West Texas businessman and civic leader Jerry D. Harris of Lamesa has been named a 2012 Texas A&M University System Distinguished Texan in Agriculture.
The award recognizes and honors agricultural leaders in Texas who demonstrate outstanding leadership and provide significant contributions to Texas agriculture, said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences, Texas A&M University System.
“For decades Jerry Harris has been a major leader in Texas agriculture,” Hussey said. “As a major proponent of the Texas A&M AgriLife agencies and Texas A&M University, he has been a vocal advocate through state and national councils on agricultural research, Extension and teaching.
“Jerry is always supportive of funding for the land-grant university system and tirelessly champions its public worth. He credits the system for serving as the model for the success of U.S. agriculture and the economies that depend on it.”
Harris is a Dawson County native whose business interests include farming, ginning, warehousing, merchandising and equipment leasing. Through the years, he has achieved many high-ranking leadership positions in agriculture-related associations and within his community.
Among his many contributions, Harris spent 16 years as chair of the Texas State Committee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in order to ensure consistent, equitable delivery of the agency’s farm program across all of Texas agriculture, according to Hussey.
Hussey said his generous public service earned Harris the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.
Other honors Harris has received include the Distinguished Service Award from the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, Man of the Year Award from the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association and the Gerald W. Thomas Award from Texas Tech University.
Harris is joined by two other prominent Texans who will be honored with similar recognitions. They are the late E.M. “Manny” Rosenthal of Fort Worth, who is being honored posthumously, and Bob Turner of Voss.