Yezak, Stallman honored at Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership reception in Austin

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

AUSTIN – The Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program, also known as TALL, honored Jennifer Yezak and Bob Stallman for contributions to agriculture at a reception held recently at The Austin Club in Austin.

The event was hosted by the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Alumni, the Texas A&M University System and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Capital Farm Credit was the signature sponsor.

Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, professor and TALL program director, was master of ceremonies. John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, introduced keynote speaker Glenn Hegar, Texas comptroller.

Yezak received the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership Distinguished Alumnus Award presented by Tanya Foerster, president of the TALL Alumni and director of advertising for Capital Farm Credit. Yezak is chief of staff in the office of the assistant secretary for administration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Yezak’s agriculture career spans 32 years. According to the award nomination, Yezak has “not only represented agriculture in rural Texas with a steady dedication, she has used her knowledge of agriculture issues and government affairs to handle responsibilities for state representatives, all of the nation’s state agriculture commissioners, directors and secretaries, U.S. Senators, USDA administrators, under secretaries and ultimately the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture while serving in two presidential administrations.”

(From left)Tanya Foerster, president, Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership, TALL, Alumni Board and director of advertising with Capital Farm Credit; Bob and Stacy Stallman; Dr. Douglas Steele, director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Jim Prewitt, chairman of the TALL Advisory Board and CEO of Landmark Nurseries; Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, TALL program director and professor, AgriLife Extension. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Among her recent accomplishments, Yezak served as director of external and intergovernmental affairs for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. She was the principal official to communicate with the nation’s governors, state agriculture officials, county and city officials, and the national organizations representing those officials on the range of USDA programs and policy areas.

Yezak was also the principal liaison to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement. She organized a number of meetings for officials at the White House Executive Office Building, including several TALL meetings in the past seven years.

Stallman received the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Jim Prewitt, TALL Foundation board chairman and CEO of Landmark Nurseries Inc. Stallman led the American Farm Bureau Federation for 16 years. He testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate more than 40 times on trade, tax, environment, farm programs, energy,  immigration, transportation, economics and other policy topics. He also served as chairman of the board for the American Agricultural Insurance Company, a Farm Bureau affiliate.

(From left) Jim Prewitt, chairman of the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership, TALL, Advisory Board and CEO of Landmark Nurseries; Tanya Foerster, president, TALL Alumni Board and director of advertising with Capital Farm Credit; Jennifer Yezak, TALL Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient; Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, TALL program director and professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; and Dr. Douglas Steele, director, AgriLife Extension. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

In 2016, he received CropLife America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Texas Heritage Hall of Honor by the Texas State Fair in 2014. He was honored with the Leader in Agriculture Award by Agriculture Future of America in 2013.

In resolutions passed by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate in 2009, he was named a “Leader and Champion of Agriculture.” Texas A&M named Stallman, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, a “Distinguished Texan in Agriculture” in 2008. The Texas Farm Bureau, which he served for six years as president, presented him the Meritorious Service Award in 2008.

TALL is a competitive leadership development program that includes seminars with experts, on-site tours, meetings with business and government leaders, international study and personal skills improvement. It is funded by individuals and institutions through private gifts and grants. Participants pay a tuition and AgriLife Extension provides administrative support with 100 percent of the program support paid by the agriculture industry. The TALL program is designed for men and women in the early stages of their leadership careers. Each class consists of at least 25 people who are associated with agriculture. Participants come from every sector of agriculture and all parts of Texas.

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