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Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

The SWFC Fertilizer Hall of Fame program is designed to recognize those individuals that have significantly affected the fertilizer industry, both past and present. The award will recognize individuals that have retired from the fertilizer industry for more than five years, or are deceased. Nominees are accepted at any time, and will be considered for the current year by the Hall of Fame Committee when they meet in February.

Hall of Fame Members

Class of 2023

Dennis Wedgworth

  • President, Wedgworth Farms, Inc. & Wedgworth’s Inc.

  • Sugar Cane Growers Coope of Florida – Board member, Sec/Treasurer, Executive Committee

  • Florida Sugar and Molasses Exchange – Board member

  • Florida Fertilizer & Agrichemical Association – Past Board member/Chairman

  • FFAA Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Bank of Belle Glade – Board member


Evelyn Brandt

  • Founded the company that is today BRANDT with her brother Glen in 1953. True pioneer in the use of liquid and foliar fertilizers.

  • Awards: 2008 recipient of Women of Influence by Springfield Business Journal; 2009 recipient of Athena Leadership Award; 2011 recipient of Outstanding Businesswoman in Agriculture by Illinois Agri-Women; 2014 recipient of Honorary Doctorate from the University of Illinois Springfield; 2020 inducted into Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame

  • Philanthropy: 2002 recipient of Outstanding Philanthropist award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Established numerous scholarships for FFA students, Pleasant Plains students, Lincoln Land Community College students and the University of Illinois 


Ray Shirley, Jr.

  • Founder, Applied Chemical Technology

  • 60 years of fertilizer and chemical experience with Monsanto, TVA’s National Fertilizer Development Center, Applied Chemical Technology (ACT) and Innovations for World Nutrition (IFWN).

  • He is an expert in controlled release fertilizer and fluid bed technology and has invented multiple products, processes, and chemical equipment for multiple industries worldwide and to date is instrumental in the development of over 47 patents.

  • Graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, registered multi-state professional engineer

  • Currently developing patents that further agricultural improvements and increase plant yields (four additional U.S. patents, with eight more patents pending internationally). 

Class of 2022

Larry Murphy

  • President of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation (1998-2008)

  • Vice President for Global Research for Donlar Corp. (1996-1998)

  • Consulting research director for Specialty Fertilizer Products (1998-2016)

  • Consulting agronomist for Anuvia Plant Nutrients (2016-2017)

  • Sr. Vice President of the Potash & Phosphate Institute (1988-1996)

  • Great Plains Director of the Potash & Phosphate Institute (1978-1988)

  • B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri


L.W. “Bill” Lohry

  • Founder of Nutra-Flo Company

  • WWII Navy veteran

  • Produced educational programs to improve grower productivity

  • Founding member of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation

  • Founding member of the Fluid Journal

  • Created and marketed Nulex Liquid Zinc

  • Created Ultra-Phos monocalcium phosphate


Grady Goodpasture

  • Built the first liquid fertilizer plant west of the Mississippi

  • His generosity to people less fortunate will always be remembered

  • Philosophy of “Progress into the Future”

  • In Houston, he built the country’s first automated grain elevator and the Gulf of Mexico’s first automated dredge

  • Founder and Chairman of the Board of Goodpasture, Inc., Western Ammonia Corp., Interstate Grain Corp., Shippers Stevedoring Co., Goodpasture Export Corp., Service Marine, Inc., and South Plains Ready-Mix Inc.

Class of 2021


Joe Eddleman

  • 1995 Chair of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference

  • 1996-2012 Chair of the SWFC Local Arrangements Committee

  • 2004-2012 Member of the SWFC Executive Committee

  • Past President of the Texas Plant Food Institute

  • Chairman of the Texas Plant Food Institute Convention Committee for many years

  • Always made sure that everyone felt special.


Jim Poole

  • In 1975, Jim purchased Poole Chemical Co. from his father and built the first fertilizer plant in Texline.

  • He built the business to include 8 plants in 5 states, which served the Central United States.

  • Poole was of the first independents to build a pipe reactor for customizable nutrient fortification.

  • He grew a variety of crops from the San Louis Valley of Colorado to the Plains of South Texas.

  • Was often heard to say, "If I didn't live in Texline, I would move there".


Billy Barton

  • Past Chair of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference

  • Career with Virginia-Carolina Chemical Co. (later to become part of Mobil Chemical), Occidental Chemical Co., and National Phosphate Products

  • Started Bonus Crop Fertilizer in Bay City, TX which is still in operation in Greenville, TX

  • Board of Directors of The Fertilizer Institute

  • Very active participant in the growth of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference

  • Excelled at football at Auburn University

Class of 2020


J.R. Simplot

  • Founder, President, Chairman, & Chairman Emeritus of the J.R. Simplot Co., one of the largest privately held food and agribusiness companies in the nation

  • Pioneered advancements in food production – from perfecting the dehydration of vegetables, to helping feed our troops in World War Two, to the development of the frozen french fry.

