Earl B. Olson

x1999 Agribusiness

Ask the people who have followed agriculture through the twentieth century: they will rightly insist that Earl B. Olson’s name belongs near the very top of the list of agriculture’s most noted contributors — in virtually any category, from production to marketing to distribution and more. Over the course of his impressive career, Olson’s entrepreneurial spirit, creative flair, innovative methods, and knack for business have combined to help transform an entire industry. Many believe that he redefined the way consumers regard turkey products through his Jennie-O Foods enterprise and has led Minnesota to a position of leadership in the poultry industry.

The son of immigrant parents, Olson has brought a number of honors home to Willmar, including the Turkey Growers Association’s prestigious Ranelius and lifetime achievement awards. He has also returned a substantial portion of his personal gains to others through a number of philanthropic gestures.

Olson has a work ethic that just won’t quit, and neither will he. In 1963 Olson received publicity in Life Magazine for trips to Europe promoting the sale of turkey products. In1978, he was inducted into the Minnesota Hall of Fame.

There are few agricultural professionals who have graced Minnesota with so many gifts during their years, and perhaps no others who sport their years quite so gracefully as Earl B. Olson.