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ABAC Names Jack Thompson Scholarship Recipients

May 24, 2016

Three Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College students are the first recipients of The Jack Thompson Scholarship Fund launched by the Georgia Pecan Growers Association to honor the legacy and memory of Thompson. Through generous support of the scholarship, GPGA is able to award one-time, $500 scholarships to Pyne Greene, Sydney Pinder, and Jeffery Wingate.

Greene is the son of a pecan farmer and grew up working with his father in Americus. He currently is majoring in diversified agriculture at ABAC. Greene works at the University of Georgia-Tifton Extension Office with Dr. Lenny Wells and is considering joining the Marines after graduating from ABAC. He is an Eagle Scout, a search and rescue diver, a graduate of the National Youth Leadership Training Organization, and a graduate and instructor with the National League of Junior Cotillions.

Pinder is at ABAC pursuing a degree in diversified agriculture with a concentration in agribusiness. While at ABAC, the Jonesboro native has been actively involved in the Cattlemen’s Association and has earned a spot on the President’s List several times due to superior academic achievement. Pinder worked at Gibbs Farm in Abbeville selling and promoting local pecans. She has also worked at Calhoun Produce in Cordele and Oliver Farms in Pitts.

Wingate grew up on a small family farm in Hartsfield and says farming is a way of life for him. He is majoring in diversified agriculture with a concentration in crop production.  Wingate is the current vice-president of the Doerun chapter of the Colquitt County Young Farmers and manager of Thigpen Farms in Doerun. He completed an internship with R.W. Griffin at Mitchell County Farm Service and was able to learn about pecan production through this experience taking tissue and soil samples.

Funds for The Jack Thompson Scholarship Fund were raised by direct donations, as well as through profits from sales of the book “They Must Have Been Nuts: The Innovators, Speculators, and Giant Personalities who Created the Modern Pecan Industry,” which was written by Dewayne McCasland.

McCasland notes, “I’m hoping this book will remind you of some of those individuals who helped build your love for the pecan industry and magnify your desire to continue.”

Thompson was arguably one such individual in the lives of many fellow growers.  As a former director and active member of the Southeastern Pecan Growers Association, Thompson mentored others interested in pecans. For 31 years, he served other farmers through his work at Albany Tractor Company in southwest Georgia.
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