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texas tech university | fall 2010

Perserverance Matters Innovation Happens Anything is Possible


table of contents

theagriculturist Departments


Keeping Up With Alumni

Why Choose WhenYou Can Do Both? 18 A Bird’s EyeView of the Future 22

6 The Man Behind the Cover 7 It’s in the Bag 8 Making Every Day Matter 10 The Best in the West 11 Creating Harmony at Texas Tech

From Tech to Tables 26

Understanding Your World

Awe-Inspiring Grace 30

14 In Klein’d to Care

Turning Problems Into Solutions 36

16 Dive Bombed by a Kite?

Behind the Desk 38 Akers of Love 40 Keeping Up With Alumni Relations

Innovative Minds 44 Getting the Most Out of Your Beef 46 Sustainability on the South Plains

A Competitive Edge On the cover Ashley Sturgeon, Texas Tech University Medical Student. Photo by Koreley Holubec Background photo by Amy Dromgoole This issue also available on the Web:

50 Striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence 51 National Collegiate Soils Contest Gets Dirty 52 A Winning Tradition 53 Overseas with the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team Thank you to our sponsors for supporting this issue of The Agriculturist.

The Agriculturist is a student publication of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications at Texas Tech University. Each semester, students enrolled in ACOM 4310: Development of Agricultural Publications produce this magazine from start to finish as part of their degree requirement.The magazine is funded solely by advertisers and sponsors and is a not-for-profit publication.

The CASNR Learning Community Learn valuable study skills and make life-long friends in your College! For students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

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*New Student Housing Applications for Fall 2011-Spring 2012 accepted November 1st, 2010

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theagriculturist staff


Marie Hefley

Associate Editor Kelli Chapman

Advertising Manager Keeli Willis

Graphics Manager Caitlyn Shumaker

Web Editor

Amy Dromgoole


Shylo Adams Samantha Jo Berry Alicia Daugherty Megan Davis Chase Dunn Hardy Elkins Jake Grinnell Koreley Holubec Loren Wright Brett Nelius Rex Oliver Brooke Parkey Trevor Schafer

Top: Rhea Lynn Leonard, Megan Davis, Marie Hefley, Jake Grinnell Middle: Kelli Chapman, Chase Dunn, Dr. David Doerfert, Rex Oliver,

Brooke Parkey, Samantha Jo Berry, Brett Nelius Bottom: Amy Dromgoole, Shylo Adams, Alicia Daugherty, Hardy Elkins, Loren Wright, Koreley Holubec, Caitlyn Shumaker Not prictured: Keeli Willis, Trevor Schafer Staff photo courtesy of Artie Limmer


Note From the Editor....

eginning with the first pioneers, the agriculture industry has continuously evolved. With the rapid growth of technology, the industry has learned to diversify and integrate itself with other industries to meet the demands of these changes. Recognizing the flexibility of agriculture, The Agriculturist staff has developed a publication that exemplifies the past successes of individuals in this industry and gives a peek at the great things yet to come. It has been an honor to serve as editor for this issue of The Agriculturist. Each staff strives to make their issue better than the last, and I want to say a heart-felt thank you to my fellow classmates. It is your hard work ethic and determination both in and out of the classroom that made the production of this magazine possible in such a short amount of time. On behalf of the staff and myself, I want to express my sincere gratitude to our advisors, Dr. David Doerfert and Rhea Lynn Leonard, for your time, insight and expertise. Without you, this publication would not have been a success. This issue encompasses remarkable stories about students, alumni and programs of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, as well as evolving technology that will change the future of agriculture. I hope you enjoy this edition of The Agriculturist. Sincerely,

Keeping up with Alumni

The Man Behind the Cover Story and Photos by Alicia Daugherty


arm. Hot. Blazing. These are words the average person rarely considers. However, to the senior director of marketing and publications at the largest equine breed association in the world, these three little words determine his priorities each day. The American Quarter Horse Association, headquartered in Amarillo, Texas, boasts 310,000 members, all of which receive a magazine publication called America’s Horse. Many of the members also subscribe to The American Quarter Horse Journal, a magazine that encompasses every aspect of the Quarter Horse industry. In conjunction with these magazines are several online publications. But, were it not for the man behind the cover, none of these marketing and publication efforts would be possible. Jim Bret Campbell, a Texas Tech graduate, has worked within AQHA for 13 years. An avid horse enthusiast from a young age, Campbell considers his position at AQHA the best personal and professional position he could ask for. “The association has been really good to me,” Campbell said. “As a young kid I would read about great horsemen I could associate with because they were horsemen and cowboys just like my family, and now I get to meet and work with these people.” The road that led Campbell to work at the international headquarters of AQHA started when he was a young boy. Always enamored with any horse material he could find, Campbell

Jim Bret Campbell with his wife,Teri, and sons, Cash (sitting) and Cooper (standing).

6 | the agriculturist

spent many hours pouring through his parents’ subscriptions of The American Quarter Horse Journal. Campbell possesses strong agricultural roots as both his grandfathers and his father were involved with farming and ranching. Thus, it was natural for him to continue in agriculture. After completing high school in Hereford, Texas, Campbell decided to attend Tech after receiving a dean’s scholarship to further his education as a pre-vet major, but he felt something was missing. “I determined pretty quickly that my aptitude for chemistry was probably not as good as it should be,” Campbell said as he smiled slightly, “so that’s when I started looking around for the right fit for me.” Campbell said he was drawn to the relatively new agricultural communications program at Tech and decided upon its degree plan because writing, marketing and public relations were what he excelled in. During his undergraduate studies, Campbell also actively participated in both the livestock and meat judging teams, as well as Ag Ambassadors and Ag Council. “The livestock judging team was a big part of my college experience,” Campbell said as he pointed to a picture of his judging team sitting on the windowsill in his office. “The practical skills I gained and the people management skills I learned in the competitive, stress-filled environment of judging have carried over into my career.”

Jim Bret Campbell, a graduate of CASNR, is now the senior director of marketing and publications at AQHA.

Campbell on the board. “You can tell he is putting things together in his mind, and whenever he speaks he has very good points to make and always has a proposed solution.” This progressive thinking allows Campbell to promote AQHA and The American Quarter Horse Journal through many different programs and publications. Not only do his responsibilities include overseeing the production of the association’s two major publications and their online counterparts, he also works very closely with other departments within the association to host the Open and Amateur World Show, the Adequan Select World Show, the Built Ford Tough Youth World Show and the Versatility Ranch Horse World Show. When he is not traveling or busy in the office, Campbell said his main hobby is spending as much time as possible with his wife Teri, and their two boys, Cash, 6, and Cooper, 3. He said the family likes sports, especially baseball, and they love to go snow skiing when time permits. “I have been very blessed,” Campbell said. “I really feel like God led me to be at AQHA and in Amarillo.” A

Keeping up with Alumni

Campbell completed his bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications in 1996 and continued with a master’s degree in agricultural education, which he received in 1997. “There is no doubt in my mind that my degrees at Tech, and the time I spent there, and the experiences I had there helped prepare me to do this job,” Campbell said. In addition to heading the marketing and publications department at AQHA, Campbell spends much of his time giving back to his alma mater by serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board, which assists in creating and implementing new programs for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Dr. Norman Hopper, associate dean of CASNR, not only taught Campbell during his undergraduate work, but has also worked closely with Campbell on the advisory committee. He said Campbell possesses a genuine desire to give back to the university. “He’s very analytical in his thinking as he formulates a plan to address an issue, then he presents that plan,” Hopper said when describing what it was like to serve with

“The practical skills I gained and the people management skills I learned in the competitive, stress-filled environment of judging have carried over into my career.”


