For Jim Cravey, serving as State FFA president in 1964 was a life-shaping event, one that put him on the path to a long and successful career as a powerful advocate for Alabama farmers and the state’s agricultural industry.
Cravey grew up on his family’s Covington County farm, which included corn, hogs, cattle, timber and U-pick vegetables. Inspired by the farm and FFA, he entered Auburn University in 1965, and, through students he knew from his FFA days, discovered Alpha Gamma Rho, a national social and professional agricultural fraternity. He joined the Auburn chapter and later became its president.
In 1970, Cravey graduated with an agriscience education degree and went to work with Con-Agra Poultry in Dalton, Georgia. By November of that year, he had completed basic training with the Alabama Army National Guard, gotten married, bought a house and left Con-Agra to become the first full-time Young Farmers Program director for what is now the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Four years later, he was named director of the federation’s Commodity Department and Dairy Division. His many accomplishments on behalf of Alabama farmers over the next three decades included representing Alabama farmers’ interests in state and national legislation.
He retired from the Alabama Farmers Federation in 2005, returning to the workforce temporarily in 2013 to serve as interim executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. He and his brother, Albert, have cattle, timber and a hunting lodge on the Florala farm they co-own.
In addition to a Special Service to Agriculture Award the federation presented him when he retired, Cravey has received numerous state and national FFA honors and was named by Alpha Gamma Rho nationally as a Brother of the Century in 2004. He is a member and past president of the Alabama Agribusiness Council and a lifetime member of the Auburn Agricultural Alumni Association. He also served on the College of Agriculture’s Dean’s Advisory Council and the national Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching.
In 2000, Cravey lost Paula, his wife of 30 years and the mother of their two children, following a bone marrow transplant. In 2005, he remarried and lives with wife Cindy in Shalimar, Florida. His children, Chad and Ashley Cravey Gregory, have blessed him with five grandchildren.