During his 14 years in the top leadership spot of the 205,000-member Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, David Waide led the organization through challenges ranging from devastating hurricanes to the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the crafting of three major farm bills and the influencing of many legislative issues at the state and national level.

For his many accomplishments during his tenure and his contributions to agriculture in Mississippi and nationally, Waide was honored at this year’s state convention with the organization’s highest honor for individuals, the Distinguished Service Award.

The Clay County row crop farmer and cattleman is retiring at the end of December after choosing not to seek another term.

“David Waide has been a diligent and effective advocate for Mississippi farmers and livestock producers,” said Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran in a video message. “His ability to find solutions affecting farmers large and small, his business acumen, and his public service record have made him a very effective leader.”

During his tenure that spanned three presidential administrations, Waide says he has seen “seasons of bountiful harvests and seasons of despair,” as the state’s farmers have dealt with adverse weather, including the unprecedented devastation from Hurricane Katrina, a faltering economy, escalating fuel/feed costs, the decline of cotton as the state’s leading crop, major changes within the dairy and catfish industries, the specter of Asian soybean rust, avian flu, mad cow disease, and a myriad of other problems.