July 20, 2006

Ritchey named as 'man of the year' by ag agents

By ANDY HOGUE, Register Staff Writer

Alan Ritchey, the CEO and president of Alan Ritchey, Inc., in Valley View, was awarded the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association “Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture” award.

Actually, according to Wayne Becker,
Cooke County’s agricultural Extension agent, there were seven men of the year — all of whom were honored at the association’s banquet at the Trinity ballroom at the Doral Tesoro Hotel in Fort Worth July 18.

Ritchey was Man of the Year for District Four of the association, which runs from
Texarkana to the Dallas area.

“The banquet was a key highlight of the association’s annual meeting there, July 16-19,” Becker said. “The Man of the Year in Agriculture Award recognizes outstanding leadership in agriculture and agribusiness and continued support of educational programs conducted by
county Extension agents. This is the highest award that agricultural agents can bestow upon an individual.”

Becker said the association is a professional group for Extension agricultural agents and 4-H agents who are heavily involved in ag.

Ritchey, in an interview this morning, said the award took him by surprise.

“I was awfully surprised to get it,” he said. “I surely appreciate the recognition.”

Ritchey said the donations he makes to 4-H and Future Farmers of America activities may have been the reason he was nominated.

“Basically, the award means he got things done,” Becker said, in sum.

A banquet program said, “Alan Ritchey has demonstrated himself as a man dedicated to his community. Alan Ritchey, Inc, which includes his family and employees, traditionally seeks to improve the quality of life where they do business. Texas Cooperative Extension has benefited from their generosity. Events they support include the 4-H and FFA Youth Fair, Master Gardener tours and numerous agricultural meetings. They have also been very useful in sharing subject matter expertise, participating as lecturers at numerous Extension programs. Many other organizations have also benefited from their generosity.”

Ritchey, according to the program, has in the past donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Relay for Life; Reba’s Ranch House and The Littlest Angel project.

Ritchey’s wife, Charlene Ritchey, is on the board of directors for
Camp Sweeney, a retreat for young diabetics, and is on the board of directors for the Frank Buck Zoo.

The couple has been married about 43 years and are parents to Linda Hudspeth, Robby Ritchey, Tammra Allison, Cindy Brown and Debra Hieb. They have 16 grandchildren.

According to the Alan Ritchey, Inc., Web site, he began working at eight years old in his fathers cotton gin in Haslet. He graduated from
Bonham High School and later earned a degree in agricultural engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1960.

After completing college and marrying his wife Charlene, in 1963, Ritchey began his life as an entrepreneur. He and his wife, in partnership with Ritchey’s father, W.H. Ritchey, launched Ritchey Gin Company in then-unincorporated Valley View.

Soon after his initial business endeavor he entered into the transportation business, hauling mail between Sherman/Denison and
Texarkana. He also entered into the grain buying and storage business at that time.

Ritchey purchased 720 acres of ranch land from his father in 1974. Since that time his production agriculture holdings have grown to almost 10,000 acres.

Ritchey’s dairy operations near
Yuba, Okla., were met with some legal troubles in recent years. Four consent agreement and final orders were filed by the Environmental Protection Agency in March, according to information on the EPA’s Web site. Ritchey’s dairy, located near a several waterways, was accused of releasing contaminants as defined by the federal Clean Water Act and was fined.

In 1987 Ritchey purchased Martindale Feed Mill (MFM). Since that time MFM has expanded with a feed station in Sulphur Springs, then
Marshall and Wolfe City.

Alan Ritchey, Inc. has an employee staff in excess of 1,600 and 100 percent ownership still being maintained by the Ritchey family.

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr[at]ntin.net