> News Release

Frank Lucas and Craig Hill Presented Farm Bureau’s Highest Honors

AFBF Staff

photo credit: AFBF

Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and former Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill are the recipients of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2024 Distinguished Service Award and Farm Bureau Founders Award, respectively. The DSA and Founders Award are the highest honors presented by AFBF. Lucas and Hill will be recognized during the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention, Jan. 19-24, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

AFBF established the Distinguished Service Award in 1928 to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to serving the national interest of American agriculture. First presented in January 2017, AFBF’s Founders Award for exemplary leadership, service or contributions to Farm Bureau is presented in recognition of outstanding achievements and work in the interest of Farm Bureau.

Lucas was nominated by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau for the DSA. Hill was nominated by the Iowa Farm Bureau for the Founders Award. A national Farm Bureau committee selected each of the winners.

Lucas Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Lucas is a fifth-generation Oklahoman and farmer who has been a defender of agriculture for more than 40 years. With a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University, he successfully brought the perspective of the American farmer with him to Capitol Hill. Elected to Congress in 1994, he is recognized as the longest-serving member on the House Agriculture Committee and served as chairman of the committee from 2011 to 2015, playing an instrumental role in the 2014 farm bill. Prior to serving in Congress, Lucas served in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives where he focused on prominent agriculture issues.

Lucas commended AFBF for the important role the organization plays in informing farmers about congressional happenings and making sure they can voice their opinions and needs. A lifelong Farm Bureau member, Lucas shared what receiving this award means to him.

“It’s like having your family say you’ve done a really good job for them,” Lucas said. “There’s nothing more important than having your family acknowledge that your hard work has been for a purpose and accomplished things. I appreciate my Farm Bureau family acknowledging my 29 years of constantly working on their behalf. It’s very kind of them.”

Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel shared the value Lucas’ background brings to Capitol Hill, noting not many in his role go home on the weekends to complete a list of farm chores and move cattle.

“He’s so rare because he is a real farmer and rancher. There are very few of those left in Congress,” Moesel said. “He really understands our issues and is able to take those messages to Congress.”

Hill Honored with Farm Bureau Founders Award

Hill is the longest-serving member of the Iowa Farm Bureau board of directors, serving for 32 years before retiring as president in December 2021. During his tenure, he traveled throughout Iowa, the U.S. and internationally, visiting 23 countries on trade and diplomacy missions. His experience included sharing information about agriculture with government officials, including six U.S. presidents, and farmers on many continents.

Throughout his time at Iowa Farm Bureau, Hill carried members’ voices into his conversations with trade officials, lawmakers and the media, sharing the impact trade policies and lack of markets have on family farms. A notable example of Hill’s work is his role in helping to create the Revenue Assurance program, which provides protection to farmers against revenue losses due to low prices and/or low yields. In 1996, this policy was written into the farm bill and continues to be the most popular form of crop insurance used by farmers.

Hill was also a prominent voice in Farm Bureau’s 2017 campaign for a new Waters of the U.S. rule. He met with Environmental Protection Agency officials, participated in roundtable discussions and provided testimony to Congress about how a new WOTUS would negatively impact farmers in Iowa and across the country.

“This is a remarkable honor because I know how much so many have given to move this organization forward,” Hill said. “I’m humbled to be included in that category.”

Although Hill’s list of accomplishments and awards is long, he remains firm in saying his family has been his greatest joy and source of pride. He and his wife, Patti, have been farming since 1978, raising row crops and pigs. They have two children, Abbie, an attorney, and Adam, who they farm alongside today. Both are married and have blessed the Hills with wonderful grandchildren.

“I would sum up Craig’s service to Farm Bureau as complete,” Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson said. “Every step of the way, he spoke up, led where he could and showed up where he needed to. I really appreciate his long-tenured, dedicated experience at Farm Bureau.”

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