Arizona farmer Kevin Rogers spent the busy morning taking care of pigs with his young adult children.
By early afternoon, he donned a blue sports coat, pink shirt, green tie, and a Stetson cowboy hat for an interview to share his dream to become the next president of the nation’s largest farm organization – the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
“I am running for AFBF president since I believe the American Farm Bureau needs a leader with the experience in a diversity of issues facing American agriculture,” said Rogers, a fourth generation farmer and Arizona Farm Bureau (AZFB) president for the last 12 years.
He explained, “My experience ranges from supporting a safety net for program crops to defending multiple uses on public lands. I want to make sure the American Farm Bureau is positioned to deal with this range of challenges.”
Rogers was born into a ‘grassroots’ Farm Bureau family in the Tolleson area on the west side of Phoenix. The family grew cotton, alfalfa, wheat, oats, and corn silage.
Kevin’s father Richard served as the local Farm Bureau president. Richard and wife Alice started the AZFB Young Farmers and Ranchers program. Kevin later competed in the state YF&R competition where he won the prestigious Achievement Award and a Honda ATV.
Today, Kevin and his wife Janel, married for 26 years, have three children – Taylor, Kevin, and Morgan.
Kevin has farmed for 33 years. The Rogers Brothers Partnership includes Kevin and siblings Kenneth, Kandi, and Kris, and their father Richard. Crops grown include alfalfa, corn silage, and wheat. At one time, the family farmed about 5,000 acres of Upland cotton.
Rogers' three core values
Rogers is a humble man where ‘Three F’s’ guide his life - family, faith, and Farm Bureau. He is tech savvy with a Facebook page on his AFBF candidacy - www.facebook.com/KEVIN4PREZ.
Rogers chose to enter the AFBF president race after current President Bob Stallman of Texas announced his intention to step down as AFBF’s leader at the 2016 AFBF annual meeting in January.
Three other state Farm Bureau presidents are running for the post including: Barry Bushue, Oregon; Zippy Duvall, Georgia; and Don Villwock, Indiana.
Rogers says his life’s journey has prepared him to succeed Stallman. Rogers’ early leadership skills were honed from his parents and through 4-H and FFA. As an adult, he has held a wide range of agricultural leadership positions at the state, national, and international levels.
At the Arizona level, Rogers is a vice president with the Arizona Cotton Growers, and served on the Arizona Wheat Growers Association board. He has offered agricultural input and solutions to state and national lawmakers for decades.
At the national and international levels, Rogers’ resume includes service as an AFBF Board member for six years; three of those on the AFBF executive committee.
While serving as an AFBF trade committee member, he negotiated with world farm leaders to expand markets for U.S.-grown crops, including testimony at the World Trade Organization trade talks in Geneva, Switzerland.
Decades of agricultural leadership
At the federal level, Rogers has been chosen by six USDA Secretaries of Agriculture to serve on the USDA Air Quality Task Force for a combined 16 years, discussing PM-10 dust emission standards and other air issues.
The cotton leader has served 15 years on the National Cotton Council (NCC) board, including service on the council’s farm bill task force. Rogers is the immediate past Cotton Board chair, and has served a combined 15 years as a board member with the Cotton Board and Cotton Incorporated.
As the AFBF annual meeting and election approaches, Kevin is on the road meeting with state Farm Bureau Boards. He has visited with 10 state boards so far, and hopes to visit with another dozen more. He ‘Skyped in’ to visit with one states’ leaders.
Rogers’ philosophy is all about Farm Bureau grass roots local involvement, noting that AFBF can only be as strong as its county Farm Bureaus. Strength, he says, comes in numbers and involvement.
In closing, Rogers said, “It would be a great honor to be elected AFBF President.”
The 2016 AFBF annual meeting will be held Jan. 9-13 in Orlando, Fla., with the election on Jan. 12.
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