Jack Givens Receives Governor's Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture- Inducted Into Oklahoma Ag Hall of FameThu, 05 Apr 2012 16:11:02 CDT
During a special ceremony at the state Capitol, Gov. Mary Fallin announced Jack M. Givens the recipient of the Governor's Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture. The Greer County farmer became the 15th member of the Agriculture Hall of Fame. Givens talked with Director of Farm Programming Ron Hays about this honor on Thursday at the State Capitol- and you can hear that conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story. Hays also asked Governor Mary Fallin about the lifetime of service that Givens gave to Oklahoma and to Agriculture.
To humble beginnings in southwestern Oklahoma, Givens was born the third of five children. Raised during lean times and the Depression, Givens began school at Ladessa in a one-room school house. He later transferred to Mangum and graduated from high school in 1940.
All of Givens' siblings graduated from Oklahoma State University. Givens himself was a student for three years. Hitchhiking to get there, he worked at the library, earning 15 cents an hour, while other students went to ballgames. While a student, Givens joined the ROTC and pledged the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Soon after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Givens' suspended his education and began full-time military training.
Stationed in Camp Adair, Oregon, and later Europe, Givens earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant and recalls turning 21 on the ship. He walked and crawled across Europe where he was shot in the arm and leg and had his jaw broken. While overseas, he was captured and placed in prison camp in Germany. His service to the country was recognized with a Bronze Star, combat Infantry Badge and three Purple Hearts.
After the war and returning to the states, Givens accomplished another goal and completed a degree in agricultural education and soils from Oregon State University. For a time, he worked for the Army in Alaska. It was on a visit back to Oklahoma that he met through mutual friends his wife Helen Jane. Together they raised their five children instilling in them the importance of family, Christian values and a strong work ethic.
After settling his family in Oklahoma, he rented farmland and worked for the post office and eventually became a postmaster. He would buy farms as he saved money. Having experienced the Dust Bowl first hand, he always purchased irrigated farms. Primarily an irrigated cotton farmer, Givens also raised wheat and cattle. Today, he rents out the farming operation but is still involved with the cattle side.
Over the years, Givens' commitment to working hard reached far beyond his own cotton fields. He served two terms as Chairman of the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service. A lifelong member of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, he served first as the Southwest Director and later as the State President of the organization. He served the cotton industry on a national scale acting as director for both the Cotton Incorporated Board and the National Cotton Council. Givens has also been a Regent and Chairman for Oklahoma State University and A&M Colleges. He has also been an active member of the Mangum First Baptist Church.
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese presented Givens with a citation for his contribution to the Oklahoma agriculture industry.
This July, Givens will celebrate his 90th birthday, one day after the country turns 236. This occurrence couldn't be more fitting for a man who has spent a lifetime putting his country, state and the agriculture industry before himself.
We have pictures from the presentation of this award to Jack Givens- and you can see them by clicking here for our Flickr set of photos of the 2012 Ag Hall of Fame induction.
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