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Farm Bureau honors longtime leader from Henry County and former corporate secretary

Farm Bureau honors longtime leader from Henry County and former corporate secretary

Gordon R. Metz of Martinsville and Jonathan S. Shouse of Henrico County were honored Dec. 1 with Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2021 Distinguished Service Awards during the VFBF Annual Convention in Williamsburg.

Metz, a Henry County beef cattle and hay producer, received a Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. He served 11 three-year terms on the VFBF board of directors, representing Farm Bureau producer members in Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, Henry, Patrick and Roanoke counties. He retired from board service at the conclusion of his final term in 2020.

“Gordon is the very embodiment of community service, and his commitment to Farm Bureau and to his neighbors is inspiring,” said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. “He’s unfailingly generous with his time and ideas, and he imparts solid business sense and a wealth of contacts to any project he takes on.

“At times when we sought to further grow the organization, Gordon was never one to think small,” Pryor continued. “His goal was to boost membership not by individuals, but by groups, and to ensure that we offered relevant and desirable member benefits.”

In addition to his service on the VFBF board, Metz chaired the organization’s Equine Advisory Committee and served on its Membership Services Advisory Committee and the boards of Mississippi-based Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. and New York-based Countryway Insurance Co.

The Henry County native is a past president of Henry County Farm Bureau, and served for more than 20 years on that organization’s board. Additional local involvement includes service on the advisory board for Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation and active participation in Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church. Metz also is a former president of the Figsboro Ruritan Club, the Augusta Military Academy Alumni Association and the Augusta Military Academy board of trustees.

Shouse, who received a Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau Award, began his Farm Bureau career in 1982 as VFBF coordinator of program and resource development. He retired as corporate secretary of the federation and 20 subsidiaries in 2019 after nearly 30 years in that capacity.

Pryor said the hallmarks of Shouse’s work for Farm Bureau were consistent. “It was carried out meticulously, in accordance with any established rules, and with an enduring respect for our organization and its members.”

Shouse holds the Certified Association Executive designation and served as the resident authority on Farm Bureau’s trademarked entities and archived materials. He extended a deep love of country and sense of civic duty to his work surroundings, Pryor noted. “Not a Memorial Day, Veterans Day or Patriot Day passed without some reminder to employees, and Jonathan also was known to create heartfelt displays in the corporate lobby. When employees arrived at our home office to find the state flag or American flag at half-staff, they knew they could expect an email from Jonathan explaining why, and in whose memory.”

Shouse’s fondness for choral music also left an enduring mark. In 2003 he helped organize an a cappella singing group of employees who perform patriotic and holiday songs at company events.

With 132,000 members in 88 county Farm Bureaus, VFBF is Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group. Farm Bureau is a non-governmental, nonpartisan, voluntary organization committed to supporting Virginia’s agriculture industry. View more convention news as it is shared at, and follow us on social media via #VFBFannualmtg21.

Contact Pam Wiley, vice president of communications, at 804-291-6315.