Like anyone who plants a tree, Steve Guy has vision. But even he had no idea that his service to the Alabama Farmers Federation would span three decades and help shape the history of the state.
Guy, who will retire as director of the Federation’s Forestry, Wildlife and Soybean Divisions Feb. 1, said he’s amazed as he looks back on his tenure of serving farmers across the state. He said he’s pleased that decisions the Federation made helped farmers in the past and will continue to help them for years to come.
“Issues that I’ve helped work on have actually resulted in saving farmers money and helped them be able to make a living on their farm,” Guy said. “I didn’t do it by myself, but I’m proud to have worked for an organization that allowed me to be a part of that.”
Alabama’s current-use tax laws were passed in 1982, just a short time after Guy began his career as the Federation’s Forestry Division director. He worked extensively on that issue and later helped to defeat Amendment 1, which would have increased property taxes, particularly for timberland owners.
There was an attempt a few years ago by state government officials to charge entertainment tax on wildlife producers that Guy helped to quash before it barely got traction in the Legislature. He’s also worked on numerous environmental issues on farmers’ behalf, including testifying before state and national governmental policy makers.
“But what I will really remember are the relationships I’ve made with our members throughout the state,” Guy said. “Working for an organization that is built on volunteer leaders is a unique experience. You know when people give freely of their time that this organization means something to them. In turn, you want to do all you can to help them.”
Although hired as the Forestry Division director, Guy, a native of Tallassee and a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in forestry also spent time as director of the Federation’s Fruit and Vegetable Division. His duties changed again in 1991 when the Fruit and Vegetable Division was exchanged for soybeans. In 2000, he guided the Federation through the formation of a Wildlife Resources Division.
An avid hunter and outdoorsman, Guy said he plans to spend much of his retirement working on his tree farm and spending more time with his family. He and his wife, Tricia, have a daughter, Robin; a son, Andy, and four grandchildren.
Guy’s coworkers and leaders of the Federation will miss him, said Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Jimmy Carlisle.
“Steve’s knowledge and experience, particularly with wildlife and forestry, have earned him the respect of leaders in those industries and among our farmers,” Carlisle said. “He’s also respected by officials who regulate those industries. Anyone who has the respect of all those parties is a true statesman and leader.”