The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame will induct six individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to Arkansas agriculture.

Leroy Isbell, 89, of Humnoke (Lonoke County), owner and operator of Isbell Farms. Isbell pioneered zero grading of rice fields in Arkansas that led to tremendous water savings and many other benefits for agriculture. As a result of zero grading his rice fields and being the first to harvest Japanese rice varieties in the United States, Leroy and his son Chris were recognized as 1996 Rice Farmers of the year by Rice Farming Magazine.

Formal induction will be during the 26th annual induction luncheon, 11:30 a.m., March 7 at the Ambassador Ballroom of the Little Rock Embassy Suites Hotel. Luncheon tickets are $35 each and are available by calling (501) 228-1470 or email

Others to be inducted include former Congressman R. Marion Berry, 71, of Gillett (Arkansas County); O.H. "Doogie" Darling, 85, of Fordyce (Dallas County); Rueben H. Johnson, 83, of Magazine (Logan County); Keith Lusby, 65, of Prescott (Nevada County); and J. Keith Smith of Hot Springs (Garland County).

The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Farm Bureau. It was originated in 1987 by Paul Harvel, C.R. Sawrie and Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce to tell of the state’s agriculture industry, and to recognize past and current leaders who have given selflessly to the farm industry, their communities and to economic development in the state.