Jimmy Harrel of Western Oklahoma Becomes Newest Member of the Oklahoma Ag Hall of FameTue, 02 Apr 2019 20:04:10 CDT
The 22nd member of the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame was officially named during the 2019 OKlahoma Ag Day celebration. Jimmy Harrel was awarded the Governor's Distingusihed Service Award for Agriculture by Oklahoma State Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur at special ceremonies at the State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. Governor Kevin Stitt stopped by during the presentation and saluted Harrel as a great ambassador for Oklahoma agriculture and the thousands of 4-H and FFA members he has impacted through the years.
Just ahead of the ceremonies on Tuesday, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays sat down and talked with Harrel about his life in western Oklahoma and how agriculture and ranching and been central to who he is ever since he was born. You can hear their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
“I feel fortunate. I did not know my name was being considered,” Harrel said in reaction to recieving the award. "I’m so appreciative of it and the people that have come and gone and been involved in that - it’s amazing and kind of overwhelming to think you’ve reached the potential someone thought you could be.”
Harrel grew up on a farm ten miles outside of Leedey in western Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma State University, and was a member of the OSU Livestock Judging Team. After graduation, he returned to western Oklahoma and was a Vo-Ag teacher at Putnam and Taloga. He and his wife Marilyn started ranching with their own place even as Jimmy helped with his dad's operation as well.
The next challenge that Harrel took on was in the oil business- and then during the 1980s he saw a chance to get into the banking business. Since that beginning, Harrel was able to build the Bank of Western Oklahoma into one of the leading ag lenders in the Federal Reserve Tenth District.
As he grew up, he had a love for showing livestock- and that continued into his adult life and he has dedicated time and a lot of resources into supporting young people at local, district and state livestock shows. That included stepping in as a key player when the Oklahoma City Spring Livestock Show was struggling and helping form the Oklahoma Youth Expo. Harrel and Bob Funk have led the efforts to greatly expand the reach and impact on Oklahoma rural youth of the OYE.
Governor Stitt's Outstanding Achievement in Agriculture Award is the highest award given by the Governor to honor distinguished Oklahoma agriculture producers. This prestigious award honors leaders in the agriculture industry who exemplify personal values, performance, and achievement.
The Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame was established in 1998 with Pamp Howe the first inductee. Harrel becomes the 22nd member of this exclusive club- click or tap here to see the full list of the members of the Ag Hall.
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