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Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame
Photo of Erwin R. Duerksen
Erwin R. Duerksen-2001

Erwin R. Duerksen, known to his peers as a man of faith, honor and dedication to his industry and his fellow man, became the 21st century's first member of the Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame on March 27, 2001. A man of many talents, his accomplishments as a farmer, rancher, manager and role model were renowned throughout the industry and by all who knew him prior to his induction into this Hall.

A native of Corn, Oklahoma, Mr. Duerksen began his journey into Oklahoma agricultural history in 1940 at the age of 19. Standing alone on 80 acres of red soil he set his jaw and vowed to turn the barren land into a successful farm. Armed with very little more than an iron will and a farmer's work ethic, he had just taken his first step in a project that would grow into a productive 1300-acre operation producing cattle, wheat and alfalfa - and children.

"Although his ambition was to become a successful farmer, he adopted a philosophy of keeping God, Country and Family first in his life and his work," noted Governor Frank Keating during his induction ceremony. "An active member of his church - Mr. Duerksen served in every capacity from usher to Sunday school teacher - his faith was also his creed. He is a man who didn't leave his faith on the church pew when services were over. Those who know him and have worked with him agree that his handshake and promise are stronger than any written contract."

In addition to his successful farming operation, Mr. Duerksen's career in agricultural service to others is also a study in achievement. He served as Board Member and Chairman of the Board for the Farmers Cooperative Exchange of Weatherford; was a Board Member of the Union Equity Cooperative Exchange for more than 16 years; served as an Advisory Board Member to the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service for three years; and at the time of his induction, had served on the Washita County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Community Committee for 24 years.

A member of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association and the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, Mr. Duerksen has helped support his fellow wheat producers as a promoter and ambassador since 1975. He continues to farm and also serves as Chairman and Director of the First National Bank and Trust Company of Weatherford, Cordell and Hinton.