Selection Criteria for The Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger
Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award
- This award recognizes a person who has a broad understanding of agricultural systems and the environment, takes the long view, and aims high to make a difference in the world.
- This person's work in agriculture and its sustainability is both science-based and grounded in agricultural reality.
- The awardee has the courage to step outside of conventional thinking, values an interdisciplinary approach to problems, and seeks collaboration. This leader listens to others and can bring consensus out of a disparate group.
- This award honors the recipient's high standards of integrity, service, and respect for all. It also affirms the selflessness of the recipient, who focused on achieving a good outcome, not personal credit.
Charlie’s Leadership Qualities
by Cairn Rominger
- Think big! Charlie had broad shoulders to carry his responsibilities and workload, a big heart, and big thoughts.
- He called himself a verbal bomb-thrower. When he named a problem that no one else was willing to mention, one county supervisor told him, “You can’t say that!” “I just did,” he said.
- His confidence came from his effort to know more than anyone else in the room; he did his homework before meetings.
- He could disagree without being disagreeable.
- He had a different sense of time. He had plenty of time to let ideas, people, and plants grow, and no time to waste in helping a world that is in trouble.
- He would listen, listen, and listen.
- He had no ego. His goal was to have good things happen, and he didn’t need the credit.
- He was honest, curious, passionate, and humble.
- He was willing to lose some battles to win a war. He’d vote his conscience, and although he once lost 25-1, he said it was his proudest moment at Farm Bureau. Later it turned out that he had been right.
- “Be kind to everyone,” he’d say, “because if you’re not, that person you’ve dismissed is going to be on your next committee.”
- He believed he could change the world one person at a time, and even though he testified at hundreds of meetings, he believed that change was easier if it happened privately. He’d use telephone calls and low-key, one-on-one chats to let people digest new ideas and soften their resistance. He sensed that people need room to change their minds. He was also open and willing to change his own mind.
- He read books the way the rest of us need food and air. He intuited that he didn’t have time for fiction.
- He gave a voice to the voiceless. While politicians might make decisions only based on their futures in office,
- Charlie stood up for the land, the wildlife, the watershed. He’d speak out for those that couldn’t vote.
- He believed that the more life we could include in the picture while trying to solve problems, the stronger the solution would be.
Characteristics of Eric Bradford
by Elizabeth Bradford
- Eric was a scientist. He sought the truth through rigorous experimental design and conclusions based on data, as opposed to those who make their interpretations fit preconceived agendas. Known as an animal scientist and a geneticist, his broad understanding of agricultural systems became increasingly valued.
- Eric was a farmer. He grew up on his family's small farm and retained his interest and understanding of farming. He loved the land, crops, livestock, range, forest--all.
- Eric was an environmentalist and a conservationist. He sought to understand the inter-relatedness of nature--plants, animals and people. He valued interdisciplinary research.
- Eric believed in his undergraduate college motto: "Mastery for Service." He won respect as a mentor and advisor, on committees as member or chair, and as Chair of the Department of Animal Science and principal investigator on his international grants.
- Eric had high standards of both ethical and scientific behavior for himself and others. He appreciated excellence wherever he saw it.
- Eric was collegial, a consensus-builder who thoroughly enjoyed working with others toward a shared goal. He believed that in applied research, those who work with the problem in real life need to be involved in solving it and he sought collaborative research opportunities.
- Eric was curious, a record-keeper about nature--plants, animals, weather. He believed you have to be curious to be a good scientist. He read widely.
- Eric was a man of integrity, courteous, considerate, fair, responsible, generous, hospitable, and genuine--and genuinely modest.