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Beggs, world-renowned agriculturalist from Clarkesville, remembered

CLARKESVILLE - A man known worldwide for his expertise in feed mill, poultry and hatchery operations was remembered this week in Clarkesville.

Wallace Alfred Beggs, 87, a longtime resident of Clarkesville, died Thursday, Dec. 17.

After growing up in Franklin County, he graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in agricultural education in 1947 and married Evelyn Thomas, his wife for 67 years until her death on Dec. 23, 2013.

Beggs' love of farming, cattle and agriculture led to a lifelong career in the field.

After marrying, he and Evelyn moved to Cumming, where he taught agriculture for one year in Forsyth County before moving to Clarkesville and teaching one year there.

In 1950, Lee and Tom Arrendale recognized Beggs' talents and passion for agricultural operations and hired him to join them in the poultry industry. He founded the Arrendale Brothers hatchery operation, which by the late 1960s was producing almost 500,000 broilers a month.

Beggs experimented with cross breeding of various poultry lines and worked with feed operations to create an improved bird, according to information from the University of Georgia.

Beggs spent more than 40 years managing the hatchery, breeder and hen operations of what would become Fieldale Farms.

He oversaw the building of Fieldale's corporate headquarters, and was the project leader for Fieldale's first feed mill. By his retirement in 1992, Fieldale's mill operation was the largest privately-owned feed mill in the world.

His work wasn't limited to northeast Georgia, however.

He traveled to Guatemala in the 1960s to help improve the hatchery and poultry operations for a division of Ralston Purina.

As feed mill manager, Beggs traveled to China, Malaysia, Thailand, Portugal and elsewhere to share Fieldale's poultry innovations, including liquid systems equipment and pelleting.

Even after retiring, Beggs remained in high demand to consult within the feed mill industry, including locations in China.

He also managed the Arrendales' cattle farm, turkeys, and their buffalo herd in Alto.

Additionally, he maintained his own Black Angus cattle herd, a large home garden and an expansive rose garden. He was a rosarian and a member of the Gwinnett Rose Society and the Northeast Georgia Rose Society.

As long as they were able, he and Evelyn operated a "rose ministry" through sharing tin cans of cut roses with many in the community who were unable to get out of their homes. He also shared the continuation of his rose garden by giving more than 70 bushes to members of the Northeast Georgia and Gwinnett Rose Society clubs in December 2014.

He was a member of both the Georgia Cattleman's Association and the Northeast Georgia Cattleman's Association.

In his spare time, Beggs volunteered for the University of Georgia. He served the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Alumni Association for more than 25 years, including positions as treasurer in 1983-84, secretary from 1984-86, second vice president in 1985-86, first vice president in 1986-87 and president in 1987-88.

He was a founding member of and highest financial contributor to the UGA Eterna Club and served as a fund trustee for 20 years. He was also a President's Club Founding Member, and was elected to AgHon in 1988.

In 1991, he received the Lee Arrendale Fellow Award by Rotary International for his achievements in agriculture. During Farm City Week in 2005, Beggs was inducted into the Habersham County Agriculture Hall of Fame.

In 2009 he was elected to the Georgia Agriculture Hall of Fame at the University of Georgia.

He was a director at Habersham Electric Membership Corp. for 27 years, and until his death served as Director Emeritus.

Youth were Beggs' passion, and he supported Future Farmers of America locally, in Georgia and nationally. He was a recipient of FFA's highest national honor, the Honorary American Farmer Degree, during the National FFA Convention in 2006. He served as a director of the FFA Alumni Association for North Georgia, and volunteered countless hours with Habersham Central High School FFA students and faculty.

He was a 60-year, dedicated member of Clarkesville Baptist Church and was a member of the Gideons International.

Beggs' love of Christ led him to help provide opportunities for Christian education during school hours. He oversaw the design, plans and construction of the initial Habersham Christian Learning Center building, acquiring many materials at reduced costs or through donations. He received HCLC's Pioneer Award and served on the organization's board of directors for many years.

The family requests that memorials to Beggs be be made to the Clarkesville Baptist Church Doctors Building Fund or the Habersham Central High School FFA.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, U.S. News, Business News, Local/State News, Georgia News
  • Associated Tags: poultry, Fieldale Farms, HEMC, Habersham Electric Membership Corp., Wallace Beggs, Fieldale, Lee Arrendale, Tom Arrendale, feed mill, Habersham Christian Learning Center, University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Gwinnett Rose Society, Northeast Georgia Rose Society, Georgia Cattleman's Association, Northeast Georgia Cattleman's Association, UGA Eterna Club, Lee Arrendale Fellow Award, Habersham County Agriculture Hall of Fame, Georgia Agriculture Hall of Fame, Honorary American Farmer Degree, FFA Alumni Association, UGA CAES, UGA CAES Alumni Association
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