Jeff Pitchford has been named as Arkansas Farm Bureau’s executive vice president. The organization’s board of directors voted Thursday to elevate Pitchford to the organization’s top position, replacing Warren Carter, who previously announced his retirement, effective May 31.
Arkansas Farm Bureau’s executive vice president serves as the chief executive officer, manages the staff functions for the organization and reports to the board of directors.
Pitchford has spent the past eight years as director of state affairs in the Public Affairs and Government Relations department, where he was part of lobbying efforts with the state’s general assembly. Before coming to work at ArFB, Pitchford worked for more than 14 years at the University of Central Arkansasas, ending his tenure as vice president for University Relations He also worked in the Huckabee administration as Director of Rural Services.
“Jeff has a special set of experiences that will benefit Farm Bureau,” said Rich Hillman, a farmer from Carlisle who serves as president of Arkansas Farm Bureau. “His work as a lobbyist, his tenure within higher education and his time as a state department head will help him lead Arkansas Farm Bureau.
“The challenge of our organization is to help ensure that farmers and ranchers are an engaged part of our organization. Their input and involvement are critical to our continued success as an advocate and voice for agriculture.”
A native of Mountain Home, Pitchford received an undergraduate degree in public administration from the University of Central Arkansas in 1991. He also earned a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1994.
“Jeff understands the grassroots nature of this organization,” Hillman said. “He is committed to ensuring that Farm Bureau remains relevant as an advocate for our state’s farmers and ranchers as well as a champion for the rural communities of our state.
“While there are fewer farmers than before, there is not less farming. The issues affecting agriculture are more significant than ever, as government support decreases and regulation increases. We are confident that Jeff can ensure that Farm Bureau always delivers on our mission to be the voice of Arkansas farmers and ranchers.”
Arkansas Farm Bureau was founded in 1935 to provide agricultural advocacy to support the state’s farm and ranch community.
“The work of the Arkansas Farm Bureau is important and meaningful,” said Pitchford. “Our work paves the way for a more successful agriculture industry. That is personal to me and those who represent the Farm Bureau. I am humbled by the trust the board of directors has demonstrated with this decision.”
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization with almost 190,000 member-families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.