W.D. was born in Greeley, Colorado on May 26, 1910 to Hazel L. (Daven) and Harry W. Farr. He grew up in Greeley, attending public schools and was a member of the first class to graduate from the new high school building, which is now Greeley Central, in 1928. Mr. Farr attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison prior to returning to Greeley to join his father in business. On June 16, 1933 he married Gladell Judy in Denver. Following a honeymoon to Yellowstone, where he taught Judy the sport of fly fishing, they made their home in Greeley, where they raised four sons.
In the early years of business the Farr Company grew rapidly with irrigated farming and lamb feeding. W.D. took many trips to the terminal market in Chicago where he represented the company with sales of traincar loads of lambs. Riding the caboose to Chicago and the passenger train home was a great experience. He also took many trips throughout the west to purchase and receive feeder lambs directly from ranchers. Prior to World War II, Mr. Farr taught himself to survey. With the help of a small D2 Caterpillar tractor, he leveled the first field in northern Colorado for irrigation. Pinto beans were a large crop in the Greeley area and the Farr Company became well known for shipping beans throughout the United States. Mr. Farr recognized the growing taste preference for fed beef and began to shift the focus of the feeding operation from lambs to beef cattle.
In 1938, Mr. Farr attended his first Convention of the American National Cattlemen’s Association in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The ANCA was an organization of ranchers, and while Mr. Farr was recognized as a lamb and cattle feeder, he also operated a cattle ranch which allowed him to be a member. In 1970, Mr. Farr served as President of the American National Cattlemen’s Association. In the 1940’s, Mr. Farr and six other men joined together frequently over dinner and discussed ways to feed cattle and how to do a better job. They called themselves the Greeley T-Bone Club. Essentially, modern cattle feeding was developed in the Greeley area, the details of which were discussed at those T-bone steak dinners.
An intense interest in Colorado water occupied Mr. Farr’s time away from company business. He was an active participant in the development of Northern Colorado’s water resources for both agriculture uses and for municipal uses. He was unique in his vision for both groups of water users and contributed significantly as a mediator for their interests. He served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Greeley Water Board for 40 years.
Mr. Farr followed his father and grandfather into the banking business with the belief that a strong growing community needed to be locally financed. He served for years on the Board of Directors of the Greeley National Bank, many as Chairman, and was instrumental in the founding of Affiliated Bancshares of Colorado of which he was Chairman of the Board. He also served as a Director of the Denver US National Bank.
W.D. was an avid outdoorsman with superior hunting and fishing skills. Fly fishing was a passion he enjoyed throughout his lifetime with his wife, sons and their families. He owned a cabin in Encampment, Wyoming where for 85 years he would fish the North Platte River. He loved fishing for Steelhead in British Columbia and spent many weeks on the Dean River with family and friends. He hunted frequently in the Colorado Flat Tops for elk and in Alberta, Canada for moose, bear, stone sheep and mountain goats. One of his fondest hunting trips was with his four sons on a successful Stone Sheep expedition to the wilderness of Northern British Columbia. His best times were spent with his wife, Judy, whether it was hunting elk on horseback, or walking corn rows for pheasants or fly fishing a Wyoming river. She nearly equaled his skills.
W.D. Farr has been greatly honored with a number of prestigious awards. He was always humbled by these because he believed so strongly in those who honored him. Some of the awards include;
2007 Hall of Great Westerners, National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Center
2005 Salute for Agricultural Leadership, National Young Farmers Organization
2004 Beef Top 40, Industry Leadership, Beef Magazine
2002 Swan Leadership Award, National Cattlemen’s Association
1999 Citizen of the West, National Western Stock Show
1997 Excellence of Leadership Award, El Pomar Foundation
1995 Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, FFA Foundation
1994 Headgate Award, Four States Irrigation Council
1991 Colorado Business Hall of Fame
1991 Distinguished Citizen Award, Longs Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America
1988 Honorary Degree of Laws, University of Northern Colorado
1987 National Golden Spur Award
1985 Water Leader of the Year, Colorado Water Congress
1981 Public Service Award, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry
1976 Greeley Centennial Family, City of Greeley
1971 Livestock Industry Award, Colorado State University
1969 Animal Agricultural Award, American Meat Institute
1960 Boss of the Year, Greeley Chapter, National Secretary Association
W.D. was also affiliated with many other organizations and memberships, including; Greeley Water and Sewer Board, Greeley National Bank, Greeley Chamber of Commerce, Greeley Centennial Commission, Greeley Rotary Club, Beebe Draw Gun Club, Greeley Social Science Club, Greeley Spud Rodeo Committee, Home Light and Power Company, First Congregational United Church of Christ of which he was a member for 84 years, Greeley Elks Lodge #809, Weld County Republican Party, Greeley Country Club, Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, 208 Areawide Planning Commission of Larimer/Weld Council of Governments, Long Peak Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Colorado Public Expenditures Council, Colorado-Nebraska Lamb Feeders Association, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Mountain Bell Telephone Company, Great Western Sugar Company, National Western Stock Show, Colorado Cattle Feeders Association, Greeley-Loveland Irrigation Company, Weld County Lamb Feeders Association, Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel 1981, The Colorado Thirty Group, Cattle Fax, Agriservices Foundation, Water Pollution Control Advisory Board – Department of the Interior, Food and Drug Advisory Committee – Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Food Advisory Committee of the Cost of Living Council, and the Agricultural Committee – US Chamber of Commerce.