Veach remains Arkansas Farm Bureau leader

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Randy Veach and Rich Hillman will continue as president and vice president, respectively, of Arkansas Farm Bureau following their re-election Friday. Delegates also re-elected seven board members during the final day of the organization's 78th Annual Convention at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Veach, 62, of Manila (Mississippi County) begins a fifth term as president. He is Arkansas Farm Bureau's tenth president since its creation in 1935. Veach farms cotton, soybeans, rice, wheat, corn and milo in and around the community of Lost Cane near Manila. He is a third-generation farmer and farms with his son Brandon. His wife's name is Thelma.

"I'm honored to continue serving this organization as its president," Veach said. "The office of president is a position of service, and I'm humbled by the opportunity to continue serving the people in our agriculture community. They are one of the great strengths of this state."

Veach says that it's important for farmers and ranchers to remain unified, especially with Congress developing a new farm bill that will cover agriculture policy during the next several years.

"We cannot be strong if we don't work for a farm bill that provides an adequate safety net for all commodities," Veach said. "We cannot be strong if we don't work to make sure our poultry farmers, our specialty crops and our foresters all have the opportunity to make a profit; or if our livestock producers don't have a workable disaster program when another drought comes along."

Veach says that's why the farming and ranching community needs to stick together during this period of economic challenges.

Voting delegates also addressed a wide range of policy issues including positions on taxes; environmental regulations; metal theft; agricultural research, marketing and economic development; and maintaining a safety net for agriculture as part of the pending farm bill.

Hillman, 49, hails from Carlisle (Lonoke County) and will begin his fifth term as vice president. He is a third-generation farmer. His main crops are rice, soybeans and wheat. He and his wife Tina have two children, Collin and Caroline.

"I'm humbled," Hillman said. "I always look at this as an opportunity to serve our agricultural community."

Board action later resulted in the re-election of Tom Jones of Pottsville (Pope County) as Secretary/Treasurer. Jones is a cattle and hay producer. His wife Jayne is vice president of development at Arkansas Tech University.

The voting delegates also re-elected seven board members to new two-year terms. They include: Joe Christian, Jonesboro (Craighead Co.); Terry Dabbs, Stuttgart (Arkansas Co.); Tom Jones, Pottsville (Pope Co.); Johnny Loftin, El Dorado (Union Co.); Rusty Smith, Des Arc (Prairie Co.); Allen Stewart, Mena (Polk Co.); and Leo Sutterfield, Mt. View (Stone Co.).

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 200,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

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