Long before Clemson became a university, J.M. Eleazer was “the original change agent,” said Phil Perry, who nominated Eleazer to the Lever Hall of Fame. “He helped farm families prepare for and adjust to the many changes that were brought about during his working career,” Perry said.
Among those changes were electricity, for which Eleazer worked with the Rural Electric Administration to bring to South Carolina’s rural areas.
Beginning in 1917 as an emergency farm demonstration agent in Jasper County, Eleazer would continue as a county agent in Saluda and Sumter counties before moving to Clemson to carry out his work statewide.
For 44 years as a county agent and Extension information specialist, Eleazer was a spokesman, writer and promoter for Clemson College and South Carolina agriculture, Perry said.
“With pen and paper, two fingers and a typewriter and radio tapes that he pre-recorded and mailed, he got the word out to the people of South Carolina on improved farming methods,” Perry said. “In 1918 he started writing a farm column that continued for 65 years. He was a legendary county agent, agriculturist, speaker and author.”
Eleazer was recognized in 1957 by Progressive Farmer magazine as Man of the Year in South Carolina Agriculture and was awarded the Distinguished Agriculture Award in 1971 by the South Carolina Farmers Cooperative Council.
Eleazer published four books: “A Dutch Fork Farm Boy,” “50 Years Along The Roadside,” “Our Land is Our Life,” and “Conservation and Me.”