RETIRED Southwest Farm Press Editor Calvin Pigg is one of four leaders in Texas agriculture honored recently by the West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute during its 48th annual conference in Lubbock.

The conference focuses on environmentally sound use of agricultural chemicals needed for high-yield production agriculture. The institute is a consortium of educators, producers, chemical dealers, consultants, and agribusiness representatives and leaders.

WTACI presented its special award for service to Texas agriculture to Pigg, who was the editor of Southwest Farm Press from 1973 to 1999. He served on the dean's advisory committee for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech and received Tech's Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturist Award in 1988.

He was one of three persons receiving Texas A&M's prestigious Knapp-Porter Award for distinguished service to agriculture in 1999. When he retired last year, his work earned special recognition from the Texas Legislature, which cited him for "exemplifying the highest standards of integrity and fairness as one of Texas' finest agricultural journalists."

The organization's institutional award went to Brent Bean, Texas Agricultural Extension Service agronomist based in Amarillo. Since 1987, Bean has assisted and trained county Extension agents, producers and consultants on new production practices for corn, wheat, grain sorghum, soybeans and alternative crops.

He also develops weed management strategies and conducts crop production research that addresses the needs of area producers. Bean conducts about 35 weed control studies annually, is actively involved in Texas A&M's precision agriculture research at Amarillo-Bushland, and serves as leader of the Amarillo-Bushland PROFIT (Productive Rotations On Farms In Texas) grain sorghum initiative.

Floydada native John Gross, a Novartis representative based in Lubbock, received the institute's commercial award. Gross, who earned his firm's 1990 Outstanding Sales Training Achievement Award for the Southern Region, served on the WTACI board from 1990 to 1994, and a director of the New Mexico Ag Chem and Plant Food Association board from 1993 to 1995.

Wylie Manufacturing Co., represented by founder Loy Wylie, and his son, Scot, received the institute's innovator award. Among other innovations, Wylie Manufacturing produced the first mechanical weed control product, the Flame Trac self-propelled flame cultivator in 1963; the first Treflan weed sprayer in 1965; a sunflower harvester in 1975; a re-circulating cotton sprayer for Roundup in 1976; a self-propelled spot sprayer in 1979; and a self-leveling spray boom in 1989.