Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dick Fifield who is retiring after 22 years of dedicated service with the Alabama Farmers Federation. I have known Dick for many years and I consider him to be one of the strongest advocates of farm programs in the country. He has fought for the small family farmer and his leadership on behalf of Alabama farmers will be missed.
Dick is a native of Wisconsin who began his career in agriculture with a degree from Beloit College in 1951, followed by an MS in horticulture from the University of Illinois in 1972. He served his country as a member of the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps as a special agent from 1951 to 1954, and taught at the University of Illinois from 1971 to 1974 as an assistant horticulturist before moving to Alabama and joining the Alabama Farmers Federation in 1974.
As director of horticulture, poultry and forestry, Dick designed the federation's monthly food price survey and began annual farm market days in Birmingham, Huntsville, and Montgomery. He established and operated a producer-farmer market inside a shopping mall in Birmingham, a new and innovative idea at the time. Dick played a leading role in the design and construction of the Alabama State Farmers' Market, built in 1984.
As director of natural and environmental resources at the Farmers Federation, Dick Fifield worked with farmers to promote optimum employment of their land resources. He helped farmers to understand and implement State and Federal regulations affecting family farming operations.
As director of national affairs, Dick has served as the organization's liaison with the U.S. Congress since 1980.
In this role, Dick has helped formulate national agricultural policy since the 1981 farm bill. He served as a member of the National Peanut Grower Group's Technical Advisory Committee and was actively involved in the formulation of GATT and NAFTA legislation related to peanuts and other commodities of interest to Alabama.
Dick will continue to operate his family farm in Chilton County, AL, as well as his family-owned nursery in Montgomery. And I'm sure he will continue to be a strong voice for agriculture. I doubt he will miss living out of a suitcase, since he has spent the better part of the past 15 years traveling every week between Montgomery and Washington. His retirement is certainly well-deserved.
In honor of his lifetime of dedicated service to Alabama farmers, Dick recently received the Alabama Farmers Federation's Special Service to Agriculture Award. I join his many friends and colleagues in congratulating Dick on a job well done.
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