Scott VanderWal of Volga, S.D., was elected Vice President of the American Farm Bureau Federation today (Jan. 12) by delegates at the AFBF annual meeting held in Orlando. VanderWal is the first ever from South Dakota Farm Bureau to serve at the executive level of the national organization.

“I am so honored to be elected as vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation,” VanderWal said. “Agriculture has many challenges facing us in the years ahead, and I am ready to put my leadership experience to work with President Duvall, the AFBF board and staff to accomplish our goals. Fostering a spirit of cooperation among agriculture as a whole is imperative to our success in combating those who would make it difficult—or impossible—to produce food for our nation and world.”

VanderWal was chosen on the first ballot over two other candidates for vice president. He will serve alongside newly elected AFBF President Zippy Duvall of Georgia, who was elected today as the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Duvall replaces Bob Stallman of Texas, who chose not to seek re-election after 16 years at the helm.

VanderWal, who worked closely with Stallman on the AFBF board of directors, says Stallman would not want to take personal credit for Farm Bureau’s accomplishments, but rather give the credit to everyone who participated in the team effort that he lead.

“Bob Stallman has been a well-respected agricultural leader, both here and abroad. I personally witnessed his interaction with ag and trade leaders from other countries and saw their clear respect for him,” VanderWal commented. “He was also instrumental in bringing financial stability and strength to Farm Bureau, putting us in a position of strength to lead for agriculture.”

VanderWal says one of his goals as vice president will be to enhance communication between state Farm Bureaus and the national federation.

“I believe we need to do a better job of communicating with our state Farm Bureaus, to make sure all states are part of the larger team effort. I look forward to working with President Duvall, the board and staff to look for those innovative ways to be an even more effective voice for American agriculture,” he said. 

VanderWal has been a member of the South Dakota Farm Bureau board of directors since 1997, including three years as Vice President. He has served as SDFB President since June 2004. Scott is a third-generation family farmer, raising beef cattle, corn and soybeans with his father, his son Kyle and extended family. Scott and his wife, Michelle, are parents to grown sons Kyle and Austin. 

“We can be extremely proud of our agriculture industry in South Dakota,” VanderWal commented. “Every state has its unique features, and ours is certainly no different. This new leadership position should help elevate South Dakota Farm Bureau and all of agriculture in South Dakota.”

The South Dakota Farm Bureau is the state’s largest agriculture association, representing more than 16,000 farm, ranch and rural families across the state. Nationally, the American Farm Bureau Federation represents nearly 6 million member families.