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Thursday is Jack Dillard Day of Appreciation

By Terri Richardson
March 30, 2010 at 5:19 p.m.

Jack Dillard Sr., the "voice of agriculture" for Harrison County and the Ark-La-Tex region, will be recognized by the county with a day of appreciation for 50 years of service to rural communities and area youth.

The proclamation will be made by Harrison County Judge Richard Anderson at 6 p.m. Thursday, just before the 2010 Harrison County Farm City Week Junior Livestock Show at the Marshall Convention Center, according to a press release.

Dillard will also call the week's annual auction that night.

"Harrison County is proud to honor Jack Dillard, and not only for the many contributions he has made to our rural community over the past five decades," said Anderson. "We also appreciate his sharing, through his writing and broadcasts, of the way he lives his life and what East Texas and Christian values are all about - working hard, helping your neighbor, loving your family and doing what needs to be done to make the world a better place and the future brighter for our children."

He has made his family the foundation of his life and has included them in everything he's done. Dillard and his wife, Burniece Dillard, have been married 55 years and have four children. They also have eight grandchildren and recently welcomed a fourth generation.

Dillard has provided information as a newspaper columnist, radio personality, auctioneer and all-around supporter for the agriculture industry.

Among others, Dillard has a weekly column in The Marshall News Messenger and a daily farm report on KMHT.

Dillard got his start in 1959 as farm director for KWKH in Sheverport, La., before taking his "folksy, no-nonsense style" and farm reports to KGAS in Carthage and KMHT in Marshall.

"Though Harrison County is honoring Jack Dillard for his many contributions over the past 50 years, it is only fitting that he should receive this overall honor during Harrison County Farm City Week," said Randy Reeves, Extension agent for Harrison County. "That's because he has played such an important role with the student program since the early days when Farm City Week was first started."

He grew up in rural Marietta, Okla., and graduated from what is now Oklahoma State University with a degree in animal husbandry in 1955 before reporting to the U.S. Army.

He arrived in East Texas in 1957.

"I've known him ever since he first came to Gregg County as assistant county agent over 50-something years ago," said Albert Agnor of Marshall, founder of Farm City Week. "I've known him a long time. We're all good friends and longtime friends."

Farm City Week began in 1963, with the support of The Marshall News Messenger and community members who promoted cooperation between rural and city dwellers.

"I think (the proclamation) should have been done long ago. I'm proud for him and proud of him," said Agnor. "He's a caring person. He's a God-fearing person and hard working, and he enjoys working. He really loves doing his thing. When he's not broadcasting, he's auctioneering or talking to somebody about something. He's a talker."

Dillard is also a legendary auctioneer, owning Double D Auction Inc., which he started in the 1960s along with James Duncan, Dillard's co-host for "The Swap Shop" and for other live-remote broadcasts, according to a press release.

"Jack Dillard is tops in my book, and that's all there is to it," said Agnor. "Folks pick on us all the time. We've been shoulder to shoulder through a whole lot of things - he's my friend."

The public is invited to join the Dillards and hundreds of friends for the Farm City Week barbecue from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the convention center.



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