What makes Rural Forward Unique?

We are from rural America, incorporated in Iowa.

We are comprised of farmers, mainstreet business persons, and rural organization.

Our base is national in scope drawing experienced leaders from multiple states.

Our multi-state leaders have many connections that we can call upon to build our network in each state.

John Whitaker

John Whitaker

Executive Director and Board Member

  • Served as State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency in Iowa during the Obama Administration
  • Elected to the Iowa House of Representatives 4 times
  • Elected by his peers to leadership 3 terms, first as Assistant Minority Leader, then Assistant Majority Leader
  • Elected 3 times to the Van Buren County Iowa Board of Supervisors
  • Served 9 years as President of the Iowa Farmers Union
  • Active farmer
  • Past President of Mid-American Baptist Churches USA
Bob Etheridge

Bob Etheridge

Chairman, former congressman

  • Served 14 years in the US House of Representatives
  • 12 years on House Ag Committee
  • 2 years as Chairman of the General Farm Commodity and Risk Management Subcommittee
  • Served 8 years as North Carolina State Superintendent of Public instruction (elected)
  • Served in the North Carolina House of Representatives
  • Serves as an Elder at Leaflet Presbyterian Church