11/25/08 — Farm/City banquet honors three

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Farm/City banquet honors three

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 25, 2008 1:46 PM


Nearly 250 people attended Monday night's annual Farm/City Week banquet at the Wayne Center. Left to right are Avice Jackson of Sleepy Creek, Outstanding Woman in Agriculture; Frances Howell of Goldsboro whose late husband, O.J. Howell Jr., was inducted into the Wayne County Agricultural Hall of Fame; William S. Lamm of Goldsboro, Wayne County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductee; and Extension Agent Kevin Johnson.

The three people recognized during Monday night's annual Farm/City Week banquet reflect more than just a commitment to agriculture, they also demonstrate how members of that community give back to the community at large, said Howard Scott, N.C. Cooperative Extension director for Wayne County.

William S. Lamm of Goldsboro was honored as the living inductee into the Wayne County Agricultural Hall of Fame, while O.J. Howell Jr., who lived in the Belfast community, was inducted posthumously.

Avice Jackson of the Sleepy Creek community at Dudley was honored as the Outstanding Woman in Agriculture.

The annual event, held at the Wayne Center, was sponsored by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Wayne County Farm Bureau Federation and Cooperative Extension Service.

Dr. John Havlin, former Soil Science department head at N.C. State University, was the guest speaker.

"All of the people honored tonight are involved in the community and that tells you that the rural agricultural farming community, they give back tremendously to the community," Scott said in an interview. "It's more than just doing their job, it is how they give back and they do that."

The Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1984 as a means of honoring local residents who have made outstanding contributions to the county's agriculture, said Extension Agent Kevin Johnson who made the Hall of Fame presentations.

Scott said that Lamm, Howell and Mrs. Jackson, like their predecessors, were "significant contributors" to their communities.

"What a wonderful honor," said Howell's widow, Frances Howell of Goldsboro. "O.J. would be so thrilled. He loved Wayne County and everybody in it. Thank you so much for remembering him."

Howell, a native of the Belfast community, was a graduate of Goldsboro High and received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from N.C. State University in 1940. He farmed for 15 years before joining the Bank of Wayne as a farm representative. When the bank merged with Wachovia, he continued to work as an agricultural adviser and trust officer while still farming.

He was a member of Salem United Methodist Church and the Goldsboro Masonic Lodge, the Belfast Fire Department, Goldsboro Civitans and the Charles B. Aycock High School PTA and Boosters Club. He was a member of the board of the Wayne County Livestock Development Association from 1967-83.

"Mr. Howell passed away on Sept. 17, 2007, and left a legacy that has affected numerous Wayne County citizens," Johnson said.

Lamm, a Wilson County native, is a graduate of Lucama High School and was graduated from N.C. State University in 1953 with a degree in agronomy.

"It is an honor to get this," Lamm said. "But it is also an honor just to be with you folks. You are a great group of people. What made my job easy when I came here was the greatest group of leaders in this county. You have helped me to do whatever I have accomplished. Thank you very much."

Lamm received a master's degree from N.C. State in 1964 and served as Wayne County 4-H agent in 1953 and from 1954-73 as the county's tobacco agent.

Lamm, who is married to the former Melda Batten, served as Lenoir County Extension director from 1973-84.

He also has worked as an agronomist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

Lamm organized the Wayne County Young Farmers organization and was instrumental in the organization of the N.C. Tobacco Growers Association and the annual N.C. Young Farmers Forum.

He is a member of Madison Avenue Baptist Church where he is a deacon and Sunday school teacher.

He serves on the Wayne Community College Foundation Board and the Karl Best Leadership Advisory Committee. He is a past president of the N.C. State University Alumni Association and of the N.C. State University Chancellor's Circle.

Betty Gainey, chairman of the Outstanding Woman in Agriculture Committee, noted that Mrs. Jackson has been a partner with her husband, Carroll Jackson, in a large farming operation for 26 years.

"For 12 years she also worked as an accountant and business manager for other firms while contributing to their own farming operation," Mrs. Gainey said.

As the family farming operation grew, Mrs. Jackson retired from outside work to devote herself to the family farm, Mrs. Gainey said.

Mrs. Jackson is a member of the N.C. Growers Association and the Wayne-Duplin Business and Professional Women's Club. She has served as president and treasurer of the club and has received local, state and national honors. She also has chaired committees at each level.

She is active in the Christian Women's Fellowship at Dudley Christian Church where she also is treasurer and choir member.

She currently is chairman of National Business Women's Week and Woman of the Year Committee. She also has been honored as BPWian of the Year.

Mrs. Jackson is a proponent of the "Go Green" initiative.

Scott said he has known Lamm for 30 years having worked under him in Lenoir County.

"I learned so much," Scott said in the interview. "He was a visionary person. He has the ability to relate to people. He has the ability to articulate what the needs are and he just worked a lot. He was more than boss, he was a mentor."

Scott said that Howell also had been "tremendously involved" in the community.

"He has been a significant person in the Belfast community," Scott said. "People looked to him. They looked up to him and when he said something they listened because he had thought about it."

Scott said that while he did not know Mrs. Jackson as well as he did Howell or Lamm that it was important to note that she was involved in more than just agriculture.

"Look at all that she was involved in the community and part of it was leadership," he said. "It is not just for self, or family or farm it is what she does in the community."