AG News '07
Phillips, Tucker earn top awards at expo luncheon
By STEVE REAGAN Staff Writer
Marcus Phillips and Kelly Newton Tucker were the top honorees at the 16th annual Ag Expo Appreciation Luncheon Thursday at Dora Roberts Community Center.
Left, Kelly Newton Tucker of Kelly Newton Insurance Agency, which was named the Ag Business of the Year, walks from the stage alongside last year’s winner, Wendell Walker of Big Spring Co-Op Gin. Right, Marcus Phillips, a local long time ag producer, accepts the Ag Producer of the Year Award during Thursday afternoon’s Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored Ag Appreciation Luncheon at the Dorothy Roberts Community Center.(HERALD photo/Thomas Jenkins)
Phillips was named Agriculture Producer of the Year, while Tucker, of Kelly Newton Insurance Agency, won the award for top Ag Business of the Year. The luncheon, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and a host of local businesses, gives the community a chance to salute and recognize the importance agriculture pays to this area, organizers said. “Many people don’t realize that agriculture is a very big and irreplaceable part of the Texas economy,” said State Sen. Kel Seliger, who, along with State Rep. Joe Heflin, served as main speaker at the event.
Phillips is a third generation Howard County farmer who began his agriculture career shortly after graduating from Big Spring High School, said presenter Donnie Reid, the 2006 winner of the Ag Producer award. Reid lauded Phillips’ use of “cutting edge technology” in his farm operation. “His farm shop is one of the most modern and well-equipped in Howard County,” Reid said in his remarks. “As well as supervising his farm operation, he is involved in driving his own equipment and working alongside his employees.”
Tucker received the Ag Business award from Wendell Walker of the Co-Op Gin of Big Spring, the 2006 recipient. After graduating from Texas Tech in 1994, Tucker has worked with producers throughout the area as head of Kelly Newton Insurance Agency.
But her influence doesn’t end there, Walker said. “She has worked to make Big Spring and Howard County and better place by supporting 4-H and (Future Farmers of America), Coahoma PTA, Boy Scouts, the Gregg Street flag project, the First Baptist Church, Ag Expo and the Howard County Fair,” Walker said. “She prides herself in having a family-owned and operated business where farmers and ranchers are of utmost importance to her.” In his remarks, Heflin stressed the importance of agriculture. “Family farms are the backbone of America,” he said. “Life in rural areas is slower ... People care about their neighbors and they care about their neighbor’s children. “As a representative ... I can always spot children raised on a farm,” Heflin added. “They are not afraid to speak to adults, they are more acceptable of responsibility; they are just more mature.” To Seliger, there is no question to the importance agriculture plays in his district. “I consider myself fortunate to represent one of the most productive agriculture producing areas in the state,” Seliger said. “Producers in my district raise everything from pork to beef, cotton, peanuts and feed grains. “Agriculture is not just an industry, it’s a way of life, a set of values,” he added.