SAVANNAH, Ga. — For only the third time in its 50-year history, the Southern Crop Production Association has conferred a Lifetime Achievement Award upon one of its members.

The award, presented to Melvin Kyle of Clermont, Fla., at the organization’s annual conference here, was “in grateful appreciation of his leadership, service, and dedication to our industry.”

Kyle, who retired in 2003 from Bayer CropScience, “worked untiringly on behalf of agriculture and our industry,” said Ed Duskin, SCPA executive vice president.

“As a government affairs expert, Mel forged positive working relationships between our industry and regulators. He was an active member of our State Affairs Committee for 10 years, serving as chairman for two years. He helped to develop good relationships with agriculture commissioners in the Southern states and was active in a number of industry-related organizations.”

Kyle, who earned a doctorate from Louisiana State University, worked for 25 years in the crop protection industry.

Two other awards presented annually by the association are the William C. LaRue Award and the Don W. Beise Award.

The former, the SCPA’s highest award for outstanding service to the association and the crop protection industry by a member, was presented to Eugene Maddux, Triangle Chemical Co., Macon, Ga.

“This award, in honor of the late William C. LaRue, long-time SCPA executive secretary, goes to a person who exemplifies the highest standards of honor and integrity and materially assists in the accomplishment of our organization’s goals,” Duskin said.

“Gene was one of the early members of our Ambassador Program and began speaking out for the crop protection industry in 1989. His expertise and knowledge have made him invaluable to our association and to the entire crop protection industry.”

As a member of the SCPA’s board of directors, Maddux held numerous committee assignments over the years, and also served as secretary-treasurer, vice president, president, and president ex-officio.

The Don W. Beise Award for Significant Service, the SCPA’s highest award for service to agriculture and the agricultural chemicals industry by a person outside the association, was presented to Joe Neal Hampton.

“We value his leadership and effectiveness in working with the agribusiness community and legislators,” Duskin said. “His knowledge and enthusiasm continually strengthen our industry.”

Hampton has served as general manager and secretary-treasurer of the Enid, Okla., Board of Trade since 1972, as president and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association since 1975, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Seed Trade Association since 2982, and as president and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association since 1989.

“He is a man who wears many hats, and does an excellent job of managing all these organizations,” Duskin said. “He works closely with our State Affairs Committee, monitoring legislation in Oklahoma that could affect our industry. He spearheaded the introduction of legislation to curb eco-terrorist attacks on plant biotechnology facilities and plots.

“He also successfully secured $400,000 in state appropriations to fund a pesticide disposal program, and in 2004 has led industry efforts to revamp stringent water quality requirements that would have drastically reduced the ability of producers to utilize crop protection products.”

Duskin said Hampton also “led the charge” to thwart multiple attempts to increase pesticide registration fees in Oklahoma, “saving crop protection companies approximately $100,000 in new annual assessments.”

e-mail: hbrandon@primediabusiness.com