Richard Bell was appointed Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture by Governor Mike Huckabee following his nomination by the Arkansas Agriculture Board on August 15, 2005.
He is former president and chief executive officer of Riceland Foods, Inc., headquartered at Stuttgart , Arkansas . He retired from that position in July 2004 after 27 years.
Before joining Riceland in 1977, Mr. Bell served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington , D.C. He also served as president and on the board of directors of the Department's Commodity Credit Corporation and as chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.
He began his career as a foreign service officer of the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and served at U.S. Embassies in Ottawa , Brussels and Dublin . He received the USDA's Distinguished Service Award for expanding U.S. agricultural trade and food aid during a period of extraordinary stress and change in world agriculture during the early 1970s.
Mr. Bell is a native of Illinois and holds B.S. (honors) and M.S. degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois .
Mr. Bell has served on the board of trustees of Arkansas State University , the Foundation Fund Board of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Stuttgart Regional Medical Center , Easter Seals Arkansas and the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie. He is a former member of the Chicago Board of Trade and former member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . He also served on the boards of directors of GTE Southwest, Inc. at Irving , Texas , the First Commercial Corporation at Little Rock and the St. Louis Bank for Cooperatives.
Mr. Bell was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2005.
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