News Patterson To Retire From Governmental Affairs Post Dec. 1

Patterson To Retire From Governmental Affairs Post Dec. 1

Patterson To Retire From Governmental Affairs Post Dec. 1
October 25, 2007 |

Freddie Patterson, the quick-witted and determined director of the Department of Governmental Affairs, will retire Dec. 1 after 33 years of service with the Alabama Farmers Federation.His retirement draws the curtain on an illustrious career in which Patterson earned a reputation as one of the foremost proponents of Alabama agriculture and formidable adversary to those who would dare encroach upon the rights of the state’s farmers.”Freddie has been a tireless worker for Alabama farmers on a wide range of issues for more than three decades,” said Federation President Jerry A. Newby. “He’s been a friend to the farmer on the front line — first as a field man dealing with issues at the grassroots level, then as director of the Women’s Division where he helped bring us Ag In The Classroom.
“Finally, he was our main man in the Legislature, where he earned a reputation as a fighter and a friend, a friend who didn’t quit at day’s end but one who kept plugging away. We’ll not only miss Freddie’s tenacity, but also his optimistic outlook, his friendship and his sense of humor.” Patterson, a Macon County native and 1969 Auburn University graduate, came to the Federation on Nov. 18, 1974, as a field man after a brief career with Alabama Power Company. He was named director of the Women’s Division and Local Affairs 11 years later.”There was madness behind the method,” Patterson jokes as he begins to explain his motivation in applying for a job traditionally held by women. “At the time, the job description for the Women’s Director also included part-time service for the Department of Public Affairs when the legislature was in session. At that time, too, we were trying to get women involved in politics through the Women’s Division, but we were also working through that department to establish the Ag In The Classroom program through the Department of Education. We were very successful in doing that. That was probably the best 15 years of my career.” Working on those issues and others through those years served as a training ground for Patterson.Known for his witticisms and clever quips, Patterson said he learned the value of a good sense of humor on Goat Hill. “It’s a matter of absolute survival,” he said. “It’s how you avoid weeping and gnashing of the teeth.”Over the past 33 years, Patterson has worked on the passage of Alabama’s lid law, the current use property tax legislation and the defeat of numerous pieces of gambling legislation. He counts 2007 as a very successful year with winning the agricultural exemption for the Department of Transportation registration requirements, the passage of the Linked Deposits bill and improved agricultural lien reporting in the Uniform Commercial Code. “Our team did a tremendous job on these issues,” Patterson said.”What I’ve enjoyed most is just being surrounded by good people, being able to participate in the promotion of agriculture in Alabama and defending agriculture from any further encroachments,” he said. “I think one day the world will wake up and find it should’ve paid more attention to its production of food and fiber.””This organization has afforded the son of a used car salesman and a store clerk the opportunity to do something in his professional life that he never dreamed of doing because of the influence of that organization and the respect people have for it,” Patterson added. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with state legislators and members of Congress all because this organization afforded me the opportunity to do that.”Patterson, who turns 64 on Jan. 3, says his immediate retirement plans are to “develop close, personal relationships with my grandchildren, Alabama’s golf courses and a good lawn service.”

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