It’s In The Bag!


Story and Photo by Loren Wrightt

he need for agriculture extends back to the beginning of time making it one of the oldest industries to date. Sadly, younger generations lack knowledge about agriculture. That is why the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce strives to change this by hosting a program called Ag in the Bag each fall in conjunction with Texas Tech’s Ag Awareness week. Mary Jane Buerkle, Vice President of Communications at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, and staff coordinator for Ag in the Bag, said the Chamber is in tune to how agriculture affects businesses and they want children to understand that as well. “Programs like these are so important because agriculture is business,” Buerkle, a Tech agricultural communications alumna said. “Our mission is to strengthen and promote businesses. If not for agriculture in this area the businesses couldn’t function. That’s why the chamber is involved; we see the need to educate what agriculture means to our economy and our business community.”

Ag in the Bag is a three-day event that hosts an average of 450 students from schools around the Lubbock area. The program’s target audience is fourth-grade students. Buerkle said the Chamber feels fourth-grade is an impressionable age and the students retain the information well. Students can expect a full day of different agricultural programs. Volunteers from commodity groups give presentations ranging from milking a cow on a mobile dairy, to seeing how cotton is ginned with a mini cotton gin. Buerkle said four years ago, the program began to incorporate Texas Tech’s Food Science center into their presentations. They wanted to add the Food Science Center to help showcase some of Tech’s qualities. Buerkle said Tech has been great to facilitate Ag in the Bag and has allowed them to grow the program each year. She said she never sees the program going away. A G fall 2010 |


Keeping up with Alumni

g n i k a M y a D y r e Ev

r e t t a M

Story and Photos by Samantha Jo Berry


itting behind a desk sprinkled with drawings and “I love How he has used that education is a story in itself. After you, Daddy” notes is a man who is more than meets the working as an insurance adjuster, Stanton tapped into the eye. The truth is that Daniel Stanton is a multitude of labels. restaurant business starting with the group that operated Johnny Christian, father, husband, son, business partner and boss are just Carino’s restaurants. It was here he met his future business a few words one can use to introduce him, but one word trumps partner, Mickey Rogers. the rest. That word is humble. Stanton’s career took him to several places across the U.S. Stanton and his wife, Stacy, are the parents of four children: including Albuqerque, N.M., Miami, Dallas, and Austin, Texas. Justin, 17, Blane, 14, Shaina, 8, and Jackson, 6. They will It was while living in Phoenix the family realized they were th celebrate their 19 wedding anniversary in May. unhappy. The family decided to let Justin choose where to go Stanton explained how the couple met. “We met when my next. Justin chose Idalou. brother married her sister,” Stanton said. “It’s cool to marry Moving back, Stanton and Rogers began to look for a your best friend.” business concept. The pair chose the restaurant industry, and Growing up in Idalou, Texas, Stanton said he always knew he Café Venture was founded. The new business purchased seven would be a Red Raider. It was his existing Fuddruckers franchises in mother’s dream. November 2007. “God always has a plan. You “I considered other An important part of their schools, but Tech easily won,” business is community involvement. either get bitter or you get Stanton said. “My mother Both said giving back to their dreamed of seeing me walk university is something they are better. We chose to get better.” across that stage.” committed to. The choice to enroll in the “We’re both Tech grads and College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources was an Red Raiders for life,” Rogers said. “It’s important to be a good easy one as well. As an active participant in FFA, a scholarship influence to the students because they’re the future.” helped him to decide on agricultural economics as his major, a Stanton said giving back to the university, specifically decision he said has never regretted. CASNR, is important to him as well. He is often called upon to “I’ve always loved numbers and agriculture,” Stanton said. “It cater events for CASNR and speak to organizations. made sense to major in agricultural economics, and I believe that I got an excellent education.”

8 | the agriculturist

fall 2010 |

Keeping up with Alumni

“I believe in the value systems that come with the Opening his personal journal, Stanton referred to Acts 2:42 agriculture lifestyle,” Stanton said, “and the kids that come as the guide he always turns to in life and in business. He said from that are worth investing in.” fellowship is very important to the way he wants to live his life In addition to Café Venture’s support of Tech, the company and the kind of atmosphere he wants to create for his employees. sponsors many youth athletic organizations and non-profit “My daily prayer is to be a blessing to someone,” Stanton said. organizations in Lubbock. “If you can help someone, then you’ve had a great, fulfilling day.” While Stanton has had a successful and happy life, it has Success is an obvious word to describe Rogers and Stanton, not come without some but both are eager to challenges or tragedies. continue living life and In 2000, Stanton and seeing others succeed. Their Stacy lost their daughter, advice to anyone about life Shayli. Stanton said the loss and business comes from was devastating, but the years of experience. family chose to be positive “Never be afraid to and look to God. shake someone’s hand,” “God always has a plan,” Rogers said. “You’ve just got Stanton said. “You either get to pull your boots up and go bitter or you get better. We make it happen.” chose to get better.” Stanton expanded on The loss of Shayli has an Rogers’s advice. impact on how Stanton not “Live your dream and only lives his life but how he take chances. Life is too runs his business. He said he Stanton and business partner, Rogers, in the Lubbock Fuddruckers. precious to waste even views life as too precious to one moment.” A G waste and wanted Café Venture to be a business focused on the family. He and Rogers wanted to make sure there was never a division between life, work and family.


Keeping up with Alumni

The West

The t s e B In L

eslie Kitten has always had the technique and skills for photography. With a long road of struggles and success, she was finally able to reach her dream. Kitten graduated from Texas Tech University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in interior design and architecture. She then continued her education by enrolling in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and received her master’s in agricultural education. “When I started college, my goals were to own an architecture firm, carry a black briefcase and wear a black suit,” Kitten said. “I quickly realized that’s not who I am.”

Kitten photographs a client on campus. Photo Courtesy of Kelsey Fletcher

10 | the agriculturist

Story by Megan Davis Photos Courtesy of Leslie Kitten

While pursuing her master’s degree, Kitten learned that her previous dream had changed. “I wanted the lifestyle of having a family and being able to attend family events,” Kitten said. While attending graduate school, Kitten started her own photography business. Due to her busy schedule, Kitten did not see the potential her business could achieve at the beginning. “When I was in graduate school, a friend asked me to photograph her wedding and paid me $100 and that is how I started,” Kitten said. After starting her own business in 2002, Savant Photography, Kitten saw the potential her company possessed and decided she wanted to make a difference. “During graduate school, my business was in the spare bedroom of my house,” Kitten said. “I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life, I just was not quite there yet.” Throughout the years, Kitten has been successful in her business, but still manages to stay grounded. “I am fearful every day. I am completely dependent on people because what I do is a luxury item.” Kitten said. “I am hoping that people will see my product as something they can’t live without.” Taking pictures is not the only important part for Kitten and her career.

