The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) has named W. Dwight Armstrong, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of the National FFA Organization, the 2016 Agribusiness Leader of the Year.

This award, which is NAMA’s highest honor, recognizes outstanding leadership in private, public or academic service and is conferred each year to a senior agribusiness executive who not only exemplifies excellence in agribusiness but has also made significant contributions to the industry. Now in its 16th year, the award will be presented at the opening general session of the 2016 Agri-Marketing Conference, “From the Ground Up,” April 14 in Kansas City, Mo.

Dwight Armstrong has a passion for agriculture and its role in food security. This passion has infiltrated all aspects of his life. Like other industry leaders, he appreciates the serious and urgent challenge of feeding a global population that will top 9 billion by 2050. That is why he is focused on delivering the human capital to get that job done. He works daily to ensure youth are being educated on issues of hunger and food security, as well as playing active roles in their communities. Through his career, he has mentored, developed and honed many leaders around the globe.

Under Armstrong’s leadership at FFA, there has been dramatic growth in FFA student membership, National FFA Foundation contributions and attendance at the National FFA Convention & Expo. The organization achieved an all-time record membership this year with 629,327 student members in grades 7-12 in 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Attendance at the National FFA Convention & Expo grew from 53,473 in 2009 to 65,173 in 2015, making it the nation’s largest student gathering. During his tenure, financial stability was strengthened for both the National FFA Foundation and the National FFA Organization. Under the banner of “We Are FFA,” Armstrong created close collaboration and complementary strategic direction for both organizations.

His leadership and service to agriculture have been lifelong, from his early years as an FFA member and his first degree in agriculture from Murray State University. He continues to serve the industry on numerous business and not-for-profit boards including: Agri-Corps board; Shoulder to Shoulder board; Mathile Institute board and the Professional Services board. He has received numerous awards and recognitions including an Honorary Doctorate from Purdue University and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Feed Industry Association.