John Charles Wilson To Be Inducted Into Conservation Hall Of Fame

   John Charles Wilson’s lifetime commitment to conservation and agriculture will be recognized by his induction into the Southeast Region Conservation Hall of Fame during the Southeast regional meeting of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) in Louisville, Kentucky, July 11-13, 2014, at the Marriott Louisville Downtown.
   “I am very honored and pleased by this induction,” says John Charles Wilson, President of Agricenter International, Tennessee. Wilson is only the eleventh person to receive this honor.  Past inductees into the Hall of Fame include the late Tennessee Lieutenant Governor John S. Wilder.  Each state in the Southeast Region (VA, TN, KY, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, FL, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) can nominate one person each year and one more under special circumstances. The Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts (TACD) is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
   Wilson has been a Supervisor with the Shelby County Soil Conservation District Board since 1979, and currently serves as Chairman. He served on the State Soil Conservation Committee from 1985-’86, and served as Chairman in 1986. He concluded four years as President of the TACD in 1993. As Past President of the Association, he represented TACD on the National Board of NACD for six years.

   Throughout his career, Wilson has been pro-active in conservation and environmental issues.  He was invited to Washington, DC to testify before Congressional Subcommittee on “Soil Loss Tolerance”. He also was instrumental in establishing the seven-year Beaver Creek Water Quality Study on his farm and those of his neighbors, beginning in 1990. He demonstrated that farmers effectively protect streams and dramatically reduce soil loss by using Best Management Practices and farming no-till. He worked with a coalition, including the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Tennessee Department of Environment Conservation, the EPA, University of Tennessee, and the University Extension Service. Wilson was the catalyst in developing the Beaver Creek Study into a national model for NRCS that was slated to be replicated in all states.
   Wilson has garnered many honors in recognition of his conservation efforts, including the EPA Region IV Award (for the Beaver Creek Study), the Soil and Water Conservation Society’s Outstanding Conservationist Award for 1989, Progressive Farmer Magazine’s first Environmental Stewardship Award in 1993, and the USGS Honorary Project Coordinator for Beaver Creek Hydrologic Unit Area in 1995.
   Wilson comes from a 113-year family farm lineage.  He actively farmed for 30 years in partnership with his father, Robert Wilson, as Wilson & Wilson Farms, Arlington, Tennessee. He later served as the Boll Weevil Eradication officer in charge of a five-county, 80,000-acre cotton producing work unit.
   Wilson has served as President of Agricenter for 15 years. Under his leadership, two global agricultural corporations, Bayer CropScience and Helena Chemical Company, are investing $20 million in high tech facilities on the Agricenter property.  This major expansion occurs without any government or taxpayer incentives.
   Wilson and his wife of 40 years, the former Susan Hall, have two children, Natalie and Sy.
   For nearly 30 years, Agricenter International, a self-sustaining, not for profit organization, has been a hands-on showcase for how production agriculture provides a safe and abundant global food and fiber supply. The facility works yearly with approximately 30 agricultural companies that conduct research on cotton, soybeans, corn, rice and other crops grown on the Agricenter acreage. Agricenter provides a close-up look at production agriculture to schoolchildren, area residents and one million yearly visitors from across the country and around the world. ∆
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