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2017 Reuben Brigham Award
Forrest Laws

The Reuben Brigham Award is offered in memory of Reuben Brigham (1887-1946), who served as an Extension editor in Maryland. The award, established in 1947, is reserved for a communicator who has made a major contribution in the field of agriculture, natural resources, or life and human sciences at the regional, national, or international level. 

Forrest Laws grew up on a 70-acre farm in Arkansas. He picked cotton, loaded hay, cut firewood, and as he notes, “a number of other presently useless tasks.” 

Laws, director of content for the Penton Media Agriculture Group, spent 10 years with a metropolitan daily newspaper before joining Delta Farm Press in 1980. He has written extensively on farm production practices, crop marketing, farm legislation, environmental regulations, and alternative energy. By his own estimation, he’s written more than 5,000 articles for Farm Press in his 36-year career.

He now oversees the content creation for Delta, Southeast, Southwest, and Western Farm Press, and for BEEF, Corn and Soybean Digest, Farm Industry News, Hay & Forage Grower, and National Hog Farmer.

Others in the industry sing his well-deserving praises:

Brad Haire, Southeast Farm Journal staff editor, says, “Forrest Laws is a professional’s professional who has worked hard with his reporting to earn the respect of farmers across the country. But he’d say anyone who’s hacked at farm reporting as long as he has would eventually get good at it. He’s set the bar for the rest of us for a long time. He generates as much or more quality content, including videos, articles, opinion pieces, and pictures, as anyone in the Penton Ag Group across the country.

He’s generous with his knowledge and advice, which is genteel but to the point. He is a champion of U.S. agriculture, especially southern ag’s particular flavor of it, but he is not timid and has cast a jaundiced but respectful eye on the industry when needed.”

Casey Martin, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation information and public relations director, adds, “Forrest Laws has spent a lifetime telling the story of agriculture. I can remember reading his work in the Delta Farm Press when I was a college student at LSU 30 years ago! He is a true professional who can communicate with both a farm and non-farm audience. He is definitely worthy of consideration for this award.”

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