardwick has dedicated his 40-year career to make cotton farming a more environmentally friendly industry. His family-owned and operated Hardwick Planting Co. was created through his family's historic Somerset Plantation in Newellton, Louisiana, to focus on promoting productive and sustainable farm ecosystems.
After earning degrees from Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico, Hardwick was a member of the first graduating class of LSU's Agricultural Leadership Development Program. He is also an ardent supporter of the arts and served as chairman of the Department of Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Upon returning to farming, Hardwick began using minimal impact technologies that reduce crop production materials amd nutrient resources in an effort to restore the quality of water, air, soil, and wildlife habitats, while improving crop production as well. These efforts have helped restore more than 450 acres of wetlands.
Hardwick's accomplishments have garnered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Excellence Award and the National Award for Environmental Sustainability, He served as Chairman of American Cotton Producers as well as Chairman of Cotton Incorporated and President of the National Cotton Council.
In addition, Hardwick is an advocate for preserving the history of the cotton industry. He was the driving force in developing the Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame in 2014.
A third-generation farmer, John Denison knew his love for agriculture at an early age. As a rice farmer and cattleman in a cow-calf operation, his professional legacy is destined for a lasting impact on future generation of producers and agriculture leaders.
Denison's own career began with planting a 103-acre rice crop in the summer of 1957. Since then, he had made numerous, critical advancements to Louisiana's rice industry regarding production and profitability.
In Addition to managing his own farm, Denison has spent most of his life advocating for the industry. He is a founding member of Louisiana Rice Research Board, served on the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, as chairman of the Louisiana Rice Producers Group and as a board member, vice chairman, and chairman of the USA Rice Federation.
Throughout his career, Denison has encouraged those around him to get involved with issues that impact the industry and help ensure the future of Louisiana farming.
Dr. Calvin Viator
Born into a family of sugarcane farmers in the Bayou Teche region, Calvin Viator fell in love with the industry. Since then, he is now recognized as a major supporter of the state's industry, whose work as an educator and consultant has helped numerous sugarcane growers across the state improve their crops.
After earning a degree in math and science education from what is now the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Viator went on to LSU for masters and doctorate degrees in plant pathology. He spent 30 years teaching courses in general biology, microbiology, plant pathology, sugarcane pest management, and cereal crop production, among others. In 1976, he created Calvin Viator, Ph.D., and Associates, one of Louisiana's most sucessful crop consulting companies that serves more than 100 clients across 13 parishes.
As a member of the American Sugarcane League, the LSU AgCenter and the USDA, Viator focuses his consulting firm on helping farmers benefit from the scientific research these groups produce.
He is a charter member and charter president of the Louisiana Agricultural Consultants Association.