C. William Swank
Bill Swank devoted his entire career to strengthening the economic vitality of farmers through cooperative action. Through his 40 years of leadership in the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and 20 years of work with NCBA, he extolled the virtues of cooperation and encouraged others to embrace it. Regionally, he founded the Ohio Agricultural Marketing Association, and helped organize the Ohio Corn Growers Association, the Ohio Soybean Association, and the Self-Help Gas Program, all of which employ cooperative principles. He was also an early proponent of purchasing cooperatives, at a time when others failed to see their merit.
In addition, Swank's unwavering belief in cooperation among cooperatives led him to help found Cooperative Business International (CBI), a world trade organization. His vision and leadership as its first chairman made this organization a success, providing important trade opportunities to U.S. agricultural cooperatives and promoting democracy in countries where it had not yet taken hold.
Swank also dedicated much of his time and energy to cooperative education, mentoring countless cooperators, teaching cooperative principles at youth conferences, and writing editorials explaining cooperatives and why people should support them.