About Eldon Siehl


A Visionary's Dream

Eldon Siehl was a visionary. 

Once a livestock salesman, he went on to found a successful optical company. His visionary gifts extended well beyond his accomplished business career, spilling over into a lifelong fascination with production agriculture.

Before his death in 1982, Eldon Siehl searched for a unique way to draw attention to professional, humanitarian, and academic accomplishments in agriculture — to loudly and proudly celebrate the men and women who feed the world.

Siehl believed a high-profile recognition program was sorely needed. Although surrounded by an abundance of food, Siehl saw Americans growing more and more distant from their agrarian roots. He envisioned the Siehl Prize as a constant reminder of our connection to the land. Thus was born the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture.

The Siehl Prize is a tribute that will forever acknowledge the personal and professional investments of agriculture’s foremost leaders. Thanks to the Siehl Prize, people who have dedicated their lives to meeting the world’s ever increasing food and fiber demands will, indeed, be recognized.

As Eldon Siehl intended, the presentation of each Prize is a salute to those special people who have turned their love for the land into a lifetime of exemplary work. By honoring excellence, the Siehl Prize enlightens public awareness and knowledge of agriculture, and encourages accomplished professionals to extend their leadership throughout the world. Virtually everyone walking the earth derives sustenance from those who contend for the Siehl Prize, whether it is food on a plate or food for thought. Eldon Siehl felt it was important that we all come to learn the names of those people — to put a face on agricultural achievements.

Every year the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture pays tribute to the irrepressible spirit of agriculture. It applauds those stewards of the land who each day promote conscientious study, enhance production, and advance methods of distributing food and knowledge.