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Oklahoma Agricultural Hall of Fame
Virgil Jurgensmeyer PhotoVirgil Jurgensmeyer-2017

Agriculture has always been a part of Virgil Jurgensmeyer’s life. However, his involvement today is a far cry from the two-mule plow that dominated his youth. This Miami resident didn’t exactly choose the most common form of Oklahoma agriculture either. Nevertheless, his establishment and growth of J-M Farms, Inc., in the northeast part of the state has brought tremendous success to his family and the surrounding area with lasting effects on the state’s agriculture industry.

After serving in the military, Jurgensmeyer pursued his education at the University of Missouri. Upon completion of a M.S. degree in Industrial Education and Secondary School Administration he began his career as a junior high school teacher and then principal. A decision to leave teaching led him back to agriculture with the Ralston Purina Corporation in 1966.

As an employee of the poultry division, Jurgensmeyer worked his way up through the ranks to plant manager. Several years later, he became the plant manager of the frozen food division then made a fateful move to the mushroom division in 1972. His outstanding leadership and management skills eventually earned him the position of Director of Operations of the Eastern Region Mushroom Division.

Even with all his success, an entrepreneurial spirit urged the competent businessman toward a new venture. In search of a smart location with access to highways, a strong workforce, and natural resources, the Missouri native chose Miami, Okla., for the site of his start-up mushroom company. In the fall of 1979, Jurgensmeyer, along with brother Joe and Darrell McLain, founded J&M Farms, Inc. The first mushrooms were picked on March 13, 1980 and the initial delivery was made the following day. A few years later, the brothers purchased McClain’s interests and the company became the J-M Farms, Inc. so familiar to mushroom consumers today.

At the onset, 40 employees produced about 40,000 pounds of mushrooms per week. Today, the company employees hundreds of Oklahomans and produces more than 27 million pounds of white button, Crimini and Portabella mushrooms annually. The company grows, harvests, packs and ships mushrooms daily with an annual sales revenue of more than $40 million. Their trucks deliver products to Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa. J-M Farms also services the Department of Defense with fresh mushroom products and is an integrated part of Sysco and AWG food distribution systems. In addition to high standards in production, a focus on food safety and a dedication to stay ahead of increasing standards, Jurgensmeyer assures his company remains a leader in the field in regards to traceability and safety.

His civic contributions include many advisory boards and industry commissions inside and outside of the agriculture industry. In agriculture alone, Jurgensmeyer served on the State Board of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003 and is currently active in the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma State University Dean's Advisory Board and the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center's Industry Advisory Committee. In 2012, Virgil was awarded the DASNR Champion Award from Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources for his service to the university. Nationally, Jurgensmeyer is active with and has served in leadership positions for the Mushroom Growers Association and the Mushroom Council.

Jurgensmeyer and his late wife of 62 years Marge have three sons, Curtis, Terry and Pat who all play key roles in J-M Farms today. Marge passed away in 2014. Virgil and DeDe wed in February of this year.

Leadership ability combined with business skill and unending determination have positioned J-M Farms, Inc., as an industry leader, while it is Jergensmeyer’s commitment to civic responsibilities and mentorship that makes him an invaluable asset to the Oklahoma agriculture community.


Any information submitted or stored by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is subject to open records laws and may be released to any person who requests it. Exceptions include some personally identifiable information, financial information and law enforcement records. All records of the agency, including records submitted by the public, are stored in various electronic and paper methods.