The Missouri Farm Bureau selected Garrett Hawkins, 40, as its 15th president Sunday, making him one of the youngest Farm Bureau presidents in the nation and the youngest president ever to lead Missouri's largest farm organization. He will start serving his two-year term immediately.
The third-generation farmer replaces Blake Hurst, who announced in July that he would not seek reelection after serving as the group’s president for 10 years.
Hawkins grew up within the MOFB "family," starting with his selection as a youth ambassador, participating in Collegiate Farm Bureau at Missouri State University and later serving as director of national legislative programs, leading the organization's policy development process and national lobbying efforts for nearly 15 years. Hawkins also served as the deputy director for the Missouri Department of Agriculture and most recently worked as an account manager for Rosen’s Inc., an agribusiness firm.
He said he can still remember standing on the stage in 1999 after being selected as a student ambassador during the group's annual meeting and how blessed he feels to now return to lead the group.
"It just feels right to be returning to my roots," Hawkins told Agri-Pulse. "I'm incredibly grateful that members could see and feel my energy and enthusiasm."
While campaigning for his new position, Hawkins said he asked members around the state why they joined MOFB and did business with the organization. And then he asked if their children and grandchildren would say the same.
"This is about the future of Missouri Farm Bureau and what lies ahead," he added. Over the next few weeks, he plans to reacquaint himself with all of the employees and programs, build upon the eight resolutions that were approved during the organization's first ever virtual meeting and prepare for the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting, which starts Jan. 10.
In addition, he says he will "truly take to heart the issues and ideas I've heard from members thus far" and hopes to spend more time visiting with county leaders in 2021.
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"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.”
Hawkins was selected in the first round of voting over MOFB vice president Todd Hays and USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce in Sunday’s election. Hays will continue to serve as vice president
Hawkins's family farms in St. Clair County, focused primarily on beef cattle production. Throughout the years, the family has also produced other livestock, row crops and dairy.
He 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.
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