1999 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) White (29th)

Senate Concurrent Resolution 603

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


WHEREAS, Harold Ray Watson was born April 17, 1934, on a farm in Brooklyn, Mississippi, 14 miles south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, Harold Ray Watson studied at McLaurin Elementary School and Forest County Agricultural High School, graduating from high school in 1952; and

WHEREAS, after graduation, Harold Ray Watson served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1956, where he was stationed at Randolph Air Force Base Texas, as a clerk, and soon volunteered to organize church activities for children; and

WHEREAS, the satisfaction he found in youth work, and his growing personal Christian commitment, suggested to Watson a career in the ministry, and eventually he gave himself wholly to the "call" and determined to study for the ministry upon discharge; and

WHEREAS, Watson was discharged from the Air Force in 1956, and within a week married Elizabeth Joyce Daniel, whom he had met in Texas and who would become his life-long mission partner; and

WHEREAS, Harold Ray Watson attended Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi, for one year, and then transferred to Mississippi State University to pursue an undergraduate degree in agriculture; and

WHEREAS, since Christian fellowship and volunteer church work were central to the young couple's life at Starkville, Mississippi, Harold Ray Watson was asked to be the Baptist pastor at the nearby Union Church, and soon, another church in Ashland, Mississippi, invited him to preach on alternate Sundays; and

WHEREAS, Harold Ray Watson received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1959, and Master of Science degree in 1960, in agriculture from Mississippi State University; and

WHEREAS, after spending one year at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and one year teaching vocational agriculture at North Forest High School in Eatonville, Mississippi, Harold Ray Watson applied to the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and received an appointment as agricultural evangelist to the Philippines in May 1964; and

WHEREAS, from 1965 to 1970, Watson served at Southern Baptist College in M'Lang, Cotabato, on the island of Mindanao, as an agricultural consultant and also worked with rural farmers and churches in the area; and

WHEREAS, in 1971, Harold Ray Watson opened the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center, a training center for farmers which integrated agricultural development with Bible teaching and church planting and development, and served as director for the center until his retirement in 1997; and

WHEREAS, in 1998, Harold Ray Watson established the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation for the purpose of extending agricultural technologies for poor upland farmers to other countries in Asia, and later, developed various farming technologies for small farmers of Mindanao, such as FAITH gardening (Food Always In The Home) and SALT (Sloping Agricultural Land Technology); and

WHEREAS, Harold Ray Watson received many honors and awards during his service as an agricultural missionary, including the Achievement Award in Technology Development from the Crop Science Society of the Philippines (1984); the Ramon Magsaysay Award in International Understanding for his encouraging international utilization of the SALT technology created by him and his co-workers to help the poorest of small tropical farmers (1985); the Outstanding Farm Technology Award from the Department of Science and Technology of the Philippine Government; the citation from President Corazon C. Aquino, President of the Philippines, for his work with poor upland farmers in the Philippines (presented in Washington, D.C. during her visit to the United States); the World Food Day Award presented by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations for his efforts in promoting an awareness of the dangers in unlimited exploitation of the world's forests and for the development and promulgation of technologies promoting the use of trees to conserve the soil and minimize erosion on steep hillsides; and

WHEREAS, Harold Ray Watson returned to the United States in November 1997, for final furlough until retirement on January 31, 1999, and presently resides in Terry, Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, Harold and Joyce Watson have three children, James Allen of Madison, Mississippi, presently the State Veterinarian for the State of Mississippi; Daniel Gene of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, presently on staff of William Baptist College; and Mark Bradley of Cumming, Georgia, presently a computer analyst at AT&T; and

WHEREAS, Harold and Joyce Watson have a total of 14 grandchildren, ages one month to 15 years; and

WHEREAS, it is the policy of this Legislature to commend the tireless devotion and dedicated service of its citizens:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend Harold Ray Watson for his many years of contributions and dedicated service as an agricultural evangelist.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Harold Ray Watson and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.