Kent Farmer Receives Leadership Award

July 27, 2020

Kent D. Farmer, president and CEO of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC), received the 2020 Electric Cooperative Leadership Award from the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC).

At the VMDAEC's 76th Annual Meeting, which was held virtually, Farmer received the association’s highest award. Farmer was recognized for his visionary leadership, creative problem-solving and deep community involvement that has helped REC become one of the largest, most progressive electric cooperatives under his 16 years of leadership.

"My experience with Mr. Farmer is that he has always been motivated by doing the right things for electric cooperatives," said Sheldon C. Petersen, CEO of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC). "His integrity, insightfulness, devotion to duty and commitment to cooperatives are a model of what an electric cooperative leader should be."

During his years as president and CEO, REC undertook a major Smart Grid initiative to better serve its members as one of the 100 utilities in the country to receive a U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Investment Grant. In 2010, Farmer oversaw the acquisition of 51,000 new members formerly served by investor-owned utility Allegheny Power.

Farmer is a native of Caroline County, where he lives with his wife Sharon. He is retiring Aug. 1, after serving REC for 41 years in a variety of leadership roles, including president and CEO since 2004. Farmer also served as board chairman of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and the CFC, and is on the board of the VMDAEC, among other cooperative leadership positions.

"Mr. Farmer is an exceptional leader, not only within our three-state region, but he’s also respected, appreciated and admired by electric cooperatives all across the country," said Richard G. Johnstone Jr., president and CEO of the VMDAEC. "Through dedication and hard work, he rose from management trainee at his hiring in 1979 through the ranks to become CEO of a cooperative that provides electric service to over a fifth of the state’s counties."