“For some people, I am the last person to capture their entire family. I have something that really means a lot to them and they want it forever. It makes me happy that I can do that for people,” Kitten said. Kitten maintains her relationship with Tech by teaching the agricultural communications 4001 photography class. “I enjoy learning from the students. I learn to see things differently, and to see others perspective on things, which helps keep my photography fresh,” Kitten said. During her photography career, Kitten has received recognition for her talents, one of them being an award by voters of the Lubbock community called The Best in the West award. However, Kitten was surprised at which award meant the most to her. “My most meaningful award has nothing to do with photography,” Kitten said. “I received first place in the nation for my thesis. It was over agricultural education and implementing the agricultural communication program.” As Kitten plans to conquer her goal in building her own studio, there is no doubt she is an inspiration to others. Being a full-time business owner, wife, mother and teacher, one could agree she is truly the best in the west. A



Chancellor Hance said she is an outstanding ambassador for the university, and she plays a direct role in helping Tech achieve its at Texas Tech goal of 40,000 students by 2020. While recruiting students, Story and Photo by Rex Oliver ost graduates of Texas Tech strive to be successful as well as communicating with after completing their college education. Casey the numerous university publics, Harmon, a 2006 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural she said she always has a soft spot communications, is a shining example of a graduate who gained in her heart for the agricultural success by working for the Texas Tech University System. industry. Farming surrounded her Harmon, a West Texan native from Amherst, was very young life and instilled ideals she successful while attending Tech. She participated in Agricultural still carries with her today. Her father and grandfather were Communicators of Tomorrow, Collegiate FFA and served as an both directly involved with the cotton industry. officer in the Student Government Association. Harmon used the “I love that I get to interact with the agricultural industry skills she learned in these organizations to get where she is today. in my current job,” Harmon said. Although she had a brief leave from Tech, Harmon could not Harmon also regularly interacts with Tech’s Board of stay away for long. She returned to the university to work for the Regents, working to align the goals of the system with those Chancellor and currently serves as Director of System Relations of our governing body. Some of the decisions made by the for the Texas Tech University System. Board of Regents are directly related to Harmon and her “It is a fun job because I get to interact with many different hard work. stakeholders in our state, national and local elected officials, Texas Harmon is a gifted and hard-working alumna of Tech. Tech Alumni, current students and even prospective students,” She goes to work every day to give back to her alma mater. Harmon said. She works hard to ensure that students have futures in higher Her duties as director of system relations include organizing education, and students are able to come to school every special events, preparing visits for prospective students and day and receive a quality education. Casey Harmon—an working on the strategic plan for Chancellor Kent Hance and the agriculturalist working for the future of Texas Tech University. A G university system.

Keeping up with Alumni



fall 2010 |


12 | the agriculturist

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Understanding Your World Going Global


“Klein’d” To Care Story and Photo by Jake Grinnell


n a cluttered office at the Plant and Soil Sciences “Obviously we stress that the trip is a learning experience, building of Texas Tech University, sits Professor Charles but aside from learning about eco-tourism in the communities Klein. A burly, bearded man, Klein looks somewhat out of we visit, the students are exposed to a culture that is a large place in this cramped office space. Surrounded by various departure from what they experience in their everyday lives,” blue prints of past and future landscaping projects, he reviews Klein said. journals written by students who recently joined him on a trek While students visit the various to the Yucatan Peninsula to provide research for communities of the Yucatan, some with villages and communities more than mouth-filling pronunciations, on eco-tourism. they visit a variety of eco-tourism “Poor is a rich man’s sites ranging from large, corporate word, and getting to interact run operations, to smaller individual with these communities operations. The students also provide helped me see that,” said design studios for smaller villages that Klein, reading from a are interested in starting their own student’s notebook. “The eco-tourism sites. These villages would places we visited are ‘rich’ in otherwise not have the knowledge or their culture, family values, tools needed to plan and apply for history, and are far from poor.” funds to build these sites. After reflecting on the Designing these sites gives entry for a second, Klein smiled the students hands-on experience and placed the notebook back on building landscapes, but also his crowded bookshelf. provides a chance for them to “Reading these journals at experience relationships within the end of every trip is extremely communities both close to home rewarding to me as a teacher and abroad. and as a person,” Klein said. “The “In almost every aspect of a students sign up to take the trip to landscape architect’s professional get credit for class in a unique way, practice, the designs and projects but end up learning much more they develop ultimately serve to than any traditional course taught enhance the surrounding here at Tech.” community,” Klein said. “This Klein has been involved in is inherently the goal of public sector e with landscap in le K service oriented programs to projects such as a neighborhood park, or ss fe Pro sel. t Tanner Hen en d u st enhance the lives of students, as well as the lives urban streetscape or community re tu architec of community members, throughout his years as revitalization project. But it is also a professor at Tech. He said he believes exposing the case when the client is from the private sector, such as students to unique environments and instilling in them a sense of a design for a new town or a commercial business park for civic duty will help them to be better landscape architects as well a private developer. For both the private developer and the as help them better serve the public at large. public at large, the designs created by the landscape architect One of these projects comes in the form of a summer study ultimately become an integral part of the community fabric for abroad course. Every summer for the past several years, Klein has years to come.” provided a chance for students to travel to communities located Klein’s summer Yucatan trips are extremely educational on the Yucatan Peninsula and get hands-on experience developing and rewarding for the students involved. In a recent serviceand maintaining eco-tourism sites for local villages. While lodging learning project, Klein’s students partnered with at-risk in everything from modern hotels to thatched roof huts, the students attending a Lubbock alternative school and worked students get first-hand exposure to cultures they would never be together to create a nature trail that had an extremely positive able to experience without the help of Klein’s yearly trips. impact on both parties.

14 | the agriculturist

Both the college students and the JJAEP students expressed a greater sense of community after the project finished and voiced their opinions about being involved in the development of the nature trail. “I would be extremely mad if somebody messed up our trail on purpose. Now I know what it feels like,” expressed one 16-year-old girl involved in the project, “so I’ll be more careful

Understanding Your World

“Before the project, the students had difficulty understanding how the community is intertwined and how everyone must work together to make something happen,’’ Klein said. “The lesson learned was that everyone has a say in the matter and needs to take a certain amount of responsibility for their community.” The project was requested by JJAEP (Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program) in response to a grant received

“The students sign up to take the trip to get credit for class in a unique way but end up learning much more than any traditional course taught here at Tech.” to build the Liberty Nature Trail. However, they needed help designing the trail in an environmentally sensitive area behind the school. Graduate and undergraduate landscape architecture students teamed with JJAEP students in order to assist with planning landscape architecture students were teamed with JJAEP students in order to assist with planning for the project as well as mentor the students.

about not messing up other people’s stuff.” The experiences Klein has provided through the many programs he has been a part of over the years have helped to instill a sense of community within the areas that were involved, and changed the student’s civic landscapes for the better. It’s easy to see why Klein doesn’t mind having a small office. He doesn’t stay in it for long. A


