2005 Apex Winner
Richard (Rick) D. Ward graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in AgriculturalEconomics in 1980. Since graduation, Rick has served on many different agricultural boards and committees. From 1982 to 1990, he acted as the District Supervisor for the Soil and Water Conservation District of Montgomery County.
Focusing his interest on the pork industry, Rick served as President of the Montgomery County Pork Producers in 1986 and as a Trade Show Chairman for the Indiana Pork Conference from 1987 to1990. He has also exhibited a great commitment to the Indiana Pork Producers, serving terms as Chairman, Vice President, President Elect, and finally President in 1992. When his term ended, Rick was then elected Chairman of the National Pork Leadership Academy in 1993. This academy developed high school youth into spokespersons for the Pork Industry through extensive media training, public speaking and exposure to governmental leaders. In 1994 he was appointed by the then Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Epsy, as board member of the National Pork Board, that allocated over $50,000,000 dollars of producer contributions to promotion, research and education projects; he served in that position until 1996. During that same time period, Rick also worked as the Ag Advisor to the President of the Bank of Chicago of the Federal Reserve Board. His role was to inform the Bank President regarding the attitudes of producers and lending institutions that they used. His most recent contribution was forming the Indiana Pork Advocacy Coalition (INPAC) and acting as the first president from 2002-2003. This is an organization that addresses governmental and regulatory issues of the pork industry and includes communication with governmental officials.
A continuing supporter of his community, Rick acted as a Board Member and then President for two terms from 1994-2003, of the Montgomery County Planning Committee. Rick is also a member of the First Christian Church of Crawfordsville.
Rick has also continued his relationship with Purdue, serving on the Dean's Agriculture Advisory Council from 1996 to 1999. Today though Rick's work with Dr. Sandy Amass and Dr. Darryl Ragland, R & R Ward Farms is a teaching farm for Purdue's Veterinary School . This program allows current veterinary school students to receive hands-on training in current swine facilities. This relationship between R & R Ward Farms and Purdue has been fostered for several decades.
Currently, Rick serves as the President of R & R Ward Farms/Myrtle Ward Farms/Edgewood Farms, a three-corporation, fourth-generation, family farm located in Crawfordville, Indiana. Rick credits his excellent education and experiences at Purdue for his exceptional ability to balance business and public service.