William Okla Farmer, Jr. was born in 1947. The youngest of four children to Oak and Ruby Farmer, "Bill" as he is commonly referred to by friends and associates, is a life-long resident of Sumter County.
After graduating from South Sumter High School in 1965, he successfully completed fingerprint identification training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and worked in the crime scene investigations unit of the Duval County Sheriff's Office. In 1966, Sheriff Farmer enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the 3rd Army Infantry, and attained the rank of E-5 before being discharged in 1968. He continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in 1972.
After returning home from the U.S. Army, Sheriff Farmer began his more than forty years of service to the citizens of Sumter County, becoming a Deputy Sheriff in 1971. Since 1971, Sheriff Farmer's career has spanned more than four decades with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, and in 1996 was elected Sheriff. Since taking office in January 1997, Sheriff Farmer has led one of the most proactive and progressive law enforcement agencies in the Central Florida region and has since been re-elected to the office of Sheriff in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. In the last four elections Sheriff Farmer ran unopposed; a first for a sitting Sumter County Sheriff.
Sheriff Farmer attended Saint Leo University where he earned his AA degree in Criminal Justice and his BA degree, Cum Laude, in Criminology. He completed the Executive Development Program with the National Sheriff's Institute, is a Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute graduate and also graduated from the FBI National Academy.
Sheriff Farmer served as the Vice President of the Florida Sheriff's Association 2008-2009, served two terms as President in 2009-2010, and served on the board of directors from 2003-2011 and Chairman of the Board in 2005-2006
Additionally, Sheriff Farmer has served as Chairman on the Board for the Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranches 2012-2013, Member of the Board 2009-2010 and is currently serving on the Board of Directors.
Sheriff Farmer is as much a family man as he is a lawman. Sheriff Farmer is married to the former Linda Louise Jay, and together, they have celebrated more than 43 years of marriage. Mrs. Farmer is a retired teacher, having retired from Sumter District Schools after more than 38 years of service. The Farmers have three children: Billy, a Southeast Regional Manager for an agricultural firm; Stephen, a Lieutenant with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and Kristen, who serves with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.