News Utsey Retires after 34 Years Serving Members

Utsey Retires after 34 Years Serving Members

Utsey Retires after 34 Years Serving Members
May 2, 2024 |

Utsey Retires after 34 Years Serving Members

After three decades serving Alabama Farmers Federation members, Robert Utsey retired from field work March 28.

Utsey reflected on his 34-year career with the Federation and Alfa Insurance during a retirement reception in Montgomery, where he was surrounded by farmers, members, friends and colleagues.

“This day gets here quicker than you think,” Utsey said. “When I began this job, my main goal was to improve the relationship between the insurance company and the Federation. My county leaders have told me it’s better now than it’s ever been. For them to say that, I’m pleased.”

Utsey began his career with Alfa in 1989 as a claims adjuster. In 2007, he followed in the footsteps of his father-in-law, Roy Rigney, when he became organization director for Federation Area 9. 

The Washington County native brought a steady work ethic, can-do attitude and familiarity with rural Alabama to the job. For 16 years, he was the liaison between the Federation and member-leaders in Butler, Clarke, Choctaw, Crenshaw, Marengo, Monroe, Washington and Wilcox counties.

His work was varied. It included recruiting young farmers, attending local board meetings, promoting commodities at events like the annual University of West Alabama (UWA) catfish fry and campaigning for Alabama FarmPAC-endorsed candidates. Utsey’s out-of-the-box thinking created the Press Box, a sports radio show reaching thousands in rural Alabama. 

Utsey’s most impactful service, however, came through relationships he formed with members, said Federation and Alfa President Jimmy Parnell.

“Robert cares about his people,” Parnell said. “That’s the main thing we ask field men to do.”

Utsey’s loyalty and servant’s heart leave big boots to fill, said Organization Department Director Matthew Durdin. 

“Robert loves his family, he loves this staff, and he loves this organization,” Durdin said. “What I will miss the most, though, was that whenever I called and asked for help, he said, ‘Yes.’ I’m a better man for knowing Robert Utsey.”

Utsey holds a bachelor’s in business from Livingston University (now UWA) and a master’s in management from Faulkner University. He lives in Chatom with Shannon, his wife of 36 years. They have three children, Luke, Peyton and Ty, and one grandson, Porter. 

“Alfa’s been so good to me,” Utsey said. “Alfa has always been first class, and I’m thankful to have spent a career with this company and these people.” 

View Related Articles