also help with the bottom line which is the same in agriculture as it is
on Wall Street.
a dozen smaller research centers are scattered throughout the state, but
the Smith facility is so large, it could just about gobble up all the
at the E.V. Smith Research Center might involve weed control, tillage
systems, soybean production, dairy developments or cotton treatment.
employees to supervise and dozens of research projects underway in one
form or another, Pateís days are varied and very busy.
his major projects involves grass-fed systems for cattle. For years,
calves would be weaned and then sent to the Midwest where they were
fattened up on grain and returned to Alabama.
future could mean keeping them in Alabama to live off of grass instead
of being sent to the Midwest for grain fattening," Pate said.
addition to studies at the Research Center, Pate said an advisory
committee comprised of farmers, industrialists and researchers is
looking into the needs of grass-fed systems.
years of decline in Alabama, due in part to 22 percent interest rates in
the early 1980s, soybean production is making a comeback. It has been
spurred on by a chemical thatís not needed to produce them, Pate said.
costs are so high when it comes to corn and cotton," he said.
"Well, we donít need nitrogen for soybeans and that can make a
big difference in producing them."
AU agriculture students help with studies at the Research Center and get
credit for their efforts.
research going on today at this wide spot in the road between Montgomery
and Auburn is a far cry from how Smith found it so many years ago.
was just one of many areas of concern for Smith who became the first
native Alabamian and first Auburn graduate to serve as Dean of the
College of Agriculture.
complete name was Edwin Virginius Smith, but he preferred "E.V."
over Edwin or Ed. He also had a reputation as a penny-pinching
administrator and that must have delighted his superiors at the
and Stevenson write that Smith became Dean of the College of Agriculture
at a time when student enrollment had dropped sharply during the early
1950s. The problem was mirrored across the country at that time as
agricultural studies became unpopular. Smith set to work immediately to
reverse that trend at Auburn and, while it took several years, he was
authors said Smith "successfully resisted" a nationwide trend
toward downgrading agriculture "by changing names to School of
Biological Sciences or other nonagricultural designations." He just
wouldnít do it.
a result," they wrote, "when demand for agricultural
curriculums finally brought Auburnís enrollment back to its 1949
level, the School of Agriculture was ready to take advantage of
opportunities as they arose."
students quickly learned a penny saved, indeed, was a penny earned and
their dean proved to be quite an inspiration for them.
example was the time he wrote to a hotel requesting an economy rate for
a conference in North Carolina. Smith was informed the room would cost
more and he was anything but pleased.
letter to hotel officials, he wrote: "I asked you to reserve a
minimum priced single room for the nights of Dec. 2 and 3. You confirmed
a $13.50 room, whereas the North Carolina Policy Institute had indicated
the minimum rate of $12."
finished his letter by asking that a room be set aside for Auburn
University "at the lower rate per night."
and Stevenson said Smith was as tight with his personal assets as he was
with the Universityís.
usually had no change in his pockets, so he would often say: ĎIf youíve
got a dime, weíll go get a cup of coffee.í"
was short on cash at times, he tended to be long-winded, especially
during departmental meetings and his colleagues quickly learned to be
ready for his extended commentary.
was slow and deliberate and tended to drag things out," said
Yeager. "One time when he went on and on, one of his fishing
buddies got up and left the room, saying: ĎIíve had all I can take
said Smith was a major player at Auburn during the "glory period of
strong leaders" and the University is better off today because of
was a fine administrator and a hard-working conservative leader,"
said Guthrie. "He came along at just the right time for
grew up in the Sand Mountain region of Alabama, couldnít agree more.
He may not have been around when Smith was helping to build the AU
Agriculture program into one of the best in the country, but he
appreciates what he accomplished.
Smith laid the groundwork for what we have here today," said Pate.
"I know Iím proud to work at a place that is named for him."
youíre headed to or returning from Auburnís game against the
Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 11, take a gander at those billboards on
never have heard of E.V. Smith, but his contributions to Auburn
University are on display every day at the research facility named for
Benn is a freelance writer from Selma.