AFBF honors Swank with its top award

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TAMPA, Fla. – Retired Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Dr. C. William Swank was honored for his commitment to agriculture at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention.

Swank accepted the federation’s Distinguished Service Award, the organization’s highest honor, in a special presentation Jan. 20.

Ohio native. Born and raised on a farm near Greenville, Ohio, Swank was the first from his family to graduate from college, earning an undergraduate degree from Ohio State University. He served in the U.S. military, and then returned to complete his master’s and doctorate degrees in economics.

Swank has served the agriculture community through his visible leadership at both the state and national levels.

Well deserved. According to Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President John C. (Jack) Fisher, “Much of what makes Ohio Farm Bureau great today is due to the leadership given by Bill Swank. This is a great honor for a great man.”

During his tenure with the Ohio Farm Bureau, membership grew from 52,000 to more than 180,000, with a gain in farmer-members for many consecutive years.

Swank also has been instrumental in creating an atmosphere for agricultural groups in Ohio to work together.

He has served as president of the 112,000-member Ohio State University Alumni Association and recently was the namesake of the C. William Swank Endowed Chair in Rural/Urban Policy.

Still leading. Following retirement, Swank was appointed by Ohio’s governor to chair, with the state’s lieutenant governor and agriculture director, a task force to make recommendations on how to best preserve Ohio’s prime farmland.

Swank has received several national appointments and chaired the National Panel on Cost Effectiveness of Ethanol Fuel Production.

He was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1997 and the national Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2002.

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