The American Farm Bureau Federation presented its highest honor—the Distinguished Service Award—to Bob Stallman, a Texas rice and cattle producer.
Before spending 16 years as president of AFBF, he was president of the Texas Farm Bureau from 1993 to 2000. He left the national organization in 2016 after serving the maximum number of terms allowed under its bylaws.
The award was presented during AFBF’s annual convention in Phoenix, Jan. 8.
In addition, the Farm Bureau Founders Award was presented posthumously to James Quinn. More than a century ago, Quinn—a prominent dairy farmer—was elected the first president of the first Farm Bureau in the country, Broome County, N.Y., in 1911.
A rice and cattle producer from Columbus, Texas, Stallman sharpened his leadership skills as a young farmer and rancher.
“Yes, Bob was from Texas, but he did a great job for all of American agriculture,” says Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening. “You talk to the folks in Iowa, you talk to the folks in New York, you talk to the folks on the west coast, and they all thought a lot of Bob.”
Under Stallman’s leadership, the AFBF brand became stronger, and the organization was retooled for the 21st century, according to a news release. He moved AFBF headquarters from Chicago to Washington, D.C., to strengthen Farm Bureau’s voice and policy influence for its members.
As chief spokesperson for AFBF in Washington, Stallman led the charge in standing up to government overreach and helped secure major gains for farmers and ranchers.
He has served on a number of national committees, boards and coalitions. This includes serving as the first chair of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. He was appointed by both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations to serve on the advisory committee for the U.S. trade representative.
Stallman also worked with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to address the issues facing rural America.