Thomas F. “Fred” Stokes was born and raised on a small diversified family farm in Kemper County, Mississippi. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in the Army and later completed Infantry Officers Candidate School and received a commission. His twenty years of military service included two tours in Vietnam. He retired in 1972 as a Major and returned to his home county in Mississippi. He has been involved in the cattle business and active in agricultural and rural life issues ever since. Fred is deeply concerned about the disappearance of independent family agriculture and the decay in rural America. He and is an outspoken critic of U. S. farm and trade policy. He was instrumental in founding Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA). He and his wife of more than sixty years have three children and six grandchildren. They have lived on their small cattle farm in East Central Mississippi since 1972. While Fred is winding down some in his active involvement as an advocate, he rejoined the OCM Board at the organization’s convention in Kansas City in August 2018 and remains vitally interested in its work. He acknowledges the past lack of success and understands the formidable challenges ahead, but is reassured by the current highly talented staff and increased resources. He is very optimistic that OCM is now poised for significant progress in advancing its mission.