Local agriculturalists inducted into Colorado Ag Hall of Fame
Being honored by your peers is one of the greatest accomplishments one can receive. For three Colorado men, being inducted into the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame is the culmination of their accomplishments.
The Colorado FFA Foundation will be honoring Reggie Wyckoff of Genoa, Dr. Alan Foutz of Akron, and Dawson Jordan of Walsenburg into the Hall of Fame at the annual Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet.
“We are proud to announce these three outstanding individuals who have all contributed so much to the Colorado agriculture industry,” said Dale McCall, Chairman of the Colorado FFA Foundation.
He continued, “We had a very deep applicant pool and the final decision was difficult to make, but I feel these three gentlemen are most deserving of the distinction.”
Wyckoff is a third generation wheat grower. However, he worked as a computer analyst for the federal highways administration until 1975, when his father was killed in a car accident. At that time he returned back to the farm, to take over the operation.
His mother encouraged him to join the Colorado Wheat Growers Association, and after a year of debating, he decided it would be a good idea. He then became involved in the organization, and served as vice president and president.
He became involved in Washington D.C., and after his terms he was asked to serve as the chairman of the marketing committee for the National Wheatgrowers Association. After a year, he was elected as the secretary/treasurer, then vice president and finally president.
Wyckoff has also served as the Director of the Farmers Marketing Association, a member of the Chicago Board of Trade Advisory Committee, and part of the Federal Grain Inspection Service Advisory Committee. He helped found the Mountain View Harvest Cooperative, and is the Chair of the Colorado Farm Service Agency State Committee.
He is retired now, but at one time was farming 6,000 acres of wheat, millet and corn. He also had at one time 300 farrowing sows, but sold the livestock after his son went to college.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame was surprising for Wyckoff. “I was really humbled that I was selected. My wife put it all together this past summer. She told me when she had it all done. She said she was sending in a nomination. I didn’t think we would be selected the first year, because I’ve known some people who had to do it twice. Then in a few days I found out, I was excited,” he said.
He continued, “Then she let me read the letters that people wrote and I was terribly humbled. I never thought I was a leader. I was a guy who I thought was just trying to get something done. That’s kind of the way I thought about myself: I didn’t think I was leading anyone around. The letters were from people that I have always respected and thought of as leaders. It is tremendous that I am being recognized.”
Foutz was also very surprised to be inducted. “Initially I was speechless. It’s a very humbling experience to know that your name is going to be associated with the giants of Colorado agriculture. I guess my personal feeling is I don’t know that I deserve it. There are a lot of people who worked with me who probably deserve it more than I do,” he said.
Foutz grew up in Akron, and attended school at Colorado State University where he majored in agronomy. He then went to receive his PhD in agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Arizona.
After that time, he taught at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calf., for nine and a half years. In 1982 he returned home to Foutz Farms, and became involved in the Colorado Farm Bureau, and leased out his farm land.
In 1985, he began serving on the board of directors, and then served as vice president in 1991. In 2000, he became the president.
“I got started with farm bureau because I felt, being in agriculture, that we needed represented at the national level. I decided I wanted to be vice president, and then president and I spent time lobbying in Colorado and in Washington D.C. I believe it is important that our politicians understand what our ag issues are, and I felt it was important to be involved,” he said.
Foutz has also served on the National Sunflower Board of Directors and the American Farm Bureau Wheat Advisory Committee. He has served on the board of Southern Farm Bureau Property and Casualty Company and received the Conservation Service Award from the U.S. Department of Interior.
Foutz is currently a minister at the First Presbyterian Church in Kimball, Neb. He also works for Cory Gardner as his chief agricultural liaison out of Sterling, Colo.
The third Hall of Fame inductee, Dawson Jordan, is a Colorado dairyman. Jordan grew up on a small dairy herd East of Pueblo. He milked eight cows every day while going to school, along with his brother. He went to junior college in Pueblo, and then transferred to CSU to study dairy science.
He became the student herdsman for the dairy at the university, and worked there full time while going to school. “When I came to CSU, I wanted to see where I could get employment, and the dairy department said I could work up to 40 hours a week as long as I kept my grades up,” he said.
When Jordan graduated, he moved to Ohio to manage a dairy, but decided that wasn’t for him. He returned to Colorado to take a temporary extension position, which then turned into a full time job.
He worked as the dairy extension specialist for CSU for 31 years. He retired in 1990, when the dairy herd was sold.
As a specialist, Jordan worked to help dairymen learn the new technologies available for the dairy industry, which included the dairy herd improvement record keeping program.
“It was my job to teach dairyman how to use and read those management records. A lot of my work was in Weld County. From the time I started to when I retired, about half as many counties still had dairies in them. There were only 11 counties left that had dairies in the state when I retired,” he said.
Jordan worked with producers when the dairy industry was changing. He said, “I was lucky because I started at a time that the dairy industry was just starting to modernize. There was a major revolution from 1960 to 1990 when I worked.”
He attributes most of his success to those he worked with over the years. “It’s very humbling to be honored. When you get nominated, you have to remember that you didn’t do it by yourself. There were a lot of people involved. There was a good group at CSU that helped to solve problems and put on workshops,” he said.
He continued, “My success was done by those people that helped me to get the dairymen the info, and put it to use. There were some key dairymen that really helped advising me on what the dairy industry needed and what we needed to do to improve.”
Since 1989, 71 Colorado Agriculturists have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Feb. 23, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver. Hosted by the Colorado FFA Foundation, the banquet is held yearly to induct members into the Agriculture Hall of Fame who have significantly contributed to Colorado’s second largest industry.
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