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Arkansas Bankers, Former USDA Official Receive Top Ag Banking Awards


The American Bankers Association today announced the recipients of both the Bruning and Blanchfield Awards, the association’s premier awards presented for contributions to agricultural lending. This year, ABA will present the Bruning Award to a husband-and-wife team known for their dedication to agricultural banking: Gary Canada Sr., chairman and president of the Bank of England in England, Ark., and Hanna Canada, executive vice president at the bank. The Blanchfield Award will go to James Radintz who recently retired as a senior executive at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. The association will present both awards during the 2019 ABA Agricultural Bankers Conference in Dallas Nov. 10-13.

Bruning Award: Gary and Hanna Canada

ABA’s Bruning Award recognizes the lifetime achievement of individuals for their leadership and outstanding dedication to providing credit and financial guidance to farmers, ranchers and businesses in rural America. For the first time in its 22-year history, the award will go to an ag lending team known for running the Bank of England hand-in-hand.

“Receiving this award is a great honor, and it’s even greater for me because it’s being presented to the two of us as a team,” said Gary Canada. “If you look back over the Bruning Award winners in the past, I suspect there are a lot more teams than you’re aware of, because it certainly takes a team to be successful.”

After graduating college, Gary Canada began his career in the education field as a teacher, a coach and eventually a principal. In 1975, he changed his career path by joining the Bank of England full time. Since then, he has been a dedicated ag banker and eventually rose to become chairman and president of the bank. In addition to running the bank, Gary Canada has run a cow-calf operation and farmed cotton, rice and wheat. He has also served on a number of committees and boards including the Bayou Metro Irrigation District, American Bankers Association Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee and the Arkansas Rice Council.

Hanna Canada, who also began her career as a teacher, started working at the Bank of England in 1967. She spent time as teller, worked at the drive-thru and later transitioned to board secretary assisting with policies. She currently holds the title of executive vice president and serves on the board of directors for the bank. In addition to her work at the bank, Hanna Canada also served as an EMT.

The most rewarding part of her career at the bank has been helping the community.

“Living in a small, rural town like we do everybody knows everybody, and if they need help, they know they can come to the bank and get it,” said Hanna Canada. “We do everything we can for our community and have done that over the years.”

Looking forward, Hanna Canada hopes to see more women in leadership positions at banks. “At our bank, we have some great women who are extremely good at what they do, and I hope to see more of that at agricultural banks across the country.”

Gary and Hanna Canada have three children, who all work at the bank, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Blanchfield Award: James Radintz

Now in its fifth year, the ABA Blanchfield Award recognizes the contributions of a non-banker who has made significant contributions to the advancement of agricultural lending. James Radintz, this year’s recipient, recently retired as a senior executive at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

“As a career civil servant, it is extremely gratifying to be recognized by ag bankers as having made a significant, positive difference in FSA farm loan programs, and in helping America’s farmers and ranchers get the financing they need for their operations,” said Radintz. “I always valued the relationship I had with the ABA, and while we didn’t always agree, we did have many common goals. It was my pleasure to work closely with John Blanchfield and others for many years in working to achieve those goals for the benefit of ag lenders and America’s farmers and ranchers. Having worked so closely with John for his entire tenure at ABA, I know the leadership, dedication, determination, and commitment that the award represents, and I am very honored to receive his namesake award.”

During his 38-year career at USDA, Radintz held several leadership positions at the Farm Service Agency’s headquarters in Washington, most recently as deputy administrator for farm loan programs. In that position, he provided executive leadership and policy direction, management, and oversight for FSA farm lending nationwide. Prior to that, Radintz served as assistant deputy administrator and as director of the loan making division. Radintz has received a variety of awards and citations during his career, most notably receiving the Secretary’s Honor Award on 3 separate occasions, including the Secretary’s Award for Personal and Professional excellence, the highest recognition given by USDA.

Radintz grew up on a diversified farm in west-central North Carolina. He received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude in agriculture from North Carolina State University. He also holds an MBA in financial management from Virginia Tech. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

He and his wife Mary live on their farm west of Fredericksburg, Va. and stay busy taking care of Mary’s horses, rehabilitating the additional 230-acre cattle farm they acquired in 2017, working with their small angus herd, and selling eggs and vegetables they produce on the home farm.

***NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters enjoy complimentary access to the ABA Agricultural Bankers Conference in Dallas Nov 10-13. This year the conference—the largest gathering of agricultural banking experts—will focus on the power of partnerships. View the full program and contact Sarah Grano ([email protected]) to register.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $22.8 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard nearly $19 trillion in deposits and extend $11 trillion in loans.

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