Veteran Ag Journalist, Hembree Brandon, Dies

Hembree Brandon, Delta Farm Press Editorial Director, with Sandy Perry, Production Editor for Southwest Farm Press and Western Farm Press. They were attending the 2017 Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo: Debra L Ferguson

Hembree Brandon left a huge footprint on Southern agriculture when he died on March 12, 2019.

Recently retired from Farm Press Publications, Brandon was a key part of the Delta Farm Press operation for more than 45 years.

Brandon’s words were among the most read items in Delta Farm Press. His energy and enthusiasm for his beloved subject of agriculture were always apparent in his writing or when you met him in person. In his columns, he offered his views on everything from the latest farming techniques to politics. His energy and enthusiasm for his beloved subject of agriculture were always apparent in his writing or when you met him in person. As one farmer noted, “That Hembree Brandon is something! I don’t always agree with him but he certainly writes what he thinks.”

Hembree Brandon, 2017 Farm and Gin Show. Photo: Debra L Ferguson

From my perspective, Hembree was one of the most identifiable people who worked for Farm Press. He may have not always had that amazing shock of white hair, but everyone knew who he was at the agricultural conferences and trade shows he attended.

Hembree did me a huge favor years ago. I was beginning to be recognized for my work as an editorial photographer specializing in agriculture. He paid me a huge compliment by requesting that I come to Clarksdale, Mississippi, home office of Delta Farm Press and talk about my work. It was an unexpected honor. Even more astounding, he arranged for me to be paid for my time! I think Hembree’s best hope was that I could offer insight to the Farm Press staff about how I approached the job of making memorable environmental portraits of farmers and others who work in agriculture. I’m not sure that I accomplished his goal, but it gave me an opportunity to talk about my work in front of a group, which has served me well on the many occasions I have done it since then. I am forever grateful to him.  

For more thoughts about Hembree and a photo of him in his early years (There’s plenty of dark hair!), read Ron Smith’s Delta Farm Press article: Hembree Brandon, editor, mentor, friend, leaves legacy .

Hembree Brandon Obituary

Hembree B. Brandon, age 82, died peacefully March 12, 2019, at Oktibbeha County Hospital, in Starkville, Miss. A native of New Albany, Miss., he was public relations manager for the state Highway Department’s Northern District (1956-61) and editor of the Winona (Mississippi) Times (1963-1973).

For more than 45 years, he held various editorial positions with Farm Press Publications, Clarksdale, Mississippi, ending his career there as editorial director for the company’s print, electronic, and online publications and communications. He received numerous awards for news, photojournalism, editorial, and column writing during the course of his career.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Floyd Brandon, Starkville; son, Stephen Alan Brandon and wife, Liz, of Jackson, Miss.; daughter, Lisa Carole McReynolds and husband, Bobby, of Starkville; brother, Ronald Brandon, and wife, Debbie, of Spartanburg, S.C.; brother, George Brandon, and wife, Mary, of Louisville, Colo.; sister, Jane Crispen and husband, Fred, of Panama City Beach, Fla.; grandchildren, Kendall Wright and wife, Emily, of Nashville, Presley Anne Flowers, Audrey Brandon McReynolds, Samatha Erin McReynolds, and Sydney Elise McReynolds, all of Starkville; and great-grandaughter, Sloane Carolyn Wright, of Nashville.

Memorials may be made to the Methodist Children’s Homes, Batson Children’s Hospital, both of Jackson, or any children’s charity. Announcements of informal celebrations of Hembree’s life, to be held in Starkville and New Albany, will be provided later to family and friends. You can leave the family a condolence here.

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