PVGA Annual Award Recipient 2010 – Keith Eckel
Keith Eckel is the owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons and president of Eckel Farms, Inc. in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County. He is a former Director of the Association.
A Pennsylvania Master Farmer, Eckel was chairman of the board of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., the parent company of one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services companies in the world. A tomato, sweet corn, pumpkin and grain grower and former dairyman, he formerly served as president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau for 15 years. He has also served as a trustee of the Pennsylvania State University and formerly was on the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board, the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, the American Farm Bureau Board and Executive Committee, the Lackawanna County Cooperative Extension Association board, and the Pennsylvania Council of Cooperative Extension Associations board. He was a member of the Governor’s Seasonal Farm Labor Committee. Eckel coordinated the 1972 flood relief program for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
At the national level he has served on the U.S. Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee and the US. Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee for Fruits and Vegetables and the USDA’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Advisory Committee.
Eckel has been honored with several awards from the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Association of County Agricultural Agents and the Pennsylvania Jaycees. A native a Scranton, he attended Keystone Junior College, Dickinson College and Penn State University. He is a member and past lay leader of Bethel United Methodist Church.