David M. Granger (


AUBURN -- James Marion, who stepped down in September after 10 years as dean of Auburn University's College of Agriculture, has been named Man of the Year in Alabama Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine.

Marion, who also gave up his post as director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station to return to the Department of Poultry Science as a professor and researcher, was cited by the magazine for being "instrumental in recognizing the benefits of collaborative research among Alabama's various institutions of higher learning."

He was cited for his collaboration with Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University on food safety and waste management projects.

Progressive Farmer also praised Marion as an "innovator in fostering public-private partnerships," citing a privately owned cotton gin used for teaching and research at Auburn's E.V. Smith Research Center as an example.

"There are countless people in the state that could have this honor and be a lot more deserving, but it is really an honor to have them think about me in that way," said Marion. "It is particularly special because Auburn is very close to individuals at Progressive Farmer and Southern Progress Corp. -- from Jack Odle, the editor of Progressive Farmer, to Ed Dickinson, the publisher, all the way up to Don Logan (chairman and chief executive officer of Time-Warner, Southern Progress' parent company).

"It's also special because of the publicity we received about our joint work with Alabama A&M and Tuskegee. As far as I know, Alabama is the only state in the nation with three land-grant universities. We took advantage of that unique position in our work together for support of the agriculture bond issue and we decided to take that a step further in our work with food safety and waste management -- two of the biggest issues facing agriculture in the state today."

AU President William V. Muse praised Marion's service to Alabama agriculture and Auburn.

"Certainly few have done for agriculture in Alabama and at Auburn what Jim Marion has done over the past decade," Muse said. "We appreciate the fine job he has done and join the people at Progressive Farmer in congratulating him on his accomplishments."

Marion will formally receive his award at a meeting of the Alabama Agribusiness Council in Montgomery on May 5.

Progressive Farmer has presented agriculture Man of the Year awards for the Southeastern states for more than 50 years.

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CONTACT: Marion, 334/844-4133.