  • The company has an integrated portfolio that includes phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, farming, ranching and cattle production, food processing, food brands, and other enterprises related to agriculture.

  • Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement


R.L. Moore

  • 2001 Chair of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference

  • Board of Directors of the Potash and Phosphate Institute

  • Board of Directors of the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR)

  • Board of Directors of the Sulfate of Potash Magnesia Export Association

  • Career in the fertilizer industry included Gold Kist, Inc., International Commodities Export Company, ConAgra Fertilizer Co., Western Ag-Minerals, Cedar Chemical Corp., New Mexico Potash Sales, Mississippi Potash Co., Intrepid Potash

Class of 2019

Dr. Neal Pratt

Neal’s interests in agriculture were spurred on by starting a custom hay baling service with his brother while they were in high school and continuing through college at Southwest Texas State (now Texas State University). After receiving a PhD degree in Soil Science with emphasis in soil fertility at Michigan State University, he was employed in 1960 by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as Area Agronomist headquartered in Weslaco, Texas to serve County Extension Staff in 32 South Texas counties.

From 1964 until his retirement in 1992, Neal was headquartered in College Station, Texas as State Forage Specialist with responsibility for supporting the forage educational programs in the 254 Texas counties. He worked with farmers and industry personnel to improve pastures with fertilizer and better management.

In addition he coordinated the TVA Test Demonstration Program with the objective to show benefits of new fertilization practices – nutrient response, rate, timing or method of application, because on many farms more soil nutrients were being removed than being replaced.


Neal coordinated Pilot Pasture Demonstrations with the support of Texas Plant Food Educational Society to show better fertilization practices on 30 acres for forage and beef cattle production. The results showed the forage potential was sufficient for maintaining one beef cow per acre throughout the year and producing a marketable calf. Economic analysis showed a profit even the first year, demonstrating the benefit of “challenging” the plant with increased fertilizer.

He introduced Pasture 500 Demonstrations to show the desired practices, including increased fertilization, for producing winter pasture by over seeding ryegrass or small grains into Bermuda grasses to be grazed by stocker steers/heifers. The objective was to produce 500# calf gain/acre.

Neal worked multiple hay shows yearly (the first in 1962), prepared publications, t-v shows, radio programs, journal articles, talks for farmers and industry groups-such as seed, plant food, ag-lime, and livestock groups-showing the benefit of fertilization. Upon retirement Neal did consulting in the U.S. and Mexico to enhance efficient use of fertilizer.


Jerry Christian

  • SWFC Treasurer (2007-2015)

  • SWFC Conference Chairman (1993)

  • SWFC Executive Committee (1993-2016)

  • SWFC Contribution Recognition (2017)

  • Texas Plant Food Institute President (1984)

  • Texas Plant Food Institute Board of Directors (1979-2003)

  • Texas Ag Industries Association Board of Directors (2003-2009)

  • Texas Plant Food Institute Outstanding Member Award (1986)

Jerry worked for CF Industries before he retired. Some called him “The hardest working person in the fertilizer business”. Please join me in appreciation of all that Jerry has done for the fertilizer industry and the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference.


Bill Doyle

  • Joined International Minerals and Chemical (IMC) as a Sales Trainee in September 1974.

  • Promoted to Vice President International Division of IMC in 1980.

  • Joined Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan as President PCS Sales in April 1987.

  • Became CEO of PotashCorp on July 1, 1999 and served in that position for 15 years until June 30, 2014.

  • Retired from PotashCorp June 30, 2015.

After retirement, he continues to serve and was elected Chairman of the Board of Georgetown University on July 1, 2015 and still serves in that position.

Class of 2018


Ford West, The Fertilizer Institute

Ford West is well known to the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference as a speaker for many years. Ford West served 34 years with The Fertilizer Institute in many roles, was elected President in 2005, and retired Jan 1 2014. He was recognized by the Agricultural Retailers Association with their Jack Eberspacher Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. And, in recognition of his efforts with ResponsibleAg, in 2014, the Asmark Institute named their training center in Owensboro Kentucky after him, as the Ford B West Center For Responsible Agriculture.


De Willard, Willard Agri-Service

  • Has been a self-employed farmer since 1948

  • Became a John Deere dealer in 1951

  • Founder of a family business started in 1970 (Willard Agri-Service), a business that provides farmers with fertilizers, crop protectants, custom applications, and consulting services.

  • Founder / Developer of several entities comprising 250,530 square feet of commercial real estate.

