First it was Don Villwock, now it’s Bob Stallman. Villwock is president of Indiana Farm Bureau and it was almost a month ago that he announced he will not seek re-election for another term. He’ll step down at the end of the year. Then Tuesday Stallman, president at American Farm Bureau announced that he will not seek re-election at the annual meeting in January.
Wednesday morning Villwock announced he is throwing his hat in the ring with this announcement:
President Bob Stallman announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election as President of the American Farm Bureau. As we all know, Bob has done an outstanding job leading our organization and it has been an honor to work with him.
After discussions with my family and encouragement from many of you, I have made the decision to seek the Presidency of the American Farm Bureau at our convention in January. I believe that my experiences and my leadership capabilities qualify me to lead the organization as our industry and our nation face challenging times. American agriculture needs the strong and unified voice of Farm Bureau. My diverse leadership experiences, both inside and outside Farm Bureau, have given me the unique qualifications to represent our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
I firmly believe that Farm Bureau’s strength resides in our grassroots system whose bedrock is the local Farm Bureau. We can only have a strong American Farm Bureau if we have strong state and county/parish Farm Bureaus. I will dedicate my efforts to strengthen and build on this tradition.
I look forward to visiting with you, listening to your ideas, and answering any questions you might have.
I am asking for your support as we begin this process of selecting a new AFBF President.
President | Indiana Farm Bureau Inc.
The Stallman announcement comes after 16 years at the helm of the nation’s largest general farm organization. He is a cattle and rice producer from Columbus, Texas and the 11th president during AFBF’s almost 97-year history.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the nation’s Farm Bureau members and represent agriculture and rural America,” Stallman said. “After 16 years as AFBF president, six as Texas Farm Bureau president and several more in other Farm Bureau roles, it is time to hand over the reins of leadership—a decision that is made easier by knowing the great leadership and foundation that exist to continue moving Farm Bureau forward. I am as optimistic as ever about the future of American agriculture and Farm Bureau.
“On the wall of the AFBF office is a quote by President Thomas Jefferson: ‘Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.’ I couldn’t agree more, and I would add that a most rewarding pursuit is working for the men and women who make up American agriculture. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so.”
AFBF has thrived under Stallman’s presidency. Farm Bureau membership nationwide has grown by more than 1 million member families. Programming has grown to include more efforts to build rural communities and economies and more leadership development programs to help farmers and ranchers become advocates for agriculture and citizen leaders in their communities. AFBF has grown organizationally, particularly with the acquisition of the IDEAg farm events and publications business in 2013. And AFBF has grown in its effectiveness as an advocate in the courts for farmers’ and ranchers’ freedom to operate, and it remains the most visible, influential voice in the nation’s capital for farmers and ranchers of all types, sizes and regions.
“While the presidential gavel will change hands, what defines Farm Bureau will remain the same: our grassroots strength and our commitment to strengthening America’s agricultural and rural communities,” Stallman added.
In addition to his Farm Bureau roles, Stallman has served on numerous boards and federal and state committees, including the White House Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, the Farm Foundation board of trustees, the board and founding leadership of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, the board of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and the House Agriculture Committee’s Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture.
A new AFBF president will be elected to a two-year term at the 97th annual meeting of voting delegates, Jan. 12, 2016, as part of the AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Tradeshow, Jan. 10-13, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.