About Jim Tucker
Jim Tucker has spent a lifetime advocating for and guiding the agriculture and fair industries. He grew up on his family’s Missouri dairy farm, where he would help with chores beginning when he was five years old. His uncle was a founding member of the Greene County Agricultural & Mechanical Society, also known as the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, Mo. There is where he first showed Jersey cattle and his father served as dairy superintendent. In high school, he was active in FFA, serving as his chapter’s president and was elected to the Missouri FFA officer team as Reporter.
Tucker received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 1970 and a law degree in 1973 from the University of Missouri. Immediately following graduation, he practiced law in Columbia, Mo., and taught at the University’s Department of Agricultural Economics. In 1976, he, along with Jeff Harrison, founded the law firm Harrison & Tucker, where he practiced as a trial lawyer until 2000.
In 2001, Tucker was named president and CEO of the IAFE, which he has lead to new heights. He developed the organization’s first formal business plan and implemented the practice of regular strategic planning. He has expanded the international mission of the association with outreach, networking, and exchange programs with agricultural fairs, expositions, shows, and exhibitions in Korea, Mexico, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Tucker encouraged a complete bylaw review and overhaul, which is now in progress, and oversaw the development of the IAFE’s Institute of Fair Management, a dream of the late Bill Chiesa that has now grown to include a graduate program.
The IAFE’s Education Foundation was formed under Tucker’s leadership, and now offers support to the educational endeavors of the IAFE including the Summit and many students of the Institute of Fair Management. When it became apparent that fair guests had become ill from contact with E.coli, Tucker took action to direct the development of a training program for fairs. This Consumer Protection Program workshop has now reached thousands of fair staff and volunteers across the world.
While practicing law, the IAFE was one of the clients for whom Tucker lobbied. He continues to lobby on behalf of the fair industry’s interests on domestic and international fronts. He maintains strong relationships with allied organizations including OABA, NICA, IAVM, IAAPA and IFEA. Back at the office, Tucker has stabilized and empowered the IAFE staff, and he continually encourages their growth and professional development. Tucker received IAFE's highest honor with a Hall of Fame induction in 2014.
Tucker has dedicated his life to agricultural fairs, but he also remains actively involved in production agriculture with a diversified cow calf operation and grain farm on 700 acres of farmland near where his family settled in the 1830’s. He has a daughter Ashley Milam, and he and his wife Nancy have two children, Zenobia and James.