Mel Maier was a champion of North Dakota agriculture with emphasis on the state´s all important wheat industry. He graduated from high school in Elgin, ND and earned his bachelor´s and master´s degrees from NDSU, Fargo in agricultural education and agricultural economics. He taught vocational agriculture in Williston briefly before beginning his work with the North Dakota Wheat Commission as assistant administrator. In 1967, he moved to Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he worked five years as European director of Great Plains Wheat, to expand exports on behalf of seven state wheat commissions. He returned to the ND Wheat Commission in 1972 to become administrator. Maier worked both domestically and internationally to expand exports of US wheat. He actively promoted North Dakota´s high quality, high performance spring wheat and durum, helping to create a world class image for the state´s number one industry. He always has the wheat producer´s welfare in mind as he worked to develop policy and programs to promote hard red spring wheat and hard amber durum. Mel was also instrumental in the concept and development of the Northern Crops Institute, which stands today as a renowned center for technical and marketing training for wheat merchandisers and processors worldwide. Maier has earned several awards including Durum Man of the Year and the State Friend of Extension Award. Mel served in the US Air Force, ND National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.
Mel retired in 1997 having served the wheat industry for over 30 years. He was respected as the chief spokesperson for wheat producers and the industry as a whole in North Dakota. Mel passed away in 1997. His wife Sharyl and their two children continue to reside in Bismarck.
Year Inducted: 2009