The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award


Mr. Ferdie J. Deering
Agricultural Writer
Editorial Writer, Daily Oklahoman

Ferdie J. Deering

Mr. Ferdie J. Deering

Mr. Ferdie Deering has been the premier agricultural writer in Oklahoma and Southwest for more than 40 years. He joined the Oklahoma Publishing Company in Oklahoma City in 1937 as associate editor of The Farmer-Stockman Magazine. He was named editor of the magazine in 1942, editor and manager in 1967, and vice president and editorial director in 1972.

Today, though he is retired, Mr. Deering continues to command wide readership and influence as editorial writer and columnist for the Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma City Times. He also is agri-business columnist for The Sunday Oklahoman.

He has written three books. The most recent is From the Grass Roots Up, a history of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, published in 1980.

Mr. Deering is a past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. He was a member of the Hoover Commission for reorganization of agricultural services of the federal government in 1951. He served on the USDA Committee on Information Services during 1953 and 1954.

Mr. Deering has been more than an agricultural writer. He has been a civic leader, church leader and promoter of Oklahoma's economy and a better life for all its citizens. In 1946, he helped organize the Oklahoma Flying Farmers, the first such group in the nation. This led to the establishment of the International Flying Farmers. He was appointed a member of the Oklahoma State University Advisory Committee by the man whose name this award bears, President Henry G. Bennett, serving from 1948 until 1962.

His counsel is sought by universities, corporations and government agencies. He was appointed by four different Oklahoma governors to commissions and boards, serving as chairman of two. He is the recipient of two Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge Awards for editorial writing.

Mr. Deering is a past vice president of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and was a member of the organizing committees of the Sirloin Club of Oklahoma, Southwest American Livestock Foundation, Oklahoma Wheat Research Foundation, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, and other groups.

Year of Award: 1983