Letter to the Editor

More praise for David Womack

Friday, January 10, 2020

More praise for David Womack

To the Editor:

I'd like to echo the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation's recent recognition of David Womack Sr. of Shelbyville for his leadership and dedication to agriculture in Bedford County and beyond. In addition to advocating for traditional agriculture, David is a founder of the U.S. biodiesel industry.

David was one of the farmer leaders at the table in the early 1990s who helped establish the U.S. biodiesel industry. His strong leadership, unwavering patience and commitment helped to lay the foundation for an emerging industry. Biodiesel not only adds value to agriculture and soybeans -- providing a boost to the rural economy-- but also improves our environment and creates jobs.

It wasn't easy in those early days. Instead of giving up, David stood strong through a lengthy process investing in the technical and other work necessary to launch a new alternative fuel industry and the association that represents it -- the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Today, biodiesel is a 3 billion gallon a year industry that adds 63 cents to the value of every bushel of soybeans. For Tennessee -- with 76.8 million bushels of soybeans planted on 1.7 million acres -- that equates to $48 million a year in added value.

After the industry got its footing and production began in earnest, David continued to lead, serving on NBB's Governing Board from 2003-2012 and in leadership roles with the National Biodiesel Foundation and the United Soybean Board. He worked tirelessly to advance the biodiesel industry and deliver benefits to farmers and the rural economy. His commitment continues to this day as a member of NBB.

While the industry has recognized David's work internally, and the American Soybean Association honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, I think it is important that his local community understand his extraordinary contributions. Tennessee farmers and the local economy are better off because of his work and the country as a whole is benefiting from a stronger rural economy, green jobs and cleaner air.

Thanks to David, the future is bright for the U.S. biodiesel industry which he helped to build from the ground up. We will all be forever grateful.

Donnell Rehagen

CEO, National Biodiesel Board


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