ANR Week honors industry leaders at luncheon

This week is Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week. On Tuesday, March 10, several people were honored with awards at the ANR Week Luncheon.

Each year the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources presents Distinguished Service Awards to those individuals or partners who have made outstanding contributions to Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources industries and who possess high standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the CANR. These individuals demonstrate a commitment to Michigan State University and the CANR by continuing outstanding volunteerism and leadership on behalf of or in conjunction with the university on a local, state, national or international level. I’d like to call attention to the three people who received Distinguished Service Awards: Richard H. Lehnert, William L. Sheridan and David L. Smith.

 Richard H. Lehnert, associate editor of Good Fruit Grower, is a 1963 MSU alumnus. He served the Michigan agriculture sector as editorial assistant and editor of Michigan Farmer. Additionally, he owned and operated his own communications agency for another decade. Richard was managing editor of Fruit Growers News and associate editor of Vegetable Growers News. He earned national recognition for his reporting when the fire-retardant chemical polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) was mistakenly added to animal feed, leading to the destruction of thousands of cattle, pigs and chickens. For this, he received the Detroit Press Club Foundation Professional Award. He received the Heath Cooper Rigdon Conservation Writer Award for his coverage of soil conservation.

William L. Sheridan, auctioneer and realtor, is a 1972 MSU alumnus. He has operated several businesses in mid-Michigan, including Sheridan Auction Service, Owosso Livestock and Sales Company, the Brokerage Land Company and Sheridan Realty. A Mason resident, he was named the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association Member of the Year in 2014 and was recently inducted into the National Auctioneers Hall of Fame. He was appointed by former Gov. John Engler to the Michigan Beef Industry Commission and served as chair from 1998 until 2006. William maintains strong ties to the MSU Department of Animal Science, serving on its advisory and scholarship committees. He has also served on the CANR Alumni Association Board and serves the CANR as an auctioneer at AutumnFest, the college’s indoor tailgate event.

David L. Smith, executive director of the Michigan Vegetable Council, has been an advocate for the Michigan vegetable industry and for Michigan agriculture in general. In his current role, he has helped secure more than $2 million in grants for research on major vegetable disease problems. He launched the merger of the annual conference of the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Michigan Vegetable Council to form the Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market Expo. David is a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau, the Monroe County Extension Council and the Board of Review for Erie Township, Michigan, and an active member of several community organizations.

All three of these individuals have been outstanding partners for MSU and Michigan State University Extension. Congratulations to all three Distinguished Service Award winners!

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