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fall 2010 |


Understanding Your World Going Global

e v by a Kite? i d D e b m Bo

Story and Photo by Loren Wright


n a gorgeous spring day at Texas Tech University, students can take in the lovely tulips strategically placed in the flowerbeds around campus, feel the first taste of summer as the sun kisses their skin, and they may also be dive bombed by a beautiful large bird known as the Mississippi Kite. A graceful long-winged raptor, the Mississippi Kite, is not on Tech campus all year long. Around the first of May, the Kites settle back on campus, busily building their nests, laying their eggs, and preparing for their offspring to hatch in the first summer months. It is around this time the Kites can become aggressive birds. Like most creatures, the Kites are protective of their young and their nests. Through the months of May to August the Kites are most worried about their offspring. When the birds think a person has spotted their nest or is getting to close to their nest, they will swoop down at them, trying to drive that person away from the area. Ben Skipper, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Tech, is currently studying urban ecology and management of Mississippi Kites. Skipper Doctoral student Ben Skipper said when the Kites swoop down they may knock a person’s the whole thing and informed me that it was an angry bird known hat off if wearing one, or occasionally will hit the person in as a Mississippi Kite.” the head with their feet causing a laceration, sometimes even Skipper is trying to understand the natural history of Kites in warranting stitches. the urban environment and how to manage the aggressive Kites on Tarryn Lambert, a communications major at Tech, said campus. He said there are a number of aggressive Kites on campus she had always seen warning signs around campus but never that he is studying. Skipper said they marked these birds to find out paid attention to them until she had an encounter with a Kite more about their mating and nesting habits, as well as to study their outside of the Wall-Gates dormitory. aggressive nature. “I stepped out of the dorm to head to my car and this bird “We had 12 pairs of Kites breeding on campus last year, so 24 came swooping down towards my head. I took off running adults. We caught 21 of them and marked them with a color band,” toward my car for cover,” Lambert said. “Another student saw Skipper said. Skipper said he is working hard with several techniques to try to minimize aggression in the Kites. He said when a Kite swoops down at him he tries to give the bird a negative stimulus in hope The Mississippi Kite is similar in size to the Peregrine that it would associate swooping with a negative experience, so next Falcon; however the falcon can be 3 times heavier. time they will think before they swoop at a human. “We’ve used three different negative stimuli so far. The first It has also been called Mosquito Hawk, Blue Snakehawk, Hovering Kite, and Locust-eater. was a high intensity strobe light, the second was a high pitch fog horn with the intention of frightening the Kite, and the third was a A group of kites has many collective nouns, including a capture with a prolonged handling,” Skipper said. “So if it swooped “brood”, “kettle”, “roost”, “stooping”, and “string” of kites. toward me I captured it and held it for about thirty minutes.” Mississippi Kite: Small kite, dark gray upperparts, pale Skipper said there was a small decrease in aggression with the gray underparts and head. Eyes are red. Upperwings are handling, but the horn and light were unsuccessful. He said he is dark gray with pale gray patches. Tail is long and black. still working on developing other techniques to try. So until then, Feeds on large flying insects. Bouyant flight with steady wing beats, alternates several wing strokes with short to beware of the Kites on Tech campus. A

Bird Facts

long glides.

16 | the agriculturist


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Story and Photos by

Koreley Holubec 18 | the agriculturist


ach semester, more than 100 students graduate from the Texas Tech School of Medicine. After May 22, 2010, Ashley Sturgeon will join those students. Setting her apart from the pack is Sturgeon’s undergraduate degree in animal science and her practical experiences that came with it. Sturgeon’s involvement in agriculture from a young age, paired with a desire to go to medical school, led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in Texas Tech’s Animal and Food Science Department. “I was really involved in agriculture. I told my agri-science teacher how much I loved it and wanted to do it in college. I would qualify for a Houston scholarship if I majored in agriculture,” Sturgeon said. “I wanted to do animal science like my dad, but I really wanted to go to medical school.” Sturgeon soon learned that she could do both—obtain a degree in animal science and go to medical school. “You are as qualified, and sometimes more qualified, than people who take a traditional pre-med biology route because of the practical applications,” Sturgeon said. “It is one thing to memorize facts about biology, but it is another to practice and utilize biological mechanisms like we do in medicine every day.” Sturgeon said she remembered manipulating the reproductive cycle of a cow to produce convenient calving. “I learned how to Ashley Sturgeon on tractor. manipulate the reproductive cycle before I even went to medical school and before I even listened to an OBGYN lecture,” justify that plan to herself and her attending physician. Sturgeon said. “My public speaking and leadership skills also came from Beyond the experiences of practical applications, there were opportunities that I had in agriculture,” Sturgeon said. “Presenting other perks that drew her to the animal science department. “The reasons in wool judging is similar to explaining my treatment plan practical applications prepared me best for medical school, but I for a patient in the clinic.” think my journey to medical school through animal science was Numerous leadership opportunities are available through meant to be,” Sturgeon said. “What was normally very stressful other pre-med options, some of which Sturgeon also participated was made much less stressful because I was in the school of ag with in. However, she said she felt she was exposed to diverse, but supportive advisors who really believed in me.” beneficial extracurricular activities, such as wool judging, more “I knew every one of my professors on a personal basis,” easily because she was in CASNR. Sturgeon said. “Only some of that was because of my own Now that Sturgeon has almost completed her medical degree, initiative. A lot of it was because professors made an effort to get she still uses skills she learned during her undergraduate studies to to know me.” relate to her patients. “The Sturgeon said the culture of animal science is “You are as qualified, and sometimes more College of Agricultural very much like the culture qualified, than people who take a traditional pre-med Sciences and Natural of West Texas,” Sturgeon biology route because of the practical applications” Resources has an said. “I still get the culture extremely strong of West Texas people across counseling and guidance effect and the faculty really made things the street at the Health Sciences Center.” easier on her, where she wasn’t sure it would have been that easy Sturgeon said she does miss being around a group of people had she not majored in agriculture. who know and understand what the price of cotton or amount of During her undergraduate program, Sturgeon was also rainfall means for her family. involved in extra-curricular activities that played a major role in Sturgeon said her agricultural background allows her to relate preparing her for medical school. “The wool judging team was better to other people in the agricultural environment and West very influential. It taught me to think on my feet and to think Texas. “Without animal science, I would have had to work harder quickly,” Sturgeon said. to be a good medical student,” Sturgeon said. “My degree gave me “I learned how to make a prompt, informed, and accurate a lot of practical experience and it improved my communication decision about wool. The ability to make effective decisions still skills.” Sturgeon said she felt the animal science environment helps me in medical school today.” Sturgeon said in medical school gave her a warm, friendly feeling of home that made the college she must choose a specific plan for a patient while being able to experience a lot easier. fall 2010 |


Many students do not realize the possibilities of earning both a degree in animal science and their desired medical degree. Sturgeon is living proof that a student majoring in animal science can advance to pre-professional school, without prolonging an undergraduate degree. Kendra Pond also stressed her belief in using animal science as a doorway to a premedical field. Pond is an animal science major with science option, which allows her to take all prerequisite sciences for medical school. Pond was on the track to go to pre-medical school and changed her mind after taking an internship. “The good thing about animal science with the science option is that usually pre-professional required sciences are usually the same,� Pond said.

Pond comes from an agriculture background and a fifth generation cattle ranch. The opportunity for Pond to major in animal science with an emphasis in science allows her to combine her two passions of agriculture and medicine. Pond said she has met and watched several people go through this degree plan and complete it successfully. Both Sturgeon and Pond have used the animal science department to their advantage and a gateway to the medical field. Students who are interested in obtaining a medical degree do not have to choose between agriculture and medicine. Students can use CASNR to their advantage and earn a useful undergraduate degree, which will prepare them for situations both in and out of the medical field. A G Ashley Sturgeon in front of the animal science building.

