The Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award

 

Mr. Fred Merrifield
Oklahoma Agricultural Leader

Fred Merrifield

Oklahona State University is pleased to honor Mr. Fred R. Merrifield, whose six decades of service to agriculture provide a shining example of dedication to a worthy cause and to humanity. After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1913, Mr. Merrifield farmed, taught school and managed a commercial dairy farm until he served in France in the U.S. Army during World War I. Following his discharge, he became a county agent in northwest Oklahoma and moved up through the Oklahoma Extension. During this services he placed much emphasis on importance of youth activity in the field of agriculture, and many of the young people to whom he was an inspiration later became prominent leaders in the state.

He worked in the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., from 1936 to 1940, then moved to the Farm Credit Banks of Wichita. From 1948 until his retirement in 1960, he served as President of the Wichita Bank for cooperatives. As an official of the Farm Credit Banks, Mr. Merrifield worked closely with the land-grant universities, the farm organizations and the local and state offices of the various divisions of the USDA to promote agricultural advancement and the training of youth in agricultural activities.

Mr. Merrifield participated in the organizational meeting of the Agricultural Hall of Fame held in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1958, and in several planning meetings for that facility.

Since retirement, Mr. Merrifield has maintained an active interest in the support of Oklahoma State University, and served on the Board of Governors of the OSU Foundation. When the need for additional funding for the agricultural programs at OSU became apparent, he helped organize the leaders of many of the state's farm organizations into a coalition to work for additional funding.

Possibly no other citizen of Oklahoma has contributed more time and effort in behalf of agriculture in Oklahoma and has had more influence on the state's agricultural industry.

Year of Award: 1982