Tom Gilliam | 2006
Tom Gilliam’s involvement in the swine industry began when he exhibited hogs as an FFA member in Cyril, Oklahoma. After Tom graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1958 with an Animal Science degree, he and wife his Reta moved to Illinois where he worked as a field representative for a swine breed association. After two years, Tom and Reta returned to Oklahoma where Tom took a job sorting hogs at the Oklahoma National Stockyards.
This entry level job opened many doors for Tom at the Stockyards. He quickly went from sorting hogs to selling hogs for a commission company. Eventually Tom opened Simms Order Buying Cattle Company and over the years bought and merged other order buying services into Stockman- Oklahoma. Tom also owns part of the Apache Livestock Market. To date, Tom has bought and sold over 5 million animals.
Tom has been a leading member of the swine industry for many years. He has been a member of the Oklahoma Pork Council since 1975. Tom co-owned 11,000 commercial gilts in the mid-90’s and produced many purebred swine for the show arena. Tom has been credited with helping to bring modern pork production into Oklahoma. After he started his own operation, Tom met with company representatives to explain the benefits Oklahoma could provide for their pork operations. He also met with potential contract growers to enable them to learn about pork production opportunities. Tom continues to mentor many Oklahoma pork producers.
Tom served on the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture during a period of explosive growth of Oklahoma’s pork industry in the 1990s and was influential in developing the rules that govern livestock operations in Oklahoma. In 2005, Tom was honored for his role in Oklahoma agriculture when he received the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture.
Tom was instrumental in relocating and expanding OSU’s Swine Education and Research Center. He served as an important third party as OSU and the Stillwater community discussed how and where the facility would be built.
Tom’s children Jeff, Rhonda, and Sheila were active in 4-H and FFA and he was always involved with their livestock projects. Tom continues to support youth in agriculture at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, Tulsa State Fair, and local swine shows by arranging buyers for animals and participating in premium sales.
It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Tom Gilliam into the Hall of Fame.