Lew Meibergen of Johnston Grain Named 13th Member of Oklahoma Ag Hall of FameFri, 26 Mar 2010 4:45:02 CDT
Enid agribusiness leader and longtime entrepreneur, Lew Meibergen, became the 13th member of the Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame. State Secretary of Agriculture, Terry Peach, said the award is the most prestigious agricultural award in the state.
Although unable to attend the induction ceremony, Peach said earlier he was pleased to see Meibergen chosen for the honor for his achievements in agribusiness. Making the presentation and introducing the inductee to the Ag Day gathering was Lt. Governor Jari Askins. “Lew Meibergen is the epitome of a successful agricultural entrepreneur and he has been an asset to agriculture and the entire state,” she said.
We talked with the 13th member of the Ag Hall of Fame after the ceremony and you can here his comments by clicking on the Listen Bar below. (our picture here is of Lew Meibergen surrounded by his family and Lt. Governor Jari Askins.)
Meibergen gave the credit for the success of the W.B Johnston Grain Company and Johnston’s Seed Company to his employees.
“Everything we’ve accomplished and all our success is due to our wonderful, dedicated employees,” he said at the ceremony. “They deserve all the credit.”
Meibergen’s family roots in Oklahoma agriculture date to before statehood and his grandfather started a successful grain handling business in 1893. Today, thanks to the stewardship of Lew Meibergen, that company, the W.B. Johnston Grain Company, is the largest independent grain company in the state with two grain terminals and 22 country elevators in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.
He has served as Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture under Governor Henry Bellmon in 1960-66, the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents, Oklahoma Banker’s Association Agriculture Committee Director and Chairman, Director of the National Grain and Feed Association and past commissioner of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Arkansas River Association among many other posts and offices.
In the early 1980s Meibergen is credited with finding the solution to a critical situation when railroads changed their rate structures and diverted services from moving grain to more high value products. Askins noted he successfully contracted to lease a port facility on the Verdigris River east of Tulsa and was able to ship Oklahoma wheat by waterway.
Grain and other commodities are now shipped out of state through the now expanded port system and other agricultural inputs such as fertilizer are delivered to producers statewide through the system.
“The result has been lower fertilizer prices for farmers all across Oklahoma,” Askins said. “Lew Meibergen has made a profound impact on Oklahoma agriculture.”
Meibergen, 78, has worked for improvements in education and research and community organizations and projects.
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