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Brad Haire receives Excellence in Journalism Award

Weed specialists praise Brad Haire for the unique, often humorous, and creative way he covers difficult weed-related topics important to producers and the industry.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

February 2, 2023

3 Min Read
Excellence in Journalism Award: Farm Press Senior Content Director Brad Haire, left, with Stanley Culpepper, Weed Science Society of America president and University of Georgia Extension weed specialist. Culpepper presented Haire with the Excellence in Journalism Award at WSSA's annual meeting.Eric Prostko

Farm Progress Senior Content Director Brad Haire, Albany, Ga., was awarded the Excellence in Journalism Award by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) Jan. 30 at its 63rd annual meeting in Arlington, Va.

In conjunction with the Northeastern Weed Science Society, WSSA honors its member scientists and a journalist for their outstanding achievements. WSSA colleagues describe Haire as supportive, well-recognized and an effective and professional writer and communicator.

“Brad is so important to agriculture and his ability to communicate with our farmers,” said WSSA President and Extension Weed Specialist Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia. “It’s exciting when you have somebody in your agricultural community like Brad that you understand, and they understand you and they write stories and communicate in ways that we can interpret what we need to interpret.”

Haire has written for Farm Progress since 2012. Before being promoted to senior content director of the four Farm Press publications, including, Southeast, Delta, Southwest and Western Farm Press, he served as editor of Southeast Farm Press.

“If you cover agriculture for long, you will cover herbicides and weeds,” Haire told Farm Press. “We have plenty of one and must have practical ways to use the other to be sustainable. WSSA members do essential work for us all for that.

“At Farm Progress, we believe we must give our farmers and industry friends the information they need to better understand something important to them. That’s why we do what we do. A group like WSSA recognizing what we do is a big honor.”

Colleague praise

“Brad is very deserving of the WSSA Excellence in Journalism Award," wrote University of Georgia Extension Weed Specialist Erik Prostko in his nomination. "He has been writing agricultural articles for more than 25 years. His articles are timely, humorous, and easily read by the diverse clientele who make up his readership. His writing philosophy is all about supporting the needs of growers and helping them remain economically viable.”

Prostko credits Haire for giving him the opportunity to spread the "weed science gospel," in each edition of Southeast Farm Press through his monthly column, "Tailgate Talk."

Haire has a reputation for addressing multifaceted topics such as off-target movement, skin cancer, and most recently endangered species, Prostko told Farm Press.

“In the last few months, Brad has tackled the complex issue of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in a series of articles,” Prostko added in his nomination. “In these articles, he has tried to ensure that farmers are aware of this very challenging issue and its importance to the future of production agriculture.”

Culpepper agreed. “He’s always with me in regulatory-type sessions that people might not think are important but are probably the most important subject we work with.

“He works through things like that and it’s really impressive how he’s able to do that.”

Colleagues and WSSA members also describe Haire as an effective and professional writer and communicator, who “understands the importance and challenges of effective and sustainable weed management,” said Weed Specialist Pete Dotray, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Texas Tech University. “He works hard to get it right.”

Oklahoma State University Weed Specialist Todd Baughman concurred, stating that journalists like Haire are vital to telling agriculture’s story. “My weed science colleagues in the Southeast appreciate Brad’s support of their programs and giving them an avenue to provide their expertise to a broad audience.”

WSSA is a non-profit professional society that promotes research, education, and extension outreach activities related to weeds; provides science-based information to the public and policymakers; and fosters awareness of weeds and their impacts on managed and natural ecosystems.

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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