25x'25 founding member Bill Richards, a farmer from Circelville, has stepped down as co-chairman of the Alliance's Steering Committee, a position he has held since the renewable energy advocacy group was created in 2004. Richards will stay on as a member of the committee.
Succeeding Richards as Steering Committee co-chairman is Bart Ruth, a Nebraska corn and soybean producer. Ruth, who also heads up the Alliance's policy committee, is a former president of the American Soybean Association, and was named an Eisenhower Fellow for Agriculture in 2005.
J. Read Smith, another 25x'25 founder who is a Washington state wheat, small grains and cattle producer, and a former president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, has agreed to stay on as the other Steering Committee co-chairman.
Richards is an Ohio corn and soybean producer and a former chief of the USDA's Agriculture Soil Conservation Service. He was among a select group of U.S. agricultural leaders called together by the nonpartisan Energy Future Coalition in a working group charged with enhancing the role of farms, ranches and forestlands in diversifying America's energy resources.
The working group soon evolved into the 25x'25 Alliance and under Richards' leadership, has become evolved into powerful coalition united behind the goal of America's farms, ranches and forestlands meeting 25% of the nation's energy needs with renewable sources by the year 2025. To date, the 25x'25 goal has been endorsed by nearly 1,000 partners, 35 current and former governors and 15 state legislatures.