PennAg Honors Distinguished Service at Annual Banquet

3/30/2013 7:00 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa. — On March 21, PennAg Industries Association honored two men for outstanding accomplishments in the agriculture industry at its annual spring banquet.

State Sen. Michael Brubaker and Carroll Kirby were the 2013 recipients of the PennAg Distinguished Service Awards.

Brubaker, recipient of the nonindustry award, has provided exemplary leadership and continues to work to benefit the agriculture industry. He is serving his second four-year term representing Lancaster and Chester county residents in the Pennsylvania Senate, and is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, vice chairman of the State Government Committee and member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Appropriations, Banking and Insurance, Game and Fisheries and Policy.

On the national level, Brubaker serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of State Governments, the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Board, and the Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Committee.

Prior to his election to office, Brubaker served as president and CEO of three private companies that offer expertise to improve agricultural production, land-use policy, and international trade diplomacy.

Kirby, award recipient in the industry category, is a respected member of the agribusiness community who has provided a career of service to agribusiness and agriculture.

A country boy at heart, Kirby was born and raised on a farm in Charlottesville, Va. In his young adult years, he was a farm manager along with auctioneering for the Ownby Auction Co. In 1963, he was employed by the Royster Fertilizer Co. as a salesman in central Virginia. Later, he was promoted to assistant sales manager for Virginia and West Virginia.

In 1969, Kirby moved to Pennsylvania to manage the newly built Royster plant in Lancaster. After 10 years there, he was offered a partnership as a subsidiary of Royster, and the business became known as R/K Agri Service.

During the 1980s, the company grew to seven locations, both wholesale and retail, in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

Through a series of events, Kirby, along with son Rick, became partners with a Norwegian company, Norsk Hydro, to become Hydro Kirby Agri Service. Twelve years later, the company became Kirby Agri after the Kirbys bought the Hydro share of the business.

The business is a wholesale distributor and manufacturer of fertilizer, feed ingredients, turf nutrients and ice melt.

Kirby has been affiliated with PennAg since the early 1970s and is also a member of the Pennsylvania Agronomic Society, in which he was honored as 2008 Man of the Year. He is also a past board member of The Fertilizer Institute.

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