National Farmers Union (NFU) honored Robert Carlson and Clay Pederson with the award for Meritorious Service to Farmers Union and American Agriculture during its 113th Anniversary Convention this week.

“Both of these men embody much of the best of what American agriculture stands for, and their service to NFU has made this organization and the family farmers and ranchers it represents stronger and more effective,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

The Meritorious Service Awards honor those who have made particularly noteworthy contributions to agriculture, humanity and Farmers Union. This honor is the highest award the NFU Board of Directors can bestow on an individual.

“Honestly, you would be hard pressed to find many individuals as dedicated to the interest of family farmers and ranchers at the national and international levels as Robert Carlson,” said Johnson. “As a lifelong Farmers Union member and a farmer who grew up on the family farm near Glenburn, North Dakota, he has lived the ideals of cooperation, legislation and education his entire life,” added Johnson. A recent quote from Carlson sums it up best: “If we were harvesting or working livestock, we could miss church. But we never missed a Farmers Union meeting, ever.”

The second recipient of the award was Clay Pederson, who is receiving the honor posthumously. “Clay Pederson was the administrative vice president of NFU who oversaw public relations, education, outreach, membership, international affairs, meeting planning and financial objectives for the organization,” said Johnson. “Clay wrote opinion and editorial articles for nearly all of the nation’s top daily newspapers and conducted interviews on broadcast networks, all while doing a fantastic job of explaining the issues facing family farmers and ranchers to the American people,” said Johnson.

Johnson noted that in addition to making an enormous contribution to Farmers Union, he was a dedicated father to Ruth Pederson, Hannah Pederson and Joe Fransen.

Past recipients of the Meritorious Service Award include:

Meritorious Service Award to Farmers Union and to American Agriculture
2014 Stan Brown, Don Davis & Dallas Tonsager
2013 Mel Borton & Jim Frederickson
2012 Dr. Mary Hendrickson & Odean Olson
2011 Wes Sims
2010 David J. Frederickson
2008 U.S. Senator Tim Johnson
2007 John Stencel
2006 Vernon Deines (posthumously) & Gaylord Olson
2005 Carl McIlvain
2003 Leland Swenson
2001 Charlie Nash & Lee Reese
1999 Frank “Bud” Daniels
1997 Noel K. Estenson
1996 Willie Nelson
1995 Alan Ham, Alfred Namejunas & Sherry Parker Leach
1994 Reuben Johnson, Boyd Munns & Virgil Thompson
1993 Jack Bill Kelsey & Gary Lamb
1992 Victor Ray, Paul Huff, Dwyte Wilson & Neil Oxton
1991 Ken Motz & Harold Dodd
1990 Joseph E. Larson
1989 Quentin Burdick & Stanley M. Moore
1988 Harold Wright, Ruth Kobell & Darrell Moseson
1987 Henri J. Holland
1985 James L. Grahl
1985 Kenneth Holum
1984 George W. Stone, Charles F. Brannan & Raymond F. Novak
1983 Robert D. Partridge
1982 Jay Naman & Ben Radcliffe
1981 J.G. Tvedt
1980 Tony D. Dechant
1979 Gilbert C. Rohde
1978 Milton S. Holtan, Douglas T. Simpson & Jesse S. Tuttle
1976 E.W. Smith
1975 Chester A. Grahm
1974 Elton L. Berck
1972 Ann Aragues, Joseph W. Fichter & Flossie Harris Nikkel
1970 Angus H. McDonald
1967 J.J. Berg Family
1966 Esther Harbo & Glenn J. Talbott
1963 Harvey R. Solberg
1960 James G. Patton
1959 Paul W. Opsahl, K.W. Hones, Homer Duffy & D.W. Chapman
1957 Gladys Talbott Edwards, Lulu Thornbom Evanson & Mildred K. Stoltz
1955 John Veseky, Dr. Marion F. Dickinson & A.W. Ricker
1953 Emil A. Syftestad
1952 J.M. Graves
1950 C.E. Huff
1948 M.W. Thatcher

Meritorious Service Award to Agriculture and to World Agriculture Recipients
2011 Sen. Byron Dorgan
2010 Dr. Daryll T. Ray
2008 Alan Bergman
2006 Dr. William Heffernan
2003 Paul Wellstone (posthumously)
1995 Bob Bergland
1991 Jim Hightower
1990 Glenn Flaten
1989 Cy Carpenter
1987 Milton D. Hakel
1980 Tony T. Dechant
1979 Frank L. Goffio
1971 Roger Savary
1969 Fred V. Heinkel
1968 Frank Carlson & Ovid A. Martin
1967 George McGovern
1965 Hubert Humphrey
1964 Elizabeth B. Herring and Averell Harriman
1963 Homer Brinkley
1962 Orvill L. Freeman
1960 B.R. Sen
1958 Harry S. Truman
1956 Sir James Turner
1954 Norris E. Dodd
1952 Lord John Boyd Orr
1951 Clyde Ellis
1950 Charles F. Brannan
1949 Mrs. Dora B. Haines
1948 Rt. Rev. Msgr. Luigi Ligutti
1946 Chester Bowles

Meritorious Service Award To Humanity Recipients
2012 Howard G. Buffett
2010 Robert Dole
2007 Robert G. Lewis
2005 Tom Daschle
2003 George McGovern
1992 Jimmy Carter
1986 James G. Patton