John W. Anderson
John Anderson, former president and CEO of the Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC), began his career in agriculture at his family’s peanut shelling company, Anderson’s Peanuts in Andalusia, Alabama.
Born in Greenwood, Florida, John was still an infant when his family moved to Andalusia where they had just opened a new shelling plant. Anderson grew up in the peanut business and returned to it in 1958 after earning a degree in industrial management from Auburn (then the Alabama Polytechnic Institute) in 1956 and then finishing a two-year enlistment in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant.
As soon as he arrived back at the home business, Anderson began establishing a reputation for his honesty, integrity, and vision. His personal commitment to the industry further cemented Anderson’s Peanuts’ position as a leader in the shelling and peanut seed industry. Through the years, Anderson worked to improve not only the market for Alabama-grown peanuts, which Anderson’s Peanuts sells nationally and internationally, but also the quality of peanuts. In addition, he helped draft peanut legislation, working closely with the Congress on policy issues.
In 1969, AFC acquired Anderson’s Peanuts and Anderson became an integral part of AFC, first by working with the Anderson’s Peanuts Division and then broadening his horizons. He was named president and CEO of AFC in 1989, a position he held until his retirement in 1995. Taking over AFC leadership during a difficult time in agriculture, Anderson’s ethical and energetic leadership helped strengthen AFC tremendously so that today, Alabama farmers enjoy a steady, diverse, and affordable supply of products.
Anderson also is former president of the Alabama Crop Improvement Association and was named their man of the year in 1988. He was named the Alabama Council of Cooperatives 1996 Distinguished Cooperator. He is a former president of the Southeastern Peanut Shellers’ Association and served on numerous committees with the National Peanut Council. He continues to serve as a director for the Mississippi Chemical Corporation, Commercial Bank, and Andalusia Hospital.
Anderson and his wife, Evelyn Wilder Anderson, now live in Destin, Florida, near their three children and six grandchildren.