During the opening session of its national convention on Sunday, the American Farm Bureau Federation presented its highest service award to Richard Lugar for his outstanding service to farmers during this more than three decades in Congress. AFBF established the Distinguished Service Award to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to serving agriculture. “Throughout his Senate career, Sen. Lugar championed agricultural progress. He was a leader in support of the biofuels movement and a solid promoter of free and open trade,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “He was also in the forefront of many other efforts important to farmers, such as farm credit, food safety, agriculture research, and immigration reform.”
When accepting the award, Lugar said one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture in the future will be the acceptance of biotechnology, “It is inconceivable that American agriculture can produce the food the world will demand without using our best soil, our best seed, and our best technology.” Lugar also praised the support he had received from Farm Bureau and, specifically. IFB President Don Villwock.
Tippecanoe County farmer Allen Kemper said Lugar is the kind of leader we need today, “Today we have leaders who are extreme left or extreme right, and we cannot get them to compromise to produce good policy, like Dick Lugar did.” Since leaving the Senate in 2012, Sen. Lugar has continued to advocate for many important issues as president of the non-profit Lugar Center.
AFBF also presented an award to Dr. Abner Womack, professor emeritus and research professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His early expertise in mathematics became focused on developing a system of statistical models for U.S. crops and livestock. A pioneer in this area, Dr. Womack worked to create annual baseline analysis of U.S. and global agriculture. He was also the primary founder of the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, which is internationally renowned for its high-quality analysis. On a federal level, FAPRI’s work is used widely in the halls of Congress and the Agriculture Department to determine economic impacts of policy issues.
The Indiana Farm Bureau nominated Sen. Lugar to receive the DSA award, while the Missouri Farm Bureau nominated Dr. Womack. A national Farm Bureau committee named them both as winners.