Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 Georgia Ag Hall of Fame inductees
Former state Rep. Richard Royal (left), of Camilla, Georgia, and UGA soybean pioneer John Woodruff, of Tifton, Georgia, were inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame. Photo by Blane Marable

University of Georgia soybean pioneer John Woodruff, of Tifton, Georgia, and former state Rep. Richard Royal, of Camilla, Georgia, were inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2016.

A former UGA Cooperative Extension soybean specialist and professor, Woodruff aided soybean producers throughout the U.S. and other countries by adapting more profitable production systems through his research. He convinced the Georgia Soybean Association to make Georgia the first state in the U.S. to recognize farmers for production efficiency instead of yield, which led to recognition of farmers who produced soybeans more efficiently at the lowest cost per bushel. Woodruff developed computer programs to help county Extension agents in variety selection and assisted in irrigation projects in Tanzania and Kenya. He remains involved with Georgia soybean producers.

Royal was a poultry, then petroleum, businessman, and he served on the Camilla City Council. He was in the Georgia House of Representatives for 25 years. In the Georgia House, he served as the Ways and Means Committee chairman and on the Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee, where he led efforts to ensure Georgia 4-H and similar organizations had the necessary funding to rebuild aging facilities. He also advocated for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to receive funding. In 1990, Royal crafted the Conservation Use Valuation Assessment law, which allows forest- or agricultural lands to be placed in a covenant for a lower ad valorem tax rate. After retirement, he played an instrumental role in crafting the law that created the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption, which overhauled the patchwork of sales tax exemptions for all agricultural inputs.

By Merritt Melancon