20 | the agriculturist

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fall 2010 |


A Bird’s Eye View of the Future Story and Photos by Caitlyn Shumaker

22 | the agriculturist


hirty-one years of flying but it never gets old. closely with the students,” Hopper said. “It brightens my day that I Having a bird’s eye view of the world. Taking get to help and interact with the ag kids.” your friends along to help them understand that Hopper has helped many students with their education, there is so much more to see. That’s exciting! Flying is more career opportunities and life decisions. Clayton Cobb, senior than just a hobby to this pilot, this big-picture perspective pre-veterinarian major from Estancia, N.M., serves on the describes how Norman Hopper guides students to a future board of multiple organizations and gives all of the credit for his they didn’t know were possible. success to Hopper. “I love Tech and I am proud to be a part of the university again “I was looking to become involved with Tech and Hopper doing everything I can to help students succeed,” Hopper said. encouraged me to join the Pre-Vet Society at Texas Tech; since Hopper, associate then I have become a part academic dean of the of many organizations,” College of Agricultural Cobb said. “Through Sciences and Natural his belief in me, I now Resources at Texas continue my Ag Council Tech University, has served as a faculty member and has devoted vice presidency and hold many positions in the Texas Tech his time to the ag students since 1976. University Senate.” Hopper grew up on a farm in Petersburg, Texas, learning “His generosity and care for me and every student that has the intricacies of agriculture. Raised with the responsibilities of come into contact with him is amazing. I have never met a more working on a farm, Hopper, and his younger brother learned approachable and kind-hearted individual in my life,” Cobb said. discipline, the importance of agriculture and the ambition Dr. Hopper oversees the CASNR Congressional Internship to further his education. Deciding on a college was an easy program affiliated with the U.S. Senate office in Washington, task for Hopper; he knew he wanted to attend Tech and study D.C. Each spring and fall semester Tech sends about five CASNR agriculture. In 1965, he completed his bachelor’s degree and students to Washington, D.C., to intern with the U.S. senator and then master’s degree in 1967, both in agronomy. Then in 1970, government. Stephen Sheppard, from Grapevine, Texas, majoring Hopper graduated with his Ph.D. in crop physiology with a in wildlife management, was one of the chosen individuals to minor in plant physiology from Iowa State University. represent Tech through the congressional internship. Upon graduation from Iowa State, Hopper joined the Iowa “Without Hopper’s help and encouragement, the internship State faculty and taught classes in the plant and soil science wouldn’t have been possible,” Sheppard said about his acceptance department for five years. In 1976, Hopper and his family for the congressional internship. moved back to Lubbock, Texas, after accepting a job in the plant Hopper flew to Washington, D.C., a couple of times to and soil science department at Tech. check up with the interns and see how things were going. “There’s something about Tech that you just can’t stay away from, so I came back and have been here ever since,” Hopper said as he beamed with joy. Hopper is actively involved in CASNR. He serves as the advisor for Ag Council, member of the Tech Academic Council, and the founder and leader of the study abroad trip to China. Additionally, he oversees the agricultural scholarship program and is the director for the Congressional Internship program. Even though he is constantly busy making decisions and advising, he still finds time to teach classes in the Plant and Soil Science Department and reach out to his students. “The most rewarding part Hopper showing Stephen Sheppard his collectibles he has received over the years from students. of my job is that I get to work

“I have never met a more approachable and kind-hearted individual in my life.”

fall 2010 |


During his visit, he took the CASNR interns to dinner. Sheppard said Hopper was very caring and interested in how their experiences were going and what all they were learning. “He was very personable and sincere during the whole experience,” Sheppard said. “I always felt comfortable going to him if I needed anything. I still have a great relationship with him today, and I know that he would make himself available if I needed him for advice or just as a friend.” Hopper has been at Tech for a little over 30 years and has enjoyed working with students the most. Hopper always has a smile on his face and is happy to see his visitors anytime they stop by to visit. Lybby Brown has worked for Tech since 1992 and has worked as Hopper’s assistant for the past seven years. She manages Hopper’s calendar, assists his classes when needed, books travel arrangements and administers the CASNR scholarship committee. “He has always been so helpful,” Brown said. “If I ever have a problem, I know that I can go to him.” She said he is a caring and

honest person and it shows through when he works with students every day. Brown said Hopper is easy to work with, very flexible and is always open to welcome others whenever they need help, advice or just someone to talk to. She says he is focused when he is working and he scares easily if he is sneaked up on. “If you surprise him while he is concentrating on work, he will jump three inches out of his chair!” Brown said while laughing. “So I usually tap on the door so he knows I’m there.” Hopper has been a strong contribution to Tech over the past 34 years. Seeing everything from a bird’s eye view, he has an advantage to help any student who comes into his office for help or just to chat. He has been a proud supporter and representative of CASNR and Tech. He should be proud of what all he has accomplished during his time at Tech, and know that his contributions have not gone unnoticed. A

“It brightens my day that I get to help and interact with the ag kids.”

24 | the agriculturist


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fall 2010 |


. . . h c e T m Fro to

s e l b a T

Story and Photos by Marie Hefley

26 | the agriculturist


ody Hawkins will never forget the day he and Terry Rolan were shaking hands with the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Oscar Mayer with more than 40 people watching. It was the first day they launched their new product without knowing the nationwide sensation it would become. The concept known as Lunchables was an instant hit and is described by Kraft Marketing as the most innovative new product developed by Kraft over the past 25 years. Hawkins and Rolan,Texas Tech alumni, said they feel the Department of Animal and Food Sciences and its graduate programs gave them the knowledge and experience they needed to be successful. “I like to be challenged and I found that at Tech,” Hawkins said. “It gave me the knowledge and drive to be successful in creating a new product.” Hawkins, who obtained his Ph.D. in meat science and muscle physiology from Tech, was recruited by Gordon Davis, Ph.D., in 1982 to develop the meat science program and judging team. When he came to Tech they did not have a single trophy in their case and Tech’s dream was to have full trophy cases like Texas A&M. “Tech gave me the freedom I needed to work and learn,” Hawkins said. “The knowledge of turning muscle into meat helped me easily adapt to product development.” Although many give Hawkins credit for developing the Slim Jim, he was not the product inventor. He was assigned the task of increasing Slim Jims production and efficiency so he re-designed the product and in-turn it became the national force it is today. “When I was assigned the project there was no money for advertising,” Hawkins said. “Improving efficiency freed up money for marketing and growth from $50 million to over $350 million in sales in a matter of 15 years. Slim Jim was an original sponsor of the X Games and an early sponsor of NASCAR and WWE.” The Department of Animal and Food Sciences graduate program coordinator, Leslie Thompson, Ph.D., said alumni and current students in the Tech program are set apart by their tremendous work ethic. “Our students are highly motivated, competitive and very intelligent,” Thompson said. “It’s a combination of efforts that makes them shine and we as faculty have the opportunity to learn from them too.” Entrance into the program is highly competitive. Only 65 students are enrolled in the department. In 2009 alone, 120 students applied for the program, with applications increasing dramatically in the last year. An addition of faculty has helped

increase the department’s growth potential because added faculty allow a greater number of students into the program. Tech is also set apart by the strong curriculum required for each degree. Students have the opportunity to select from more than 30 graduate courses, with each plan of study designed by the student and their committee to accomplish the student’s specific career goals. Students pursuing a doctorate or master’s of science degree develop a program of study and research project with appropriate selection of courses from numerous academic departments on campus. Master’s of agriculture students combine an internship with a research project for their program of study. In addition to the highly motivated and successful students of the program, the faculty continues to be the backbone, pushing their students to be the best they can be. “Our faculty develop close relationships with the students,” Thompson said. “They have high expectations and expect a lot out of their students, but I believe that’s part of the reason our students thrive after they leave here.” Other Tech alumni from the animal and food sciences department are credited with the development of products known nationwide including TCBY and a new blueberry sausage breakfast product being produced by SYSCO. Daniel Brackeen, developer of TCBY, obtained both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Tech. When he was looking at universities, he loved the Tech campus, loved the people, and did not even consider another school. When he came, he planned to study agriculture and earn a degree in agricultural education.

