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Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame
Paul Hitch PhotoPaul Hitch-2008

Had early day settlers created this Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame, there might very likely have at least one inductee with the last name of "Hitch" included before April 2, 2008. Since they didn't, Paul Hitch became the first member of one of the state's premier pioneering families to be recognized for a lifetime of achievement and service.

Dating back to 1884, the Hitch family has farmed, ranched, ran the largest cattle feeding operation in the state, created agribusinesses and most recently helped make Oklahoma one of the top swine producing states in the nation. Paul himself helped promote growth in the cattle feeding and agribusiness ventures but most notably he was the man that expanded Hitch Enterprises into swine production.

Paul's influence and leadership also helped bring one of the nations largest, most modern and efficient swine processing facility to Texas County during the 1990’s. As a result Oklahoma is now one of the top states in the country in pork production and a major component of U.S. pork exports.

This branching out to pork production did not diminish his commitment to the family cattle business. Under the leadership of Paul Hitch, Hitch Enterprises was the parent company to 13 agriculturally related businesses with feedlot operations maintaining their high profile. He was President-elect of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in 2007 but chose to resign before assuming office due to severe illness.

He had also served as Chairman of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and from 1995 to 2001 served as a member of the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture. Active in his church, community and Oklahoma State University as a leader and benefactor, Paul Hitch was once described as a "born leader who helps to get everyone to walk side-by-side.

"Paul Hitch continued the family legacy of practicing good business while displaying the highest degree of integrity and concern for others," said State Secretary of Agriculture, Terry Peach. "That special spirit and character made his name known not just in Oklahoma but around the globe."

Nominated by both the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and the Oklahoma Pork Council for the Governor's Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture and induction into the Oklahoma Agriculture Hall of Fame, Paul lost his battle with cancer just weeks before the induction ceremony.

Any information submitted or stored by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is subject to open records laws and may be released to any person who requests it. Exceptions include some personally identifiable information, financial information and law enforcement records. All records of the agency, including records submitted by the public, are stored in various electronic and paper methods.