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February 14, 2022

Executive Compensation at the American Farm Bureau Federation

by Anne Paddock

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 5 – an agricultural organization – that is also known as Farm Bureau Insurance, Farm Bureau, Inc. and simply Farm Bureau.  Based in Washington, DC, AFBF is an insurance company (although the income statement does not report insurance premium revenue) and lobbying group representing the interests of the American agricultural industry with memberships starting at $25 annually.

AFBF is governed by 34 voting members (directors) of a governing body, 33 of whom are independent, although the most recent Form 990 (2019) lists 38 directors (due to timing differences) who receive $0 – $522,000 annually.  36 of the 38 (94%) directors listed are male while 2 of the 36 (6%) are female.

Key information reported on the Form 990 include the following:

  • Annual revenue averages about $35 million annually although revenue reached a high of $38 million in 2019.
  • In 2019, most revenue came from membership dues ($28 million) and conventions ($4 million).
  • Expenses totaled $33 million in 2019 with the three largest expenses reported to be compensation ($17 million), travel and conferences ($7 million), and office-related expenses ($6 million).
  • AFBF has historically not spent as much as the organization received allowing AFBF to accumulate $63 million in net assets (even after adding $1.5 million in additional pension payments in 2019).

127 employees received $17 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $134,000. However, only 41 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The eleven (11) most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $569,550:  Vincent Duvall, President
  • $449,747:  Brett Homm, CFO (to 12/18)*
  • $420,365:  Julie Anna Potts, EVP and Treasurer (to 9/18)
  • $415,919:  Mary Kay Thatcher, Sr Director, Cong. Rel (to 1/18)*
  • $404,849:  Dale Moore, EVP
  • $397,566:  Ellen Steen Greer, General Counsel and Secretary
  • $336,390:  Christina Lilja, Exec Dir, Accounting and Admin (to 8/19)
  • $329,441:  Margaret Wolff, VP, Lead, Educ, and Engage
  • $299,537:  Mary Pat Weyback, Deputy General Counsel
  • $286,572:  Donnie Parrish, Sr Director, Congressional Relations
  • $273,557:  Paul Schlegel, Director, Environment and Energy

Mary Kat Thatcher received $334,045 in severance; Brett Homm received $100,000 in severance.

The 11 most highly compensated employees received more than $4 million in compensation, which means 116 employees received $13 million in compensation, an average compensation of $113,000. However, only 30 of the 116 employees (41-11) received more than $100,000 in compensation, which means 86 employees received less than $100,000 each (or less than $8.6 million) which then means the 30 employees received $4.4 million (or an average of $147,000).

AFBF paid for companion travel and made gross up payments or provided tax indemnification. For details on these expenses, see the Form 990, Schedule J, Part III, Supplemental Information.

31 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The five (5) most highly compensated were reported to be:

  • $639,195: Peppermill Resort Spa Casino (a AAA Four Diamond Resort), of Reno, NV for convention services
  • $552,478:  Production Resource Group, of Laurel, MD for convention services
  • $483,220:  Groom Law Group Chartered, of Washington, DC for benefits consulting
  • $432,159:  Beacon Hill Staffing Group, of Washington, DC for temporary staffing
  • $426,609:  Crowell and Moring LLP, of Washington, DC for legal services

It is important to note AFBF spent nearly $500,000 on benefits consulting (or about $4,000 per employee).

In summary, revenue (primarily membership dues) is primary spent on staff compensation, travel and conventions, and office-related expenses.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018 for the year ending November 30, 2019), click here.

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