A graduate of Oklahoma A&M in 1953, Osage County’s Frederick Drummond is synonymous with successful beef production in Oklahoma and environmental stewardship through conservation practices.
In honor of his lifetime achievements, Drummond was recently honored by Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources as a 2018 CASNR Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient. The division is comprised of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and two state agencies: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and the statewide Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system.
“A third-generation rancher who walked among pioneers as a child, Frederick has continued and enhanced a ranching model that still prevails today,” said Clint Rusk, head of OSU’s department of animal and food sciences. “He grew up ranching with his father, whose operation was noted for the quality of its Hereford herd in the 1940s and 1950s.”
Drummond majored in animal science at Oklahoma A&M. He then served in the U.S. Army for two years before entering Stanford University, earning his Master of Business Administration degree in 1957, and attending the Wisconsin School of Banking. Drummond’s entry into the banking industry drew upon his upbringing, serving as an inspector of cattle used as collateral for the United Missouri Bank of Kansas City.
Upon the unexpected passing of his father in 1958, Drummond took over operation of the family’s 25,000-acre home ranch, while continuing in the banking business. He would go on to become chair and principal owner of the Cleveland Bank, serving for 50 years. He would also serve as a member of the Ponca City Federal Land Bank for 37 years.
“Frederick learned the ranching and cattle business from his father, whom he says was one of the best ranchers he has ever known and who stressed the importance of living up to one’s word in any transaction or commitment,” Rusk said. “As the beef industry changed, Frederick stepped forward as a leader in pursuing improved animal performance, even if it meant adjusting the Drummond herd to feature Angus genetics.”
Drummond has been a local, state and national leader in the beef industry for many years. He has served as president of both the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association, and in key positions with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
“In 2014, OCA was honored to name Mr. Drummond our Cattleman of the Year, the most prestigious recognition we bestow on a member,” said Michael Kelsey, OCA executive vice president. “The award is given to honor career achievement, to those who have made significant contributions to the organization and beef production as an industry.”
Drummond also is renowned for helping establish the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy, and was a leading voice in the Conservancy’s acquisition of the 37,500-acre Barnard Ranch in Osage County that became Oklahoma’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. The preserve is noted for its American bison herd and as a managed grassland that utilizes many of OSU-developed rangeland management practices employed by commercial ranches.
“The conservancy hosts a number of OSU research projects that advance understanding of both wildlife habitat and livestock production, and how one can actually enhance the other,” Rusk said. “None of these benefits would have been possible without the leadership and commitment of Frederick Drummond, who also served as conservancy chair from 1999 to 2001.”
In all, Frederick has dedicated more than 70 years of service to agriculture as a rancher, banker and conservationist. Drummond also is the longest consecutive annual donor in OSU history with more than 50 years of giving. He and his wife Janet have positively affected more than 40 areas on campus.
Tom Coon, OSU vice president of agricultural programs and dean and director of DASNR, cites one of the most inspiring experiences he has witnessed in Oklahoma was to be a part of conversations between Drummond and his former classmate at Oklahoma A&M, Minnie Lou Bradley, two towering figures in America’s cattle industry for the last 60 years.
“To witness the mutual respect they have for each other, and to listen to them talk through current issues in the cattle industry, is reassuring,” Coon said. “They both share a confidence that as tough as market or weather conditions may be, there will be a way to get through the hard times and come out the other side with an even better industry.”
For Rusk, that is a good summation of Drummond’s lasting impact.
“Frederick Drummond not only helped lay the foundation of Oklahoma’s $3.7 billion annual beef industry that is a major driver of our state economy, he remains a voice of wisdom and reason to a new generation of ranchers and conservationists,” Rusk said.