The Alabama Farmers Federation has announced management team changes in the areas of grassroots engagement, public policy, political activity and agricultural programs. The announcement follows the retirement last month of longtime Organization Department Director Mike Tidwell.
Matthew Durdin, who previously led advocacy efforts at the Alabama Statehouse, is transitioning to the Organization Department, which includes 10 field representatives across the state as well as the Young Farmers, Women’s Leadership and Member Benefits divisions. He brings with him state political activities, including working with candidates endorsed by the Federation’s political action committee, FarmPAC.
Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan said the move capitalizes on Durdin’s experience in the field and at the Statehouse.
“Matthew’s relationships with county leaders and elected officials, as well as knowledge of Federation policies and programs, will enhance member engagement and help better align state actions with farmer priorities,” Pinyan said.
Durdin served 13 years as an area organization director in Northwest Alabama. He later worked five years as legislative programs director in the state Senate before joining the Federation’s management team in 2018.
Returning to the state legislative arena is Brian Hardin, who previously oversaw state public policy issues, but most recently concentrated on agricultural commodities.
“Brian and I worked alongside one another at the State House, and he has more than five years of experience leading the Federation’s state public policy efforts,” Pinyan said. “He understands the issues affecting our members and will ensure their voices are heard in Montgomery.”
Hardin joined the federation staff in 2000 as director of the organization’s Pork, Horticulture, and Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod divisions. He represented federation members at the Statehouse as director of agricultural legislation from 2008 until being named assistant director for the Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department in 2010. He was promoted to department director three years later.
In his new role as director of the External Affairs Department, Hardin is responsible for state legislation; policy development; relationships with state boards and commissions; and the federation’s in-house legal counsel.
Stepping into the role of GAP Department director is Mitt Walker, who previously served as assistant department director.
“Mitt has worked alongside Brian to develop a strong team of commodity directors and assistants. I am confident he will continue to help farmers be more successful through the Federation’s commodity divisions, producer-funded checkoffs, affiliated organizations and representation in Washington, D.C.,” Pinyan said.
Walker began his career with the federation in June 2005, directing the catfish and meat goat and sheep divisions. In November 2011, he became national legislative programs director and resumed Catfish Division responsibilities in 2017. He joined the federation’s management team in 2019.
“We are thankful to have these exceptional leaders in the Federation,” Pinyan said. “They share a passion for serving our members, strengthening agriculture and improving the quality of life for rural Alabamians.”