  • President Shenandoah Motors (Buick, GMC Dealership) of Front Royal, Virginia, President Shenandoah Ford of Front Royal, Virginia, President Ideal Buick GMC Hyundai of Frederick, Maryland, Vice President Graham Motors (Buick, GMC, Cadillac Dealership) of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

  • Member, Director, Board of Directors for The Fertilizer Institute, Washington, DC

  • Member, Board of Directors, Fluid Fertilizer Foundation, a non-profit research foundation in Manhattan, Kansas

  • Member, Past President of NFSA-ARA, National Fertilizer Solutions Association, in St. Louis, Missouri


Kenneth Winborn

Everyone in the fertilizer business still recognizes the name Kenneth Winborn. Mr. Winborn built the incredibly successful American Plant Food from scratch in 1965, on what was then a weed covered eight acre piece of Houston Ship Channel land. He was an innovator in the business and one of the first to offer soil tests to ascertain the condition and needs of plants for luxuriant growth. As CEO and Chairman of the Board, Kenneth steered the company to be recognized as the Most Successful Chemical Fertilizer Company of the Year in 1969. At the time of his retirement in 1998 at the age of 80, and continuing today, APF runs 11 plants throughout Texas, serving roughly 40 states. Mr. Winborn was important to the success of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference, as well. His influence will continue for years to come.

Class of 2017

Harold Trammell, Farmers Fertilizer Co.

Harold Trammell was a very integral part of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference since the 1930’s, including serving as its Treasurer until 2003. He owned the very successful Farmers Fertilizer Company in Texarkana for 58 years. In addition to his work experience, he was very active in his community, serving as the first President of the Gilmer, Texas Kiwanis Club; as a Board Member of the Oaklawn Bank of Texarkana from 1961-2007; and was a 32nd Degree Mason.

Nelson Abell, Abell Corp.

Nelson Abell was President of Abell Corporation for 52 years. Mr. Abell He set out with a two-fold purpose: to enhance farm yields with precision-placed, fluid fertilizer and to solve the customer’s logistics problems in the timely delivery of crop nutrients with reliable application equipment and field service. As a result, he founded he founded Abell Corporation and its three operating divisions; Ouachita Fertilizer Company, Texas Liquid Fertilizer, and Poly Processing Company. Among honors he received include the Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame, and the Total Person Scholar Athlete Award; an honorary doctorate from Northeast Louisiana University; and the LSU Hall of Distinction.

Class of 2016

Sam Killebrew, Killebrew Manufacturing

Best known for inventing a fertilizer trailer in 1952 that completely eliminated the manual handling of fertilizer. "Anybody who ever rode on the back of a spreader and dumped it in really thanks Mr. Killebrew!" His motto was "keep it simple" and when he saw a need he tried to provide the simplest solution possible.

Ed Krysl, TessenderloKerley, Inc.

  • Played an important role in promoting the value of sulfur in crop nutrition

  • Pioneer in promoting liquid fertilizers (only about 2% of the market when he started)

  • National Fertilizer Solutions Association (NFSA) President / Board Member for 7 years

  • Fluid Fertilizer Foundation (FFF) President (1990, 2006) and Board Member for 16 years

  • The Fertilizer Institute board member (1989 – 1992)

Dr. Yates Smith, Tennessee Valley Authority

  • “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”

  • Texas Plant Food Institute Outstanding Member Award

  • Texas Plant Food Institute Man of the Year Award

  • Member, American Society of Agronomy

  • Member, Council of Scientific Technologies

  • Member, Professional Ag Workers

  • PhD, Soil Physics, University of Georgia

  • Member, Sigma Xi (honorary scientific fraternity)

Class of 2015

Donald Ford, American Plant Food Corp.

In 1967, he went to work for American Plant Food where he had a successful 47 year career. He was currently serving as Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President. While at American Plant Food, Donald was actively involved in the Southwest Fertilizer Conference where he served as a past chairman and a board member for approximately 10 years. In addition, Donald served as a board member of the Fertilizer Institute and the Texas Plant Food Institute.

Tom Tiefel, Olin Corporation

He began his career with Olin Corporation where he worked for well over 30 years. Tom, an agricultural expert, continued to work in the field as a consultant and served on the Southwest Fertilizer Conference Board for many years after retirement. If you didn’t know Tom – which would be surprising – you certainly know about the “Tiefel Meeting Room” named in his honor. He was a master networker and influenced many folks in the fertilizer industry.

Dr. John Douglas, National Fertilizer Development Center, TVA & Douglas Associates

“Dr. John” as he was known throughout the industry, was the Head of the Market Research Section of the National Fertilizer Development Center with the Tennessee Valley Authority, he directed all activities of fertilizer market research for TVA. He has published over 200 papers in all aspects of world fertilizer markets. Following his career with TVA, Dr. John worked as a consultant to the leading fertilizer companies in the U.S., assisting them with long-term strategic planning, production and distribution analysis, contracts, feasibility studies and policy. He served as an expert witness to various hearings of the Federal Power Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, including hearings of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on fertilizer issues.

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