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We'll miss Paul Hitch

Agriculture.com Staff 03/14/2008 @ 3:28pm

I'm among the many who mourn the passing today of cattle industry leader Paul Hitch. He died this morning after a difficult bout with cancer. He was 64.

The last time I saw Paul was several years ago when I was passing through Guymon, Oklahoma. Guymon is an Oklahoma Panhandle town that is the headquarters of Hitch Enterprises, a family-owned farming and ranching operation that feeds cattle and hogs. We had lunch a modest Mexican restaurant that served tasty food.

Like many in the cattle business, Paul was outspoken, blunt and direct. More importantly, in an industry that has seen rancorous division in recent years, Paul could disagree with people with wit and a disarming sense of humor.

He was president and chairman of Hitch Enterprises, Inc. and Hitch AgriBusiness, Inc and had served as vice-president and president-elect of NCBA. But he was unable to accept a term as National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) president due to his illness.

In a statement released Friday by the NCBA, the organization recalled a tribute the group made to Paul at last month's Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada.

NCBA officers presented Paul with a letter of appreciation for decades of outstanding service to the association, as well as his leadership in state and local cattlemen's organizations.

"At every level on which you have served, your fellow cattlemen have benefited from your knowledge, candor, and good old-fashioned common sense. It has truly been an honor to serve at your side, and we are all richer for the experience," the NCBA officers stated.

I and the staff of Successful Farming and Agriculture Online send our condolences to the family and friends of Paul Hitch.

I'm among the many who mourn the passing today of cattle industry leader Paul Hitch. He died this morning after a difficult bout with cancer. He was 64.

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