The Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) recently honored Donald Ball as the 2010 Richard Deese Award recipient during their Annual Meeting and Awards Program held in conjunction with the 68thAnnual Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Convention in Montgomery.

The Richard Deese Award was established in 1986 to honor Deese, an Extension animal scientist in charge of the BCIA program in the 1970s and early 1980s. The award is presented to individuals who uphold the principles of performance testing and genetic improvement of beef cattle in Alabama.

Since 1986, cattle producers, Extension workers and beef industry supporters have received the award.

Donald Ball served as an Alabama Cooperative Extension System forage specialist and Professor in Auburn University’s Department of Agronomy and Soils Department for 34 years, and retired in December. He served the livestock producers of Alabama diligently and is regarded as one of the top forage specialists in the nation.

Ball is the author of numerous articles, publications and books on forage crops. He has also received many other honors, including being inducted into the Alabama Livestock Hall of Fame in 2009.

He has provided forage instruction to livestock producers in more than 2,000 various meetings, traveling more than a million miles across Alabama to speak in auditoriums, meeting rooms, tents, homes, businesses, sale barns, schools, equipment sheds, pastures, and churches.

Ball is a native of Owensboro, Ky. and was raised on a crop and beef cattle farm. He received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Biology from Western Kentucky University and Master of Science and doctorate degrees in Agronomy from Auburn University.

The Alabama BCIA is a non-profit organization seeking to promote, educate and facilitate the use of performance data, record keeping and marketing opportunities to improve the Alabama cattle industry. Formed in 1964, BCIA cooperates with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System under a formal agreement.

EDITOR’S NOTE — In the photo accompanying this article, Donald Ball, center, receives the award from Johnny Morrow, president of Alabama BCIA and Michelle Elmore, Alabama BCIA coordinator.