Milton A. “Buzz” Wendland
Milton A. (Buzz) Wendland was born in Randolph, Kansas, near Kansas State University, which is in Manhattan. He grew up working on the family farm, which produced corn, wheat, and cattle. In 1954, he graduated from Kansas State University, with a degree in animal husbandry. Eight days after graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
While stationed in San Antonio, Texas, he was in a serious automobile accident, which required multiple operations to get him back to flight status for the Air Force. As part of his rehabilitation, Wendland was sent to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. While there, he met and later married Dianne Smith, whose father (the late Will Howard Smith) headed a large farming operation near Prattville. He was later to play a major role in convincing Wendland to stay in Alabama and pursue a career in agriculture.
Despite his extensive injuries, Wendland worked his way back to flight status with Air Force and spent much of his military career training pilots. In 1960, Wendland started Autauga Farming Company, primarily a cotton and cattle operation near Autaugaville. Since 1960, the company has grown to include two additional farms and has become more diversified, adding a large hog operation in Dallas County, and growing several seed crops, small grains, and pecans.
A staunch believer in service to his industry and community, Wendland has served as president of the Alabama 4-H Council, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, and Alabama Crop Improvement Association. He has served on the board of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve, Auburn University Agricultural Advisory Board, and the First Presbyterian Church of Prattville, on the board of Prattville YMCA, and the Autauga County Farmers Federation.
In addition to Autauga Farming Company, Wendland is President of WENCO Inc., parent company to several farm equipment, cycle, and recreational product dealerships in central Alabama. He and Dianne have four children and three grandchildren.