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Dee Dee Darden: Passion Personified
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Thank goodness for good examples

By Amanda Huber print email

If you are or have been affiliated in any way with the University of Georgia or have been on almost any agricultural tour at the university, you will recognize on the cover that unmistakable hat and profile as Benjie Baldree.

Benjie is undoubtably one of the really good people in this world. He started working at UGA in 1971 as a field technician, which he still does, but only “half time” now for Glen Harris, UGA Extension agronomist. He also works for UGA Assistant Dean, Joe West, for the Ag Awareness program at the Tifton Campus.

“When I inherited Benjie as a part-time technician in 2003, I didn’t realize what a great gift I had been given,” Harris says. “I quickly learned that everybody on campus loves Benjie. He knows everybody, and everybody owes him a favor because he is always doing something for somebody on campus.”

Although Harris says Benjie is a great field technician, his real passion these days is the Ag Awareness program, where he gets to educate third and fourth graders about agriculture and the environment. In fact, Benjie was recognized recently with the “Ambassador of the Tifton Campus” award. Congratulations to Benjie on such a well-deserved honor.

Another article this month is about Delores “Dee Dee” Darden, of Smithfield, Va., who was recently named Monsanto’s 2012 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year regional winner for the Southeast. One of five regional winners, Darden was selected by judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto in recognition of the contributions she makes to her family, farm, community and the agricultural industry.

As past chairman of the National Peanut Board, Darden has promoted USA-grown peanuts on the national scale and even internationally, but it’s the work she does in her own community that makes her stand out. She represents all the “farm moms” out there who organize farm tours, work to educate school kids and promote agriculture in their daily lives, all while still being a mom, grandma and wife, plus farmer and business owner. I’m not sure how she does it, but I’m glad she does, and congratulations, Dee Dee, for your well-deserved recognition as a regional winner.

Finally, there is the article “Farm Bill Update.” However, as mom says, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” So, I’ll end here. Thank goodness we still have good people like Benjie and Dee Dee to serve as examples for us all.

PG
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