Richard has spent more than 50 years in senior executive and policy positions in the food and agriculture industry, advancing the interests of farmers, ranchers, and the industries that produce food and fiber.
Most recently Richard served as Thornhill Professor of Agriculture Trade at Virginia Tech. He currently serves as an advisor to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Farm Foundation and on the boards of directors of other companies including Soo Line Railroad, Penford Corporation and Smithfield Foods. Most of his career has been in executive positions with such companies and organizations as the American Seed Trade Association, DEKALB Genetics Corporation, and the Pillsbury Company.
Richard served as the U.S. Chief Agriculture Negotiator from January 2006 to May 2007, with the rank of ambassador, where he was responsible for directing all U.S. agricultural trade negotiations around the world. He also served as a senior advisor to the United States Trade Representative from May 2007 to April 2008. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Under Secretary, International Affairs and Commodity Programs in USDA.
Richard has received numerous awards, including the Virginia Tech Alumnus of the Millennium award in 2000, the Virginia Tech Agriculture Alumni Hall of Fame, and Outstanding Alumni Award from the Virginia Tech Graduate School. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Office of the United States Trade Representative. In 2013, he received the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his career of service to agriculture. Richard received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Tech University and earned his doctoral degree from Oklahoma State University.