By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: Former Farm Bureau president Cecil Miller, Jr., passed away yesterday surrounded by family and friends. A third generation Arizonan, Miller was born into a Salt River Valley farming family. He is the son of another Arizona Farm Bureau president, Cecil Miller, Sr. In fact, the Miller family is the only farm or ranch family that can claim a father and son served the presidency in the Arizona Farm Bureau. Miller Sr. served from 1941 to 1943 during a time when our nation was at war.

Miller Jr. was Arizona Farm Bureau’s longest serving president in history, serving from 1971 to 1992.

While other Arizona Farm Bureau presidents have sat on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Miller is the only one to have been vice president of the American Farm Bureau. He also sat on the American Farm Bureau Executive committee for 15 years, served on the board of the Salt River Project, was one of the founders of the Western Agricultural Insurance Company, served on the public lands committee for the Bureau of Land Management and was a member of the advisory group that worked with Gov. Bruce Babbitt to create the 1980 groundwater code. He has also been a board member of the State Compensation Fund, the Central Arizona Project, Arizona Historical Society and the Tolleson Union High School Board.

Not long ago, Miller represented agriculture on Arizona’s Navigable Streams Adjudication Commission and served in an advisory capacity to the Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Arizona. In 2006, Miller’s family funded the Dean’s Chair for Excellence in Agriculture and Life Science for the University of Arizona.

Miller was the 2007 recipient of the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award given out by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). I had the privilege of being there when Miller received the award during AFBF’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah that year. His family was among the invited guests.

Says Miller Jr., “When you’ve been around as long as I have been, you’ve got to learn something along the way.”

Certainly, I admire this father and son team for what they’ve accomplished for Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona agriculture and for our Arizona.

To read more about the father/son Legacy of the Miller farm and ranch family, you might wish to read, Like Father, Like Son.

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Editor’s Note: Writing this series draws for me a simple conclusion: Being involved in Arizona Farm Bureau matters.