KILGORE TO RETIRE AS FEDERATION'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Mike Kilgore, executive director of the Alabama Farmers Federation since 2001, has announced his retirement, effective Jan. 31, 2010.
"Under his leadership, the Farmers Federation has expanded services to members, successfully represented farmers' interests at the state legislature and in Washington, and increased its education and promotion efforts," said Federation President Jerry A. Newby. "I have been blessed to work alongside such a dedicated advocate for farmers. Mike will be truly missed."
A Winston County native, Kilgore earned a degree from Auburn University in agricultural economics and worked for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System before joining the Federation staff in 1974 as an area organization director. Over the next 35 years, he served the state's largest farm organization in a variety of positions, including director of the Young Farmers program, director of the Organization Department and assistant executive director.
"Mike has been not only a loyal, dedicated employee, but he also is a personal friend," Newby said. "Mike was Young Farmers director when I first became involved in the organization, and I have always appreciated his commitment to the farmers of this state."
As executive director, Kilgore worked with Federation leaders to defeat a state lottery proposal and Amendment One -- a measure that would have reversed all property tax laws that the Federation had fought so hard to win for farmers and homeowners. He is also credited with having established the organization's Department of External Affairs as well as working with leadership to win an exemption for agricultural vehicles from federal Department of Transportation registration.
Even if the Federation's stance is unpopular, Kilgore says defending that position is fairly easy because it is the right one. "I firmly believe that our people take their policy positions based on what's right and what's good, and that makes it easy to take a stand on issues," he said. "When some people try to decide what's politically correct, we take a stand based on what's good for our members, not what's politically expedient."
Kilgore and his wife, Linda, plan to travel and spend more time with their grandchildren.