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Best of NAMA 2020

The Agribusiness Leader of the Year award recognizes leadership achievement in agriculture and the food and fiber industries. This award is the most prestigious recognition that is bestowed by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). The award's name was changed from the Agri-Marketer of the Year in 2001 in recognition of the strong leadership role previous honorees have contributed to the agribusiness industry. This year's honoree, Bernie Staller, chief operating officer of the National FFA Organization and Foundation, certainly reflects the industry leadership recognized by this award. Staller was presented the award during the 2004 Agri-Marketing Conference & Trade Show, April 14-16 in Kansas City, Mo.


The Agribusiness Leader of the Year honors outstanding leaders in agribusiness, education, government service and other agribusiness-related areas. Nominees are solicited from senior-level positions in private, public or academic service. Nominees exemplify excellence in agribusiness through their contributions to the industry. Nominations may come directly to the national level or through local NAMA chapters who forward chapter honorees. Nominees do not need to be NAMA members.


The NAMA Professional Recognition Committee oversees the process of selection. A nominating panel, selected by the committee, previews the nominees and selects the top four candidates. A judging panel is then appointed to make the final decision from among the final four candidates. The judging panel includes previous honorees of the award.

Each nominee for the Agribusiness Leader of the Year is evaluated based on specific criteria. These criteria and the point value of each are:

Leadership (40): What is the nominee's unique approach to leading others? Demonstrate the nominee's role as a leader within the agricultural industry and far-reaching impact on the agribusiness community. How has the nominee made exceptional contributions and exemplified excellence in agribusiness?

Innovative Ability (20): What is the nominee's understanding of current issues and needs related to agribusiness? How has the nominee's leadership style contributed to unique approaches and demonstrated leadership in action?

Accomplishment (20): Discuss the creative solutions of the nominee regarding issues of national importance. What achievements distinguish the nominee within the past two years?

Industry Leadership (20): What role has the nominee played in professional organizations (primarily organizations serving agribusiness, farmers or ranchers). What have been the nominee's contributions to the agriculture community through service to organizations and the industry?


2004 - Bernie Staller, National FFA Organization/National FFA Foundation

2003 - Richard Clauss, Hilmar Cheese Company

2002 - Charlie Fischer, Dow AgroSciences

2001 - Emmett Barker, Equipment Manufacturers Institute

2000 - R.W. "Bud" Porter, John Deere

1999 - Bruce Bickner, DeKalb Genetics (Monsanto Global Seed Group)

1998 - William F. Kirk, DuPont Agricultural Enterprise

1997 - Arnold Donald, Monsanto Agricultural Group

1996 - Harry Cleberg, Farmland Industries

1995 - Ed McMillan, Purina Mills Inc.

1994 - Dwayne Andreas, Archer Daniels Midland

1993 - Robert Wichmann, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.

1992 - Gary Parker, Lindsay Manufacturing Co.

1991 - W.F.R. Griffith, American Cyanamid Co.

1990 - Thomas Dille, Rhône-Poulenc Ag Co.

1989 - Nicholas Babson, Babson Brothers Co.

1988 - Olin Andrews, Farmers Hybrid Cos. Inc.

1987 - Dave Garst, Garst Seed Co.

1986 - Leo Bontempo, Ciba Crop Protection

1985 - Dr. Kenneth L. Bader, American Soybean Association

1984 - John N. Chuchman, Ford Tractors Operations

1983 - Dr. Owen J. Newlin, Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.

1982 - Nicholas Reding, Monsanto Co.

1981 - R.C. Lanphier III, Dickey-john Corp.

1980 - Joe Ecker, Gehl Co.

1979 - Robert M. Book, Elanco Products Division, Eli Lilly & Co.

1978 - Robert M. Hendrickson, Pfizer Agricultural Division

1977 - Donald E. Fritz, Farmer Hybrid Cos. Inc.

1976 - Harold Noren, DeKalb Ag Research Inc.

1975 - E.W. Cook, Cook Industries

1974 - Walt Buescher, Allis Chalmers

1973 - Bill Bricker, Diamond Shamrock Chemical

1972 - Fred Stines, Successful Farming

1971 - Del Walker, Funk Brothers Seed Co.

1970 - Dr. James G. Affleck, American Cyanamid Co.

1969 - Lyle Yost, Hesston Corp.

1968 - Dr. Robert Spitzer, Murphy Products Co.

1967 - Emory Dearborn, Ford Tractor Operations

1966 - Maurice Turner, Amchem Products Inc.

1965 - George Varner, Eli Lilly & Co.

1964 - Morris W. Reid, J.I. Case Co.

1963 - W.J. Jensen, Butler Manufacturing Co.

1962 - Don Murphy, Wallaces Farmer

*The award name was changed from the Agri-Marketer of the Year Award to the Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2001. AM

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