Arkansas Farm Bureau chooses new leadership; will allow PAC creation for first time

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,238 views 

Dan Wright, a poultry producer from Waldron, was elected Friday (Dec. 1) as Arkansas Farm Bureau’s president, becoming the 12th person to serve in that role in the organization’s 89-year history.

Mike Freeze of Little Rock will continue as vice president for the agriculture advocacy organization. Both were elected during Farm Bureau’s state convention at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Voting delegates also re-elected seven board members to two-year terms. They are Sherry Felts, Joiner; Bob Shofner, Centerton; Jon Carroll, Moro; Joe Thrash, Houston; Terry Laster, Strong; Chase Groves, Garland City; and Jack Evans of Lonoke.

Wright, 63, was selected for his first term as president. He has served 9 years on the organization’s state board, including the past four years as secretary/treasurer. Wright is a poultry and hay producer. He and his wife, Belinda, have two grown children and six grandchildren.

“I’m humbled and honored by the trust our membership has placed in me to lead our organization into our next era of advocacy, outreach and education for agriculture and rural communities,” said Wright. “Now, more than ever, is it crucial for our leaders and neighbors to understand the work and commitment our farmers and ranchers have in feeding each and every household in America and much of the world.”

Dan Wright.

“I’m thankful for the support my wife has shown during the last several months as we’ve worked to earn this responsibility today. Without her by my side, my time as a leader of this organization would simply not be possible,” Wright added.

Freeze, 71, begins his fifth term as vice president. He operates the Keo Fish Farm, the largest hybrid striped bass hatchery in the world. He is a past chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He and his wife Betty have two grown daughters.

“I’m thankful to the membership for the confidence they continue to have in me,” Freeze said. “I look forward to working with our newly elected president and our board members to focus on the important, but hard work ahead of Farm Bureau.”

Board action later resulted in the election of Terry Dabbs as secretary/treasurer. A row crop farmer, Dabbs has served on the ArFB Board of Directors since 2004. He grows rice, soybeans, wheat, oats and corn. He and his wife, Lori, have one son, four daughters and ten grandchildren.

Voting delegates also addressed a range of state and federal policy issues, including a change in its long-held policy and will allow the creation of a candidate-focused Political Action Committee.

The delegate body also passed policy in opposition to redesignation of the Buffalo National River and surrounding lands, adopted policy on beginning farmer tax credits, tax exemptions for 4H and FFA projects, agricultural education for K-12, funding for county and state fairs, and continuation of tax exemptions for agricultural input items.

Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of almost 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.