Agriculture Journalism Pioneer Len Richardson Passes

March 22, 2024 | Posted In AGRelevance

Brother Len Richardson peacefully passed away March 5, 2024, at his home in Danville, California. 

Noted as a pioneer in American agriculture journalism, Brother Richardson blazed a trail for himself and other agriculture journalists for over 30 years. His most exemplary achievement were his 32 years spent as the 10th editor of the California Farmer, a 160-year-old publication that closed in April 2013. Brother Richardson was also part of a long list of other organizations and an even longer list of rightfully earned honors.  

He became a member of Alpha Gamma Rho’s Alpha Pi Chapter at the University of Arizona in 1959. After college, he worked closely with the AGR Home Office as a contributing editor of the Sickle and Sheaf magazine, as well as the editor of a number of fundraising letters for the Educational Foundation of Alpha Gamma Rho. He also remained a communications consultant for the AGR Home Office staff for many years. Brother Richardson was an avid donor to AGR, achieving Lifetime Giving donor status of Order of the Sheaf, which is $25,000 or more. He was also a Heritage Club member and was named a Brother of the Century in 2004.

Len was deeply involved in agriculture outside of AGR, as well. He had memberships with organizations such as the National Food Foresight System's Blue-Ribbon Panel. He was a member and former chairman of CURES (Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship). Brother Richardson was also the past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. He also held memberships and chair positions with the California 4-H Foundation and the Agricultural Advisory Committee of the California State Fair. 

Some of his honors include California State Fair's Agriculturalist of the Year in 2007, the California State Fair's 1999 Agricultural Progress Award and the prestigious Reuben Brigham Award for Agricultural Communication in Education and more. 

Brother and past Alpha Gamma Rho CEO, Phil Josephson of Alpha Psi Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls worked with Len at the AGR Home Office early in his career as CEO.  

“Len was a humble and genuine guy....and AGR Brother,” Brother Josephson said. “He listened a lot, spoke softly and cared how I was doing in my career.  Remember, I was a young AGR Executive - earnestly looking for all the help I could get. And Len wanted to help....and boy did he. AGR was the benefactor of the many expressive gifts by Len Richardson.  Thank you, Len.” 

Brother Richardson’s dedication and passion for agriculture journalism is a perfect reflection of who he was to all that knew him. His profound work in agriculture is appreciated by Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and we thank him for his service in the industry. 

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