Remebering Lew Meibergen and his Legacy in AgricultureMon, 20 Apr 2020 08:57:43 CDT
A life that was lived to it's fullest came to an end this past Thursday as Joseph "Lew" Lewis Meibergen passed away at the age of 88.
Lew was a force of nature in the world of agriculture in our state. What was written about him in 2010 when he was inducted as the first person in agribusiness into the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame describes a few of his contributions.
"Mr. Meibergen grew up raising livestock and working in his father's feed store and he later earned a degree from Oklahoma A&M in Animal Science. After a two year stint in the Army where he rose to the rank of Captain, he returned to Oklahoma and began managing the grain company his grandfather had founded in 1893 in Enid.
"In 1960 he was chosen by Governor Henry Bellmon to serve as Oklahoma Commissioner of Agriculture. Afterward, he had a highly successful career in the banking industry. This success later allowed him to purchase controlling interest in the family business, the W.B. Johnston Grain Company.
"Over the years Mr. Meibergen expanded the company to become the largest independent grain company in the state.
One of Mr. Meibergen's greatest achievements was the result of changes made in the railroad rate structure in 1983 that caused freight service to turn away from wheat to more profitable products. With the ability to ship wheat out of state for export limited, wheat began piling up at state elevators.
"At a meeting in the Oklahoma State University Student Union, he wrote a contract on a napkin to lease a port facility east of Tulsa. River transport solved the shipping problems and today that port it is the largest bulk handling port in the state.
His success quickly opened the way for more port operations and he was given the opportunity to manage the "Port of Muskogee and consequently built expansive fertilizer storage facilities there. Not only could wheat farmers now economically ship wheat to gulf export facilities, fertilizer costs were lowered due to lower shipping charges."
At the day of celebration in 2010 when Lew received his award signifying his Hall of Fame lifetime of achievements- we talked with him a few moments- click or tap here to read that story and listen to his comments ten years ago- they are insightful even today. (The pic here is from the award presentation day a decade ago)
Lew Meibergen will be missed- the Enid News article of his passing quotes a lot of great folks reflecting on his life- click here for that.
And- click here for the Obit on the Funeral Home's website to learn more about the family legacy this man leaves in and around Enid.
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