Rodney Baker, a 36-year employee of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, has been named as the organization’s next executive vice president. Baker will assume his new role effective Nov. 1, upon the retirement of Ewell Welch, the organization’s current EVP.

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.

Baker, 59, has served as Arkansas Farm Bureau’s director of Governmental Affairs since 1998, where he has led the lobbying functions of the organization.

A native of Brookland (Craighead County), Baker holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas. He first joined Farm Bureau in 1977, working in the commodity division. He later worked as director of governmental affairs-national, where he was the organization’s lobbying contact with the state’s Congressional delegation.

“Rodney’s vision, background and deep understanding of the issues facing agriculture will enable him to step into this critical role and effectively lead our organization,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach, a cotton, soybean and corn farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). “The issues affecting agriculture are becoming more acute, as government support decreases and regulation increases.

“Also, his understanding of the grassroots strength of this organization will help it remain relevant as we continue to strive to meet the founding objectives of Arkansas Farm Bureau. The organization was founded in 1935 to provide a collective voice for the men and women of agriculture,” Veach said.

“I am humbled by the trust the board of directors has demonstrated,” said Baker. “My career has always focused on delivering on the organization’s mission to improve the situation for the men and women of agriculture. That will continue to be my focus, and that of our employees.”

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