Over 2,500 Purdue Ags who annually attend the Purdue Ag Fish Fry acclaim the fish that is so hot, so crispy, and so good. Few of them realize just who is responsible for all that goodness. That man is Tom Higgins, Shelburn, Indiana. As president of Neptune Foods, he is one ofthefew people in the country that can fry fish fast enough to feed that many hungry Purdue Ags in just thirty-five minutes.
You may not believe this, but that is not the reason we are honoring Tom Higgins this day. We are honoring him for his skills as a successful farm manager, businessman, and as a highly regarded member of the agricultural community.
Tom Higgins graduated from the Purdue School of Agriculture in 1949. He then became assistant county agent in Elkhart County for two years. In 1951, he joined Peabody Coal Company as farm manager, vice-president for farm management, and director of reclamation and land use. Since 1979, he has served as director of lands forTempleton Coal Co., Terre Haute, executive vicepresident of Calvert and Youngblood Coal Company in Pinson, Alabama, and as president or chairman of Singer Farms. Hoosier Land and Cattle Company, Neptune Foods, and Higgins Realty Corporation. He has managed or operated as much as 20,000 acres of land at one time or another.
He has served his profession well in the Indiana and American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, as president of the Sullivan County Long Range Planning Committee, and as a member of the Sullivan County Extension Committee.
Tom Higgins is receiving this Certificate of Distinction because of what his friends say about him: "a man of vested virtue", "the ability to rise above the trivial", "a gentleman in the truest sense of the word" and so on.
In an area of work of representing coal companies in their relationship with the land and the community, Tom Higgins has a remarkable record of success. He richly deserves this honor we have conferred on him. We also hope he fries the fish for the Purdue Ag Fish Fry for many more years.