Alabama Commissioners of Agriculture and Industries

photo of Alabama Agriculture Commissioner A. W. Todd

A.W. Todd: 1955-1959, 1963-1967, 1991-1995


Arvel Woodfin "A. W." Todd was born on a farm near Belgreen, Ala. in 1915. Upon graduation from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University), he worked as a land appraiser for the Farmers Home Administration and later as a saleman for Alabama Flour Mills in Decatur, Ala. A successful entrepreneur, Todd eventually owned and operated Todd Feed & Seed, Allis Chalmers Tractor Company, Todd Lincoln-Mercury, Franklin Lumber Company, and Todd Poultry Company. He later worked as an insurance broker selling group plans in four states.


In 1950 Todd was elected to the Alabama Senate from Colbert, Franklin, and Marion Counties. In 1954 he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives from Franklin County. In 1955 he was elected to the first of three terms as Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries. Todd holds the distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest commissioner to ever serve in the history of Alabama as well as being the only three-term commissioner. He was 79 when he left office in 1995.


During his political career (1955-1995) Todd was instrumental in building six coliseums over the state for farm and community activities. These are located at Russellville, Moulton, Florence, Huntsville, Dothan, and Albertville. He worked with industry leaders and Southern Railway in setting up farmers' markets in Birmingham, Montgomery, Slocomb, and Mobile. He promoted the poultry industry in Alabama from a $9 million to a $91 million industry during his first term as commissioner. He established the Todd Poultry Compost Project providing poultry producers loans to construct compost facilities to dispose of dead birds. Other accomplishments include the Todd Milk Law which set standards for all milk sold in the state of Alabama and the Todd Egg Law, which set standards and established a program for systematically inspecting eggs.


Todd was married to Robbie Lou Smith in 1941. They had three children: Mrs. Nancy Pinion of Moulton, Ala., Mrs. Jeanie Tunell of Florence, Ala., and Mrs. Elizabeth Campbell of Birmingham, Ala.


A. W. Todd made unsuccessful bids for Governor in 1958 and 1966. He died on March 29, 1996.


The A. W. Todd Scholarship Fund, established in 1996, provides annual tuition scholarships to students majoring in agriculture at Auburn University. Students interested in applying should contact the Dean of the School of Agriculture before February 15 of the year of need.



Biographical information provided by Mrs. Nancy Todd Pinion, Moulton, Ala.