The Missouri Farm Bureau (MOFB) selected Garrett Hawkins, a St. Clair County farmer, as its 15th president Sunday.
Hawkins was chosen by the MOFB delegates in a vote Sunday at the annual meeting. He has worked as an account manager for Rosen’s Inc., an agriculture chemical distribution company, and is the former deputy director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. He has also served as the MOFB Youth Ambassador and director of national legislative programs where he led the bureau’s national lobbying efforts and policy development process for nearly 15 years.
Hawkins replaces longtime MOFB President Blake Hurst who announced his retirement earlier this year.
“I’m incredibly humbled to serve [the] Missouri Farm Bureau as president. Our family made this decision together, and we intend to serve together,” Hawkins said. “We believe strongly in the grassroots mission of this organization and look forward to serving its members over the next two years.”
In an interview with The Missouri Times, Hawkins said he wanted to hit the ground running with a focus on the challenges the agriculture sector face as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“I’m excited to be able to dig in and work with county leaders and county Farm Bureaus across the state and understand their needs,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins beat out MOFB vice president Todd Hays and former Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce in Sunday’s election. His term begins immediately and will last for at least two years.
Hawkins is a third-generation family farmer whose primary enterprise is beef cattle production. Throughout the years, the family has also produced other livestock, row crop, and dairy, according to a MOFB press release.
In St. Clair County, Hawkins and his family — which includes his wife, Jennifer, and their three children — are members of the St. Clair County Farm Bureau and St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association. He also serves on the Ellett Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and as a deacon at First Baptist Church in Appleton City.
“Garrett Hawkins’ background as a family farmer and experience in the Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Department of Agriculture will be a tremendous asset to the organization. I’ve always appreciated Garrett’s input when it comes to policies affecting Missouri farmers and look forward to his continued advice,” U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said in a statement. “The Missouri Farm Bureau had three really good candidates to choose from. Our state is a global ag leader thanks to them and all of the Farm Bureau members who work tirelessly to feed and fuel the world. I appreciate their partnership in ensuring we have the right policies in place to support continued growth and innovation in the ag industry.”
Hurst announced in July he would not be seeking re-election after serving as president for 10 years.
“I’ve been president for 10 years, and it’s been a wonderful and challenging assignment, but it’s time for a change for me and the organization,” Hurst said then.
This story has been updated. It was originally published on Dec. 6.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.