TFQ\'s New Editorial Board
by David Williams
Dr. J. Michael Moore is one of the top agronomists in the tobacco industry. Since 1989 he has been a professor and Extension agronomist for tobacco in the crop and soil sciences department of the University of Georgia. He has been the point man for Georgia tobacco growers and agriculture agents ever since.
He was educated in North Carolina, receiving his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from North Carolina State University in 1979 and his master’s in crop science from N.C. State in 1986. He began an association with the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service as a summer intern in 1978 and quickly went from there to become an agent in 1979. In 1985, Moore went to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as a graduate resident assistant, earning a doctorate in agronomy in 1989. From there, he began his association with the University of Georgia and crop sciences in the Peach State.
He received an achievement award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents in 1998 and went on to claim the Extension Specialist award from the Georgia Tobacco Growers Association in 2000.
Moore received acclaim in 2001 by winning the Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers for a paper he co-wrote on retrofitting tobacco barns for the 2001 Educational Aids Competition. That paper was only one of many he has written or co-written in his career.
In 2004, Moore was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and received the Award of Excellence as Senior Extension Scientist by the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus.
He is affiliated with several committees within the Tobacco Workers’ Conference and is a long-standing member of the American Society of Agronomy, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, and Alpha Gamma Rho agricultural fraternity. In 2006 Moore served as president of the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Moore has personally written grant proposals that have resulted in the awarding of more than $1.2 million for county agent and grower education programs. Competitive grant proposals written in 2006 alone have netted nearly $100,000. The money has funded programs aimed at reducing MH residues, providing student apprenticeships, creating on-farm demonstrations, and developing reference manuals, grower guides, a tobacco hotline and countless other innovations to benefit growers and agents. He manages the University of Georgia’s tobacco web site and is the coordinator for the successful Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour.
In 28 years, Charlie C. Finch has become the face of tobacco stabilization. Finch has been the managing director of the Burley Stabilization Corporation since 1998 and is approaching his 10th year in that position. He is based in Knoxville, Tenn.
A native of Henderson, N.C., Finch grew up in tobacco, working on his uncle’s flue-cured farm for six years and frequently after that. He went to Henderson High School, graduated from Louisburg College in 1964 with a degree in liberal arts and moved on to East Carolina University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1967.
Finch went to work in Williamston, N.C., for the Virginia Electric and Power Company in 1967 as its commercial and agricultural representative, moving up to become recruiting supervisor in the Richmond, Va., office in 1974. A year later, Finch was the credit manager for the Central Carolina Farmer’s Cooperative in Durham, N.C., where he worked for four years.
He began his career with Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation in Raleigh in 1979 as an administrative assistant, becoming the chief administrative officer and manager of member relations in 1987.
Finch has been a member of several influential tobacco organizations, such as the Tobacco Industry Leadership Group and the Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum. He was a member of the policy development board of the North Carolina Cooperative Council.
In addition, Finch has been active in several community organizations. He was honored by Sertoma International with its Centurion Award for outstanding community service through the Durham chapter, in which he was president and vice president. He was president, vice president and secretary of the Williamston, N.C., chapter of the Jaycees and received the Jaycees’ Distinguished Service Award in 1972 to recognize his community service contributions.
In Durham, Finch was a member of the board of the Salvation Army Boys Club.
He is married to the former Mary Ann Hamm of Raleigh and has three sons and two grandchildren.
Dr. W.K. (Bill) Collins has had two constants in his life—tobacco and North Carolina State University.
A native of Vance County, N.C., Bill was raised on a tobacco farm. He received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from NCSU in 1954. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, he earned a master’s degree from NCSU in plant breeding in 1961. He went on to earn his doctorate in crop breeding from Iowa State University in 1963.
Collins’ entire working life has been in and around tobacco, starting as a research instructor at NCSU in 1956, shortly after graduation. While at Iowa State, he worked as a graduate assistant.
He returned to North Carolina after earning his doctorate, spending three years as an agronomist with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 1966 he began a long association with NCSU as the Extension specialist for tobacco and as an associate professor, full professor and Philip Morris professor in the school’s crop science department. He was named associate head of the department in 1986 and became the head of tobacco programs in 1994. In July—after 13 years on the job—Collins stepped down from his position to work part time for the North Carolina Agricultural and Tobacco Foundation helping to obtain needed support for tobacco projects.
Among his many honors, Collins received the first annual Outstanding Alumnus Award from Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity’s NCSU chapter in 1981. He was named a Philip Morris Extension Specialist in 1978 and was given the Outstanding Extension Service Award at N.C. State in both 1978 and 1979. Collins was honored with the Superior Leadership Award by the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service in 1978 and the Agronomic Extension Award by the American Society of Agronomy in 1981. He is past president of the North Carolina Soil Science Society and a member of the Pesticide Association of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Plant Food Association of North Carolina. In December 2003, Collins was named an Honorary Tobacco Great by NCSU.
Collins is credited as a pioneer in using on-farm testing as tools to teach Extension agents, growers and agribusiness people about improvements in tobacco production. His educational efforts resulted in the use of herbicides in weed management for tobacco. The book he co-wrote, Principles of Flue-cured Tobacco Production, is published in five languages.
He has traveled the world to help others learn about tobacco growing and has developed a worldwide reputation. Collins founded the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Program in 1978 and still co-directs the program. He has led or directed six different programs in agricultural leadership development.
Collins is still involved in his family’s tobacco business in addition to his duties at NCSU. He and his wife, Ann, have three children and three grandchildren.
Dr. Kelly Tiller specializes in agricultural and natural resource policy. She is an accomplished writer and an expert on tobacco policy and economics. She has been a major part of 21 different research publications and presentations since 1993, on subjects ranging from the 2007 Farm Bill to genetic modification of tobacco. Her research has been presented to the governor of Tennessee and world bodies of agriculture in France and Germany.
She earned all of her degrees through the University of Tennessee, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in environmental studies in 1991 from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She received a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee in 1993 and earned her doctorate in agricultural economics in 1996.
She was a graduate research assistant and research fellow in UT’s Department of Agricultural Economics through 1994 and then became a research fellow for UT’s Waste Research Management and Education Institute. Tiller became part of UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center in 1999, where she is now an assistant professor.
Much of her research has focused on tobacco policy and economics. She was very involved with the development of the tobacco quota buyout legislation. Her work with tobacco policy was recently recognized with the outstanding education and outreach program award by the American Agricultural Economics Association. Other recent research has focused on bioenergy and biofuels, analyzing policy and economic and market issues related to using agricultural biomass for alternative energy and fuels.
Tiller serves on the leadership team for the Southeastern Regional Sun Grant Center at the University of Tennessee and is coordinating the national Sun Grant BioWeb project. She has also contributed to development of the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, leading to a state commitment of more than $70 million for the University of Tennessee to construct a demonstration-scale cellulosic biorefinery. Tiller was recently appointed director of operations for the UT Institute of Agriculture’s bioenergy initiatives, including the Tennessee biofuels initiative.
She has been presented with the Outstanding Extension Program Award of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association and the Distinguished Outreach Program Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association for joint Kentucky-North Carolina tobacco buyout educational program (2006). She won the University of Tennessee’s Research Impact Award in 2006.
Tiller is a native of Greenback, Tenn., where she currently resides with her husband and two young daughters.
Richard D. “Rick” Smith is the owner of Independent Leaf Tobacco Company of Wilson, N.C. He started the tobacco brokering company in 2006 and is the flue-cured buying agent for Hail and Cotton Tobaccos. ILTC buys all types of tobacco from growers and sells tobacco to many national and international customers.
Smith spent nearly four decades as a tobacco buyer and seller for Export Leaf Tobacco Company of Wilson, a subsidiary of Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, starting as a processing plant foreman back in 1967. He has worked as a leaf buyer and supervisor and was named senior manager in 1991. He was promoted to director of leaf buying and sales in 1999.
When Brown and Williamson merged with R.J. Reynolds, Smith was made director of leaf sales for Export Leaf. In addition to being the point man for leaf buying and sales, Smith has been actively involved in the company’s corporate and government affairs as well as farm relations activities.
Smith is president of the North Carolina Tobacco Foundation and is on the board of directors of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina. He is a past president and chairman of the executive committee of the Tobacco Association of the United States. He was a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Tobacco Advisory Committee and was appointed as a director of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
Smith is a past president and current board member of the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Board of Advisors. He has been honored for his lifetime of work in tobacco agriculture. NCSU’s crop science department named him a “Tobacco Great” in 2004, and he was given the National Volunteer of the Year award by the NCSU National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association.
Smith graduated from NCSU with a bachelor’s degree in business management. He continues to be involved in his family farm and warehousing operations in Pitt, Edgecombe and Wilson counties in North Carolina.