AUSTIN — Former Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. of Uvalde, recognized for his lifetime of public service and leadership in the agriculture community, has received the Texas A&M University Distinguished Texan in Agriculture Award.
Briscoe was honored with the award at an Austin banquet March 8. He was cited for numerous achievements, among them his leadership in implementing a screwworm eradication program in Texas and the Southwest during the 1950s and 1960s that saved producers millions of dollars in livestock losses annually.
The purpose of the Distinguished Texan in Agriculture Award, given each year by the Texas A&M Agriculture Program, is to recognize and honor outstanding leadership and significant contributions to the state’s No. 2 industry.
“The state of Texas has benefitted greatly from the lasting contributions of Dolph Briscoe,” said Dr. Ed Hiler, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M. “His co- leadership in establishing the Texas farm-to-market road system and his efforts in the eradication on the screwworm are but a few of his many distinctions.
“We are pleased to honor someone so deserving of this recognition,” he said.
Briscoe has been a businessman, a statesman, and a leader for Texas agriculture for more than half a century. He served eight years as state representative for Uvalde, Medina, Zavala and Dimmit counties and was governor of Texas from 1973 to 1979.
Hiler said Briscoe has been a staunch supporter of the livestock and meat industry and continues to provide outstanding leadership for Texas.
“Briscoe continues to blaze trails that are having a positive impact on Texas and Texans,” he said.
Currently, the former governor serves as board chairman of Briscoe Ranch, Inc., First State Bank of Uvalde and Security State Bank in Pearsall.
He also chairs the Agri-Food Education Council and the Agricultural Leadership Council of the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL) program, both initiatives of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
His many awards include the National Award for Agricultural Excellence from the Southwest Chapter of the National AgriMarketing Association, Meritorious Service Award from the Texas Farm Bureau, and Texas Heritage Hall of Honor from the State Fair of Texas.
The banquet also recognized the current class of 28 young Texans in the TALL program, which provides a two-year course in leadership training for people in agriculturally related careers. The class meets in various locations every other month for about three days and studies current agricultural issues.
After receiving his award, Briscoe participated in a panel discussion with State Rep. Layton Black and Charles Scruggs, a former editor of Progressive Farmer magazine.
Last year’s recipient of the Distinguished Texan in Agriculture award was John Armstrong, the former corporate director of the King Ranch.