Gary C. Oden of Yuma received this year’s Farmer of the Year Award which was announced as the Arizona Farm Bureau’s 85th Annual Convention, held Nov.9-10 at the Crowne Plaza in Phoenix.
Oden is owner and chairman of the board that operates McElhaney Cattle Company in Wellton. McElhaney Cattle Company was founded by Sam McElhaney in 1940 and was taken over by son-in-law Oden in 1973 where he continues to build and expand the venture.
Today, the McElhaney Cattle Company operation can unload 100 train cars of grain in less than 15 hours, produce 120 tons of mixed feed per hour and deliver it to 130,000 head of cattle.
In 1985, Oden bought Sunland Beef in Tolleson. He and other producers formed to construct a new state-of-the art slaughter facility in Brawley. It has now merged with National Beef, the fourth largest beef processing company in the U.S. giving Arizona beef producers more markets for their product.
The Farmer of the Year represents the OSCAR of Farm Bureau. It represents an individual that is innovative and a trendsetter in Arizona’s agriculture community.