“Our faculty develop close relationships with the students. They have high expectations and expect a lot out of their students, but I believe that’s part of the reason our students thrive after they leave here.”

fall 2010 |


“I was challenged by the agriculture industry,” Brackeen said. “I felt like there was so much to learn and food and dairy really caught my interest.” After his first dairy science course, Brackeen began his first job on campus at the university’s creamery, where he obtained hands-on, practical experience. He said he fell in love with the process of making ice cream and then decided to major in dairy manufacturing. Brackeen reaped benefits from this hands-on experience when he took an internship with the Kroger Company the summer between his junior and senior years and after graduation when he worked for the Kroger milk and ice cream plant in Michigan. After serving two years in the Army and working with Knowlton’s Ice Cream in San Antonio, Brackeen worked with a specialty ice cream company in Dallas called Arthur’s Ice Cream Specialties, which he later purchased. While there Brackeen worked with Kroger then went on to work with Neiman Marcus to create frozen yogurt to sell in their food courts. As the boom for frozen yogurt grew, he developed what would soon become known as TCBY and it was first sold at a store in Arkansas. During his time spent at Tech, Brackeen felt he was part of a large family. He became close with his professors and they encouraged him to do his best. “My professors instilled a strong work ethic in us and challenged us to work hard and maintain good grades,” Brackeen said. “They got to know me and took an interest in my family. If I skipped class my parents knew about it.”

Alumna Jennifer Leheska, Ph.D., said during her time spent at Tech, the degree program required everyone to be hands-on, creating a family, which continues even after you leave Tech. “Even after I’m gone it still feels like home,” Leheska said. “Even though I’m not actively involved in the program anymore, I still have close contacts with my professors and those involved with my research.” Leheska, who received her doctorate degree from Tech, developed a blueberry sausage product that was recently purchased by SYSCO. The sausage patties, which have almost a full serving of fruit packed into each one, were intended for the school lunch program. Giving credit to her success, Leheska said it was her professors who supported her work. They were willing to work with her, as well as answer research questions and give everyday advice that helped her get to where she is today. “Tech has the people to help you be the best you can be,” Leheska said. “They have a passion and drive and want you achieve success in any direction or career you choose.” “The Texas Tech Animal and Food Science program strives for excellence in everything,” Leheska said. “There are endless opportunities for anyone who chooses to further their education here.” With a faculty dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and public service, the animal and food sciences graduate program equips students to be successful with a quality education and hands-on experience. A

“Tech has the people to help you be the best you can be. They have a passion and drive and want you achieve success in any direction or career you choose.”

28 | the agriculturist


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fall 2010 |


Awe-Inspiring Grace

Story and Photos by Rex Oliver

30 | the agriculturist


eople from all walks of life will probably experience were rear-ended while parked on the side of the highway, some sort of tragedy in their lifetime. Likewise, many causing an 18-car pileup. Once again, Sturgess was faced with people endure trying times that may seem too hard saying goodbye to yet another piece of her family. The average to handle. Cheryl Sturgess, a junior Human Development and person might find it tough to handle the things this young Family Studies/Pre-Medicine major from Tulia, Texas, is one of woman did. Although she experienced so much, Sturgess says those people. However, Sturgess’s story is far more touching and that optimism is her greatest attribute and that keeps her life altering. going every day. Sturgess grew up in an agricultural-based family—her “I realized that I am the only person that is going to take father was a self-employed cattleman and her mother was care of me,” Sturgess said. “I’m accountable for myself.” a veterinarian’s assistant. She has fond memories from her Sturgess also finds faith and the will to keep going childhood. Her dad loved to take her on horseback to work cattle. through her pride in her family. It is obvious that agriculture greatly impacted her life through “If I don’t do it and continue, I won’t survive,” Sturgess time spent with said. “I don’t her father. “I don’t have anyone to fall back on. It’s the harsh reality of the have anyone to One of the fall back on. great lessons It’s the harsh exact situation I’m in. If I lead a life of failures and mistakes, she learned was reality of the responsibility. people will just make excuses for me, and I didn’t want that.” exact situation She was taught I’m in. If I that there lead a life of would not be food on the table unless the work was done. “It failures and mistakes, people will just make excuses for me, wasn’t just an eight-to-five job,” Sturgess said. “It was sunrise-to- and I didn’t want that.” sunset, provide-for-your-family kind of job.” Agriculturist values While representing the recipients at an AT&T scholarship have been instilled in Sturgess’ life since adolescence. Her family banquet last fall, Sturgess shared her story with the group ended each day with a meal around the table and where each gathered. She gave a heartfelt speech, one that simply inspired member of the family knew the importance of working hard. strangers. Sturgess explained to them after going through the They simply survived on the products of a good work ethic. hardships she faced, she had two choices. Like most families, Sturges’s parents were the backbone of hers. “I had great parents,” Sturgess said. “They were great role models.” At 14, Sturgess’s life was rocked by a series of events that would catapult her into an adult life far sooner than she expected. In May of her 8th grade school year, weeks before her brother Brian graduated from high school, Sturgess’s mother suddenly passed away at home from what doctors would later determine to be a heart attack. As imagined, this left the Sturgess family in insurmountable grief. Sadly, the tragedy in the Sturgess family continued. In August of the same year, her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was soon discovered to be malignant melanoma. Four short months later, he also passed away, leaving Sturgess to be raised by her aunt. As if this was not enough turmoil for one person and family to handle, the tragedy unfortunately does not stop there. In April of the next year, while traveling back from a vacation in Arizona, Sturgess’s only living grandparents pulled over to the side of the road during a dust storm. Visibility was so low drivers could not see other cars on the road. Her grandparents fall 2010 |


She could live a life in shadows, of regret and bad choices, or she could prosper and reach her greatest potential. “I think a lot of how they would expect me to be if they were still here,” Sturgess said. Jan Irlbeck, a friend of the Sturgess family, said she knew the path Sturgess would choose. Irlbeck watched her grow up, serving as a friend, mentor and as a motherly figure in Sturgess’s life. “Sturgess didn’t grieve the same as someone else would,” Irlbeck said. “She grabbed the bull by the horns and continued to be successful, continued to disprove people’s assumptions.” Sturgess continued to do just that. She caught people by surprise and reached success, all while maintaining the ideals set forth by her parents and her agriculturalbased background. “I realize that things aren’t always going to go the way that you planned,” Sturgess said, “but sometimes you have to be optimistic and make changes for the better.”

After Sturgess told her remarkable story at the scholarship banquet, she had a new surprise in her life. Guy Bailey, Ph.D., president of Texas Tech University, was in attendance. Following the program, Bailey talked to Sturgess for a long time and offered to help. Monday morning, she got a call from Bailey’s office offering her an interview for an open student position in his office. “One of my greatest accomplishments is this job,” Sturgess said. “I never saw myself in this position and this job helps me pay my bills and go to school, but it will also help me with my future.” After she graduates from Tech, Sturgess plans to attend medical school to become a doctor. Many people find themselves lucky to even be in her presence, much less to be able to interact with her on a daily basis. This inspirational young woman, with humble beginnings in agriculture, will be touching the lives of many more people throughout her life, all of whom will be witnesses to her awe-inspiring strength and grace. A


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fall 2010 |


g n i n r u T


Story and Photos by Amy Dromgoole

To 34 | the agriculturist


While at Tech, she was There are many issues and Coast ports, rather than to the also a communications intern problems in agriculture the general Southeastern United States.” at Plains Cotton Cooperative public does not recognize. However, Like many former students in Association. In this position, three women have used their the College of Agricultural Sciences Shaw wrote articles for multiple expertise to solve some of and Natural Resources, all three publications. “My internship these problems. women were influenced into the at PCCA was what aided in me Three agricultural agricultural industry by their communications graduates have families and have implemented their getting my internship at the American Angus Association done just that. After Norma degrees into a career that spreads because I was one Johnson, Mary of the few interns Jane Buerkle and who had stories Shelby Shaw earned “A major role is to bring the right people published,” she said. their agricultural together in the same room so that “My internship there communications gave me so much more conversations can turn problems degrees from Texas than just experience, Tech University, to solutions.” it led to my job at they have gone on to the chamber and also display their passion lifelong friends.” for the industry while bettering agriculture outside of its normal Before moving back to the agricultural community in realm. Their story is in a large part Kansas in December 2009, and around the city of Lubbock as attributed to the background and she was the communications Chamber of Commerce journey these women have taken to director at the chamber. She staff members. get to where they are today. worked as the voice for the “A major role of the chamber Growing up in Meade, Kan., chamber and served on is to bring the right people Shaw was raised on a ranch, together in the same room so that showed livestock and was involved many committees. “Working with our members conversations can turn problems to in 4-H activities. and volunteers at the chamber solutions,” Johnson, Vice President She came to Tech to judge was a tremendous privilege,” she of Legislative Affairs, said. “I don’t livestock. However, she made said. “They are great people with know that I could have done the best of her experience and the biggest hearts and they want this without the background was involved in Block & Bridle, to continue to make Lubbock that I have.” Agricultural Communicators of thrive and grow. That is an “Having an agricultural Tomorrow, Agri-Techsans and awesome thing to be a part of.” background is a big advantage Collegiate 4-H, just to name a few. when you’re at a chamber in a city whose economy is so dependent on the ag industry,” Johnson said. “I can only compare it to maybe having an automotive industry background if you’re working for the Detroit Chamber.” “At first glance, transportation wouldn’t seem to have to do anything with agriculture, unless you’re familiar with the industry,” she said. “Because of my background, I knew that shipping and transportation were huge issues for Lubbock’s cotton industry, especially in big crop years and ever since the mid-1990s when the majority of our crop began (L-R)Mary Jane Buerkle, Eddie Smith (Chamber CEO and President) and Norma Johnson moving from Lubbock to West feature Lubbock’s finest commodities fall 2010 |


Overall she said she believes these three ladies work seamlessly together because of the bonds they created prior to their positions at the chamber. “We know each other’s habits, limits, and moods, plus we’ve been through life events together, which make you closer,” she said. “They’re like family to me – we just click.” Buerkle grew up in Rochester, Texas, and now serves as the vice president of communications. As the daughter of a peanut and cotton farmer, Buerkle understood farming was their way of life in her small town of 378. She began her quest to promote agriculture at Tech, after serving as an Agri-Techsan, National President of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and a Chancellor’s Ambassador. Through these activities she found her voice for agriculture and was able to relay her message to many influential people. During her time at Tech she also solidified her knowledge and love for agriculture while working for a newsroom clerk at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. After working in her position for two years, and after transitions were made at the newspaper, she became a part-time reporter on the agricultural beat and continued this throughout her master’s program at Tech until she was encouraged by Norma Johnson to apply for the job at the chamber in 2004 by. As vice president of business development, Buerkle was in charge of planning the annual Business Expo, The Hub City BBQ Cook-off, Chamber Golf Classic, Ag in the Classroom and all business seminars. She was also in charge of the Agriculture Committee, the Water Conservation Council and one of her favorite events—Ag in the Bag. Upon Shaw’s departure, Buerkle became vice president of communications. With this new position, she is now responsible

36 | the agriculturist

for media relations and all of the chamber’s publications including the monthly newsletter, “e-mail blasts” and an annual report. She still oversees all of the chamber’s agriculture-related committees and events. “I feel as though my degree allows me to better serve the agrelated committees and events at the chamber,” she said. “I already had so many connections through the college and in the community and region. Our staff is really close and we all share a common thread in that working at the chamber isn’t just another job— it’s a passion.” “I think we all have a good work ethic and want to excel -- not just personally, but as a chamber. We have such similar backgrounds and can relate to one another. I also think knowing each other before we all wound up at the chamber really helped as well. There’s a respect we all have for each other that really shows when we work closely together—we can completely be ourselves.” Another small town girl from Meadow, Texas, Johnson has also influenced the Hub City in ways that benefit the agricultural community. Like Buerkle and Shaw, she was also involved in agriculture as the daughter of a cotton classer and an active member of 4-H and FFA. “Being in 4-H and having friends throughout the district and later, the state, really allowed a smalltown girl to look beyond my small town,” she said. “I have gained some diverse experiences and enriching relationships, some of which are still alive today.” While at Tech, she remained involved in Collegiate 4-H and became active in Collegiate FFA, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Ag Council and the Agronomy Club. “Ag communications is truly one of those areas that can take you

Shelby Shaw Photo Courtesy of Lubbock Chamber of Commerce anywhere, and my degree certainly has,” she said. “I’ve been able to do everything so far in my career from going to Japan to teach their top chefs about grain sorghum for food use, to helping scout cotton fields for herbicide damage.” As the vice president of legislative affairs, she is responsible at the local, state and federal levels for issues management, grassroots political advocacy and government relations. She has a special focus on transportation, education reform, health care and of course, agricultural policy. She also serves as a liaison between the Lubbock business community and lawmakers at all levels of government. “I think there’s a common thread we’ve been able to weave in our work styles and work ethic that has been very influential, but we’re just a small part of a great team,” she said. “Also, I think we’ve held ourselves up to a pretty high standard, because our collective work has a spotlight on it for what agricultural communications majors can do in a non-agricultural setting.” A


fall 2010 |


Behind theGlobal Desk Going

s r e k A of

Story by Shylo Adams


e v o L

indy Akers, Ed.D., stepped out of Room 209 in the my brothers,” Akers said. “I wanted to find a job where I could agricultural education and communications building promote an industry I loved, so it was a perfect fit for me.” feeling slightly nauseous about her first class. Nothing had Akers graduated from Tech in 1991 with a Bachelor of prepared her for the 15-minute lecture she had given in her Science in Interdisciplinary Agriculture with an emphasis in debut as an instructor at Texas Tech University. This was in the agricultural communications. She had completed an internship fall of 1997, after Akers had accepted a position as an agricultural with the USDA Farm Service Agency and wanted to return to communications instructor. Little did she know that she would the agency. Unfortunately, they were in a hiring freeze. Akers make education part of her career. instead took a job with Livestock Market Digest, a bi-monthly Akers grew up in Estancia, N.M., and as part of the fourth magazine. Then the USDA Farm Service Agency contacted her generation in agriculture, she knew her calling in life would be and asked her to apply for a management training position. After in that direction. After high school graduation she joined the completing a year of training she served three years as director livestock judging in Lincoln and Otero team at Clarendon counties in New College in Clarendon, Mexico. Texas. It was on this A series of team she would meet changes including Sam Jackson, Ph.D. marriage, moving the livestock judging back to Texas, team coach, and Jerry accepting an Stockton, Chair of the instructor position at Agricultural Education Tech, and beginning and Communications graduate classes department. Together, reshaped her life. they encouraged her to Two more major in agricultural degrees and 13 years communications at later, Akers remains Tech. “As a female I at Tech. knew I wasn’t going Although she back to production was reluctant to leave Cindy Akers with husband, Steven, and daughters, Lauren andWrye. agriculture; that was for Photo courtesy of Sinklier Studios.

38 | the agriculturist



Behind the Desk

her USDA job, she now feels like one of the luckiest people in and tells me I have this application and they are an ag comm the world. student, I know them.” “I’m fortunate enough that I got into another job that I Currently Akers is enjoying her second year teaching the loved,” Akers said. “I didn’t realize how much I would love it.” introduction to agricultural communications. Today, Akers serves “You get to see the students as director of CASNR as they first come in and I try to “I enjoy meeting with the parents and Student Services, while she make them as excited about our prospective students and trying to get them discipline as I am,” Akers said. continues to teach and advise agricultural communications “That’s been fun. I think it’s a very excited about coming to Tech.” students. The main focus of important class and that they need CASNR Student Services to feel like part of a family.” is recruitment, retention and replacement for the college. They Akers does many things on campus, but she is also a wife do events throughout the year, including a series of receptions and mother. Steven, her husband, works for CEV Multimedia to meet with students, A Night with the Red Raiders, all across as a sales person. Together, they have two children, Lauren, 11, Texas. During these receptions, accepted students meet with and Wrye, 8. representatives from each college. Akers enjoys interacting with her students and developing “I enjoy meeting with the parents and prospective students relationships with them. She said advising, teaching and doing and trying to get them excited about coming to Tech,” Akers said. research all tie together and complement each other. All Akers said it is hard to choose her favorite experience at of those activities go towards developing the relationships Tech. She said advising is what she takes to heart the most. She that she values. Today, Akers has no problem filling up an likes that CASNR is small enough that she feels she knows the 80-minute class time, in fact she usually runs out of time. students more than just in the classroom. “I just feel fortunate to work at Tech and with the “Probably the thing I like the most about CASNR itself is students,” Akers said. “I love that part of my job, I really do.” AG that we are a small college and have the opportunity to know the students,” Akers said. “I feel like I know them, maybe not in their first month, but by the time they graduate. If someone calls

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••••••••••••• fall 2010 |


Behind theGlobal Desk Going

Keeping Up With

Alumni Relations

Story and Photos by


Keeli Willis

aking the final walk across the stage at the Texas Tech University commencement ceremony is not the end of being a Red Raider. Lindsey Overman, a Tech agricultural leadership graduate, understands the importance of staying connected with your alma mater after graduation. “Staying connected gives me lots of opportunities to reconnect with classmates,” Overman said. Overman depends on the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Development and Alumni Relations Department to keep her updated on the college’s changes and on any alumni events that are taking place. “From a business prospective, I want to know about any sponsorship or scholarship opportunities for people that I may know that want to go to Tech,” Overman said. The ladies working in the Development and Alumni Relations Department strive to keep the bonds made during college strong for the many years after. Memory Bennett, coordinator of alumni relations, hosts several events throughout the year specific to CASNR alumni needs and wants. In the midst of football season is one of the bigger events, Homecoming Breakfast. “I think it is a good time for the alumni to interact with the students,” Bennett said. Scheduled to take place Nov. 6, 2010, the Homecoming Breakfast draws more than 300 people. The breakfast is free; however, donations are excepted that go directly toward the Marvin J. Cepica Student Ag Council Scholarship and the General CASNR Scholarship Fund. Located at the same time and place every year, the carpet is rolled out at 8 a.m. in the Tech livestock arena. Any national championships won by any department will be unveiled and those team members are recognized.

40 | the agriculturist

Behind the Desk

Overman volunteered at the annual Homecoming much they are appreciated and how their investment in Breakfast during her college career. CASNR students and faculty is paying dividends. “It was a tradition for us to have to get up early and Piercy said she believes the best way they are able to set up,” Overman said smiling. “I thought that was a cool get more funds is by making people feel good about the gifts opportunity to give back to they have already given. our alumni who we knew “I’m amazed at how “It’s so crucial not only to the student, because there were supporting us.” powerful a student’s note Overman now attends can be,” Piercy said. “It’s is nothing better than learning gratitude, and Homecoming Breakfast so critical not only to the every year because she student, because there being sincerely grateful for all of your gifts.” knows it’s a great time to is nothing better than visit with old friends and learning gratitude, and network with people in the same field of study. being sincerely grateful for all of your gifts, but also from the Bennett invites every one to come and is excited to donors perspective.” see it grow every year. She said she hopes the attendance of “Knowing that they are investing in that type of student who younger alumni continues to increase, and is always glad to has very specific goals, but also willing to share how valuable a see everyone that attends. scholarship has been to them, is very important.” Jane Piercy, CASNR’s director of development and It is truly the philanthropic people that make her job so external relations, channels her energy toward building great, Piercy said. relationships with alumni that could potentially benefit the “I feel very privileged to meet the kind of people that college and current students. are our donors.There is nothing greater than a person who is “The critical aspect in my job is establishing philanthropic. It’s very inspirational,” Piercy said.“Most of relationships with people who might have an interest in the the time the people that are philanthropic are very grateful of programs that we have here,“ Piercy said. the gifts that have been given to them, and that’s why they want As director, Piercy keeps current donors aware of what to help someone else.” A G is going on with the college, makes sure they know how

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fall 2010 |


Cultivating Students’ Futures Story and Photo by Jake Grinnell

While attending college, you get the chance to meet National Landscape Architecture Honor Society and and develop relationships with professors that could the Texas Chapter of the ASLA (American Society quite possibly change your life. For Texas Tech students, of Landscape Architects). Kavanagh was also at the these opportunities are plentiful and the professors are forefront of developing designs for therapeutic eager and willing to help you out in any way possible. landscapes such as healing gardens, restorative Unfortunately, two years ago the university lost one of environments and green spaces. This research led to her its most inspiring and accomplished faculty members, being recognized during the Centennial ASLA Meeting Jean Kavanagh, to a battle with cancer. A memorial in Boston, Mass., where she was inducted into the scholarship fund has been set College of Fellowes of the ASLA. up to honor her dedication Current member of the ASLA “She was vivacious, funny, to her students, so she may and contributor to the Therapeutic smart as a whip, and had a continue to touch their lives Landscapes Network Blog, Naomi wonderful Molly Ivins-esque well into the future. Sachs, had this to say in response to Kavanagh was born in no-nonsense approach.” the loss of Kavanagh. Pittsburgh, Pa., and obtained “The first time I met Jean was a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture at a workshop on healing gardens in Portland, Ore. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1976. She then She was vivacious, funny, smart as a whip and had a continued on to Cornell University to attain a master’s wonderful