Each year, the Tennessee 4-H program recognizes a supporter who has gone above and beyond to support 4-H Youth Development. The Tennessee 4-H Foundation honors outstanding individuals who have significantly contributed their time and resources to help young people enrolled in 4-H all over the state.

This year, we honored Bill Johnson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Farm Credit Mid-America, a $23-billion agricultural cooperative serving more than 100,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Farm Credit Mid-America has been a long-time supporter of 4-H youth development programs. Investments have focused on scholarships, leadership activities and conferences designed to improve both individuals and the organization as a whole. Additionally, Farm Credit’s efforts support capital investments that will serve many generations to come.

Johnson grew up on a small farm in southern Indiana before attending the University of Evansville, where he received a Bachelor of Science. After completing his undergraduate studies, Johnson earned a Master of Business Administration from Gonzaga University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at Vanderbilt University. Johnson joined the Farm Credit team in 2001, and today he has more than 35 years of financial services experience.

Under Johnson’s leadership, giving in Tennessee has increased significantly. As an organization, Farm Credit maintains a personal connection, as more than half of employees were members of 4-H and many are still involved as advisors or volunteers. For Johnson, it’s very personal.

“4-H has been a part of my life since grade school,” says Johnson. “It taught me important skills of organization and respect. 4-H also helped me learn how to work as part of a team. Most importantly, my 4-H leaders modeled what it meant to serve and helped us become better people.

“I am very grateful for the time and attention they gave us as part of the 4-H experience.”

Johnson has been both a loyal friend to 4-H and the Tennessee program, and we couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the award!


1948 W. P. Ridley, Columbia
Clyde B. Austin, Greeneville

1949 J. Frank Porter, Columbia

1950 W. H. Dilatush, Memphis

1951 Joel B. Forst, Jr. Nashville

1952 Mrs. D. W. Bond, Jackson

1953 Jim McCord, Lewisburg

1954 F. Dwight McDonald, Knoxville

1955 L.C. Jacobs, Nashville

1956 Edward (Ed) Hicks, Nashville

1957 Mouzon Peters, Chattanooga

1958 Tom J. Hitch, Columbia

1959 W. F. Moss, Nashville

1960 Buford Ellington, Nashville

1961 Clyde York, Columbia

1962 John Hembree, Memphis

1963 Jessee Safley, Nashville

1964 Leonard Rogers, Knoxville

1965 Tommy Lynn, Cookeville

1966 Walter Jones, Nashville

1967 Ross Buckley, Chattanooga

1968 Lonnie Safley, Columbia

1969 Mrs. R. H. Lee, Martin

1970 Don Spencer, Nashville

1971 Crosby Murray, Knoxville

1972 Murray Miles, Columbia

1973 Alice Jarman, Nashville

1974 Bob Battle, Nashville

1975 Arch E. McClanahan, Nashville

1976 Robert W. Basse, Nashville
Webster Pendergrass, Knoxville

1977 Bill Bennett, Nashville

1978 J. C. Hunley, Nashville

1979 James S. Putnam, Columbia

1980 K. C. Dodson, Columbia

1981 Robert W. Gilliam, Nashville

1982 George S. Foster, Nashville
J. Franklin Nix, LaVergne

1983 Ted Vaughn, Nashville

1984 Bill Walker, Brownsville

1985 Robert Primm, Cincinnati, OH

1986 Howard Simmons, Knoxville
Harold Smith, Martin

1987 Roy Palk, Carthage
W. W. Armistead, Knoxville

1988 Frank Perkins, Nashville

1989 Linda Carmen, Nashville

1990 William E. Bailey, Nashville
M. Lloyd Downen, Knoxville

1991 Judy Basse, Nashville

1992 Bill and Ruth Hale, Charlston
Joe Johnson, Knoxville

1993 Raymond E. Ingram, Nashville Ray Wilson, LaVergne

1994 Tommy Burks, Monterey

1995 Tom Purkey, Nashville

1996 A. C. Clark, Cookeville

1997 Jim Rainey, Gallatin
Ben Powell, Knoxville

1998 Dan Wheeler, Nashville

1999 L. H. “Cotton” Ivy, Decaturville

2000 Charles Colley, South Fulton

2001 Charles Darnell, Lafayette

2002 Martha Jo Tolley, Knoxville

2003 Mike Keel, Knoxville

2004 Joe Jackson, Nashville
George Criss, Knoxville

2005 Jack Britt, Knoxville

2006 Flavius Barker, Dunlap

2007 Phil Bredesen, Nashville

2008 Bob Brinkmann, Manchester

2009 Alice Ann Moore, Blaine Waymon Hickman, Columbia

2010 Joe Johnson, Knoxville

2011 Jim Byford, Martin

2012 Joe Huffine, Murfreesboro

2013 Lacy UpChurch, Columbia

2014 Bart Krisle, LaVergne

2015 Steve Sutton, Knoxville

2016 Ruth Henderson McQueen

2017 George Brown

2018 Dr. Joe DiPietro