Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame
Buddy Leger, who has grown pecans and watermelons in Cordele since the 1960s, was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame in honor of his lifelong support of agriculture and his work expanding markets for some of Georgia's top commodities — watermelons and pecans.
He founded the National Watermelon Promotion Board in the 1980s to bring together watermelon producers and shippers to support research into better watermelon varieties and growing techniques.
In 1995 he spearheaded the creation of the Georgia Commodity Commission for Pecans. The group, composed of pecan producers across the state, has helped pay for increased marketing of Georgia pecans, which has created a national and international market for the nuts.
Leger has served on dozens of statewide policy-making and advisory boards over the last 50 years. He is the founding president of the National Watermelon Research and Promotion Board, a former president of the Georgia and National Watermelon associations, a former president of the National Pecan Marketing Council, a former president of the Georgia Pecan Growers Association and served on Governor Sonny Perdue's Agricultural Advisory Committee, where he chaired a sub-committee on education.
He currently sits on the executive council of the National Watermelon Association, the Georgia Community Rural Development Council, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Advisory Council and the Upper Flint Regional Water Planning Council.