Myrl Mortenson | 2010
Myrl Mortenson developed an excitement for the pork industry when he and his brother added pork production to their family farm in Arizona in the early 1970s. He moved to the Midwest in 1975 to pursue a deeper involvement in the pork industry and find a platform to build his vision for pork production.
Myrl began his career as general manager of Gilt Edge Farms in 1975 in Freeport, Ill. Gilt Edge Farms was the largest confinement farm in the U.S. at that time with 1,500 sows. In 1983 Myrl began working with PIC and served as the senior vice-president of operations for 15 years. During that time, PIC went from a small breeding stock company to the world?s largest breeding stock company.
In 1997 Myrl and his partner, Baxter Gutknecht, formed the Hanor Company in conjunction with the Kronseder family that operates in Germany. Through this partnership, PIC genetics were applied in large commercial settings throughout the United States.
Myrl had a vision for what commercial pork production could be in Oklahoma, particularly in the Hennessey area, and provided the oversight to make that vision a reality with PIC and later with Hanor?s Roberts Ranch of Oklahoma operations. The pork production model Myrl envisioned and established has shaped the entire pork industry.
In 2006 Hanor took this vision even further as part of the cooperative of companies that invested in and built the Triumph Foods plant in St. Joseph, Missouri. Triumph Foods is an integrated model that processes 19,500 pigs each day in the most modern pork plant in the world. The industry?s adage of ?Farrow to Finish? became ?Farrow to Table? for Myrl and his partners with the inception, construction, and completion of the processing plant which had been the culmination of 35 years of work toward producing pigs, controlling costs, revenues, and finally the end product.
Myrl was instrumental in developing many people that work in the pork industry today. He saw potential in the students at Oklahoma State University and residents of rural Oklahoma as managers for pork operations. He began hiring Oklahoma residents and students before the farms were even completed. Many prominent Oklahoma pork producers served under Myrl?s leadership and consider him an important influence and mentor. Myrl and his wife, Gayle, reside in Enid, Okla.
It is with great pride and appreciation that the Oklahoma Pork Council inducts Myrl Mortenson into the Hall of Fame.