News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu
MURFREESBORO — Ag Day on the Hill in Nashville now has an added special meaning for MTSU alumnus Pettus Read.
Read always attends Ag Day on the Hill, the annual event at Tennessee’s State Capitol highlighting agriculture statewide. He usually plays a lead role or two. (Presenting a bucket trophy to House Speaker Beth Harwell, who out-milked Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey in a competition, was one of those roles.). He later became a House honoree.
During the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting Tuesday, the committee selected Read, a Rockvale, Tenn., resident and MTSU graduate with a degree in plant and soil science, with the Outstanding Commitment to Tennessee Agriculture Award. He also was recognized with a joint House resolution for his many years of service for covering and promoting the rural way of life in Tennessee.
“I was humbled beyond words for receiving such an outstanding award from my peers and the Tennessee General Assembly recognition for doing something I have always enjoyed so much doing on a daily basis,” said Read, an author, editor and Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation director of communications.
“Agriculture always has been an important part of my life from my very beginning and after receiving a degree in agriculture from MTSU in 1970, I have spent my career promoting and educating others about where their food, fiber and even fuel comes from,” he added. “”I have been very blessed to have worked in a field that involves us all in some way or the other.”
In recognizing Read, Rep. Andy Holt, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee vice chairman said, “There could not have been a more deserving individual to have received the award than our 2013 recipient, Pettus Read. Congrats my friend.”
Holt is a farmer and businessman, and the Dresden, Tenn., Republican represents Weakley and Obion counties and part of Carroll County.
Dr. Warren Gill, MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience director, has known Read for decades and said it is a well-deserved honor.
“Pettus is a remarkable spokesman for agriculture,” Gill said. “His passion is agriculture. He’s one of the reasons for the unprecedented growth and interest in agriculture for high school students and enrollments in ag programs in colleges are growing.
“His column that appears every week reaches over 400,000 people each week. It’s always good, positive, often funny, poignant and smart. He’s a great wordsmith. He sells agriculture. And wherever he is, he’s a proud supporter of MTSU and our ag department.”
Read serves as editor of the Tennessee Farm Bureau News and Tennessee Home & Farm. He authors the column “Read All About It,” which appears in more than 55 state newspapers.
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