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Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame
Photo of Tom Gilliam
Tom Gilliam-2005

Tom Gilliam, swine producer, livestock order buyer and former member of the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture was named the 2005 inductee into the Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame on April 29, 2005 during the Governor’s Conference on Agriculture and Economic Growth in Clinton.

Mr. Gilliam said his experiences showing livestock while attending high school in Cyril along with the support of his parents directed him toward a life in agriculture.  His aptitude for producing high quality show animals and his love of the pursuit prompted his mother to make him promise her to get his degree in animal science at Oklahoma State University.

Although she died while he was still a teenager, Mr. Gilliam achieved that goal in 1958 and immediately began a career in animal agriculture.  His success was such that he was honored by his alma mater by being named 1994 Outstanding Animal Science Graduate.   His support of OSU and the Oklahoma swine industry later prompted him to campaign for support and finances to complete a new swine research facility, which was dedicated in 2004.

Named by two governors to the State Board of Agriculture, Mr. Gilliam was an advocate for change and Governor Brad Henry, during the induction ceremony, praised his efforts “to build a partnership between producers, and the State Department of Agriculture to protect plant and animal health, the environment, and at the same time promote agriculture.”

His faith and Christian values led him to serve as an elder and deacon in his church.   He also served four years on the Cookson Hills Ministry Board which provided a home for children forced to live away from their own homes.   During his tenure there he helped build a horse facility to provide recreation and therapy to the disadvantaged youth.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame just two days prior to his 69th birthday, Gilliam said he was as optimistic about the future of agriculture as he was as a teenager.   “If you are willing to work hard, there’s a place for you and an opportunity for success in agriculture.   It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end up that matters.”