“Our honoree today can only be described as one of the giants of Texas agriculture,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Donald Patman. “That is true today and it's also true in the historical sense. He is on everyone's 'short list' of individuals who have had great and lasting impact on our industry.”

Stenholm is the 21st person to receive the award in TFB's seven-decade history. It is the highest honor the organization can bestow.

Patman cited Stenholm's work on the 2002 Farm Bill as the Congressman's most recent contribution to Texas agriculture and noted his influence with other members of Congress.

“There have been many, many times that I've talked with a member of Congress about an issue or bill of concern to agriculture and Farm Bureau,” Patman said. “Very often, when that Congressman did not understand the details of agricultural legislation, he or she would say something like, 'I'll have to talk to Charlie about that.’”

Previous Meritorious Service honorees include Governor Dolph Briscoe, members of Congress and the Texas Legislature, and former TFB presidents.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com