Retired and long-time Farm Press editor Ron Smith is the 2020 recipient of Texas Farm Bureau's Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award.
Smith retired in July after 42 years with Farm Press and was recognized Dec. 2 by TFB for his outstanding coverage of Texas agricultural issues.
Smith was nominated for the award by Williamson County Farm Bureau, citing his love and dedication to Texas agriculture and his commitment to fair and accurate reporting throughout his distinguished career.
“Ron is a friend of Texas agriculture and has been present at every major agricultural conference in Texas over his career, including the Beltwide Cotton Conference, Texas Cotton Ginners Association Conference, numerous regional commodity meetings and various on-farm meetings with individual farm families,” said Williamson County CFB President Bob Avant Jr. in the nomination letter. “He has a love for and dedication to Texas agriculture and has done much to present a fair and accurate view.”
Smith began his career in agricultural journalism in 1975 as the Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, his alma mater. By 1978, he was associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, followed by editor of Southern Turf and Landscape Management and Northern Turf and Landscape Management. He spent the bulk of his career covering southwest agriculture as editor of Southwest Farm Press. In 2017, he was promoted to senior content editor for the four Farm Press publications and concluded his career as editor of Delta Farm Press.
"I am honored and humbled to accept this award from Texas Farm Bureau, an organization I admire for the job it does representing farmers," Smith said. "Everywhere I've worked in my 40-plus years as an agricultural journalist, Farm Bureau played a crucial role in representing the interests of farmers and ranchers. To be recognized by this highly respected organization is indeed a highlight of my career.
"I have been privileged for four decades to tell farmers' stories. I am grateful to Texas Farm Bureau for this honor."
Smith has received several awards throughout his career, including first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board; Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association; and the Ag Communications Award and Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association.
Smith and his wife Pat now reside in Johnson City, Tenn., where they spend much of their time with the three grandsons Aaron, Hunter Jones and Walker Lewis. Smith still contributes stories to Farm Press.
Other journalism awards
TFB also recognized James Stewart, publisher-editor of the Brady Standard-Herald, Brady, for Excellence in Journalism in markets of 50,000 or less. Roland Rodriguez, former multi-media reporter with KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi, received TFB’s Excellence in Journalism award in markets over 50,000.