Alabama Farmers Federation honors John McMillan with ‘Service to Agriculture’ award
Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan was honored at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 97th annual meeting Sunday evening in Montgomery, receiving the organization’s highest honor.
The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization, at more than 350,000 members strong.
“I am humbled and truly honored to have been selected for this award,” McMillan said in a release. “The Alabama Farmers Federation has been an organization I’ve turned to for advice and assistance throughout my career. I’ve been fortunate to work with and be around good people all my life. As far as what I’ve accomplished, this award is as much for all of them as it is for me.”
Growing up in rural Baldwin County as the son of a sawmill owner and farmer, McMillan learned the value of hard work, determination and relationships. Those standards have served him well throughout his life in the private business sector and almost 50 years in the political arena, as recognized by the Federation.
McMillan’s public service career includes time as a Baldwin County commissioner, state representative, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) commissioner and State Personnel Board member. In 2010, he won his first statewide election as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. He was re-elected in 2014 and was elected state treasurer earlier this year.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell described McMillan as a resourceful leader who used his skills to repair and rebuild the ag commissioner’s office when he was elected in 2010.
“When John first took office at the Department of Agriculture, he set a new tone for the services that office would provide,” Parnell explained. “He immediately encouraged a higher standard of public service among department employees and cultivated a new vision for the department’s future.”
McMillan also formerly served as Alabama Forestry Association vice president where, in 2003, he helped the Federation defeat Amendment One — the largest proposed tax increase in Alabama’s history.
“He has opposed property tax increases and burdensome environmental regulations,” Parnell added. “Throughout his life, John has been a friend and advocate for rural Alabama.”
During his time as ADCNR commissioner, McMillan was instrumental in creating the Alabama Trust Fund, a state trust to preserve proceeds from offshore oil and gas leases.
While ag commissioner, he served as president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the Southern United States Trade Association. McMillan also served on the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture board of directors.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual meeting will continue Monday with elections of Federation officers and state board members, elections of the State Women’s Leadership Committee and State Young Farmers Committee, policy discussions and Young Farmers contests awards.
Governor Kay Ivey will address members during the closing session that evening followed by keynote speaker Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn