After working for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 31 years, Mary Kay Thatcher plans to retire from the organization at the end of the month.

Thatcher, who currently serves as Senior Director of Congressional Relations at AFBF, is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable farm policy experts in the United States. She primarily lobbies on farm programs, crop insurance, conservation, and credit issues.

In addition, she’s taken a leadership role in addressing “Big Data” issues to ensure that farmers can control valuable information that’s often generated and collected by third-party providers.

Prior to joining AFBF in 1982, Thatcher served as a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade to GOP Sen. Roger Jepsen of Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned degrees in animal science and agricultural economics.

Thatcher served in the “first” Bush Administration as a political appointee as the director of congressional and public affairs of the Farm Credit Administration. In that capacity, she was responsible for the policy direction and management of the agency’s congressional and public affairs activities.

As a fifth generation Iowa farmer, Thatcher is known for bringing a boots-on-the-ground, real-world perspective to a wide variety of rural and agricultural issues. She grew up on a 500-acre Iowa beef, hay and corn farm and now manages a farm in Iowa producing corn and soybeans, as well as a cow/calf operation.