As I begin this next chapter of my life serving as Georgia Farm Bureau President, I am grateful for your vote of confidence to assume this role. While this may seem like a new beginning, it is really a continuation for my family as I return to where we got our start.
I met my wife, Jane, at a Farm Bureau meeting and we have been married for 38 years. After graduating from ABAC and UGA with a degree in agronomy and animal science, we moved back to the farm where I grew up in Elbert County. Jane taught school in Elberton and we are still farming the land, producing livestock, small grain, straw and hay. We are blessed with three children and two grandchildren, all of which live on our family farm. Bud, our eldest, passed away in 2000. Our son Al, who works at Athens Technical College as VP of Economic Development, and his wife Rachel, who is employed at the Elbert Memorial Hospital, have two boys: Winn (4) and Wilkes (2). Our daughter, Katie teaches with Athens Technical College at both the Athens and Elberton campuses, and is married to Bristol, who works in the granite business and serves as a United States Marine.
Aside from Farm Bureau introducing me to my wife and leading to my most proud achievement, my family also played an integral part of my career. Early on, I joined the Young Farmers Committee where, as chairman, I learned invaluable leadership skills and the importance of promoting agriculture through involvement. Later I was elected as Elbert County President, which led to a thirteen-year stint on the Georgia Farm Bureau State Board.
These experiences encouraged me to act on GFB’s mission of advocating for agriculture, and in 1994, I ran for state office. I am fortunate to have served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 26 years, 16 of those as Ag Chairman.
As your president, I want to ensure Georgia families can still have agricultural roots. Family is the most important thing in my life, and I can say Farm Bureau has been a key part of mine. I want to thank you for welcoming us back into the Farm Bureau family. I look forward to serving you in this role as we continue advocating for agriculture and growing the next generation of farm leaders.