Beef Industry Pioneer Bill Pratt, 77, Passes
Canyon, TX - Beef industry pioneer, inventor, and entrepreneur, William Cline "Bill" Pratt, 77, of rural Canyon, Texas, passed away Wednesday, October 21, 2020. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26 at the First United Methodist Church in Canyon. Visitation will be from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 25 at Brooks Chapel. Graveside services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 29 at Pappin Cemetery in rural Osage County near Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The Pratt family invites friends to come and share memories with them.
William Cline "Bill" Pratt
Bill Pratt was born November 5, 1942 in San Antonio, TX to Lt. Kenneth Pratt and Virginia (Cline) Pratt. He was reared in Pawhuska, OK with siblings Hal and Kathleen and ranched there with his father and brother. He graduated from high school in 1960 and earned a B.S. in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in 1965. Bill married the love of his life, Linda Kay Brooks, in Ft. Collins, CO, Nov. 10, 1963. Serving in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1966-73 in artillery and armored units, he attained the rank of Sergeant.
In 1971, Bill Pratt founded Micro Chemical, Inc. with Linda in Amarillo, TX. "Micro" was based on Bill's new invention, a revolutionary, patented, highly-precise system for measuring and delivering the critical, highly-concentrated micro feed ingredients necessary for feedyard cattle health, nutrition, and gain. Bill applied his novel philosophy of combining unique technology, consumable feed products, and service all from one company. He innovated many patented, computerized systems revolutionizing the beef industry in nutrition, health, information, and marketing. Micro's reach expanded into the ranching, packing, and retailing sectors. Micro sold feed additives and animal health products also. The company became Micro Beef Technologies in 1999. Micro grew with acquisitions and moved into the dairy industry and into Canada.
When Bill merged Micro with MWI Veterinary Supply of Boise, Idaho in 2011, he had been awarded 88 U.S., Canadian, Australian, U.K., and E.U. patents for his inventions. By 2011, it had grown to be the largest company in the world of its type with 235 employees and over $230,000,000 in annual revenue. Bill's systems created incalculable value for the beef and dairy production chains measured in the billions of dollars while making beef and dairy products wholesome and safe for consumers.
It is believed that Bill Pratt invented more technologies and was awarded more U.S. and foreign patents than any other individual in the history of the beef industry. Today, Bill's systems are still used as the standard in beef and dairy operations across the U.S. and Canada with an estimated 2/3 of all fed beef managed by them. Bill has been referred to as "The Thomas Edison of the Beef Industry" for his enormous impact with Micro being the primary reason Amarillo has been called "The Silicon Valley of Beef."
Bill also founded Amarillo Steel Fabricators in 1973 in Amarillo, Panther Lake Ranch in 1976, Bluestem Ford in 1977, Pawhuska Dozer and Field Service in 1978, and Latigo Oil Company in 1978, all in Oklahoma, and Bill's Backyard Classics in 2015 in Amarillo.
Bill possessed an impeccable work ethic rising very early, often working well into the night, and working far from home. Bill began each day with calisthenics and walked or swam everyday. He was never without a yellow notepad and pen whether in his car, at dinner, or at the bedside. Bill was a humble man with a reserved demeanor, highly intelligent, serious, thoughtful, and fair. He did not seek attention for himself. He always drove practical vehicles for work. Bill dressed simply in his "uniform" of starched wranglers, long-sleeved blue dress shirt, tennis shoes, and Micro cap. His shirt pocket always held a calculator, small calendar, pen, and a folded piece of yellow notepad paper showing the four-step problem-solving process and his listed life goals in his own famously indecipherable handwriting.
Bill took time to mentor budding inventors and entrepreneurs. Bill and Linda both took great pride when an employee "graduated" from "Micro University" and went on to start their own business or other venture. Bill was very patriotic. He was proud of serving in the military and supported many military and veterans-support organizations. He supported numerous agriculture organizations. Bill cared for everyone around him as extended family even providing cars and homes for relatives and paying end-of-life expenses for some employees. Bill expressed "fundamental fairness" in relationships. He never allowed a person to be spoken ill of and always gave a man a second chance.
Bill possessed the heart of an explorer and became a lay expert on a wide variety of historical and other subjects. Bill's solo flying adventures in land and float planes ranged from the eastern Carribean Sea, to north of the Arctic Circle, and along the Santa Fe Trail. Bill raced in the Sports Car Club of America's Formula Atlantic series winning the majority of his races. Bill's "dare deviling" resulted in several plane and race car crashes and even hospitalization.
Bill often cited his loving wife, Linda, as the reason for his success and as his full partner in all endeavors and accomplishments whether in life, love, business, or fun. Many times did he say, "I couldn't have done it without my Lindy!"
Bill came to know the Lord in baptism at the Methodist church as a boy. His faith was very personal. He did not preach it. He lived it in countless ways, all strong, kind, and with an old-fashioned sense of decency.
Bill Pratt's legacy lives on not only throughout the beef industry as a ground-breaking pioneer, but in the lives of all the countless people he touched.
Bill is survived by his wife of 57 years, Linda, 77, of rural Canyon; two surviving sons, Fred, 62, and wife Linda of rural Bushland, TX, and Glen, 53, and wife Natalia of Amarillo, TX, son Bryan, 60, passed away in September in Amarillo; a sister, Kathleen Jackson, 73, of Goliad, TX; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and many former colleagues from Micro and the beef community and Bill's Backyard Classics.
Condolence cards and letters may be sent to Linda Pratt P.O. Box 94 Canyon, TX 79015.
In lieu of memorials or donations, the Pratt Family asks friends to do what Bill would wish them to do -- hug your family, be good to all you meet, make the world better than you found it, and keep learning, exploring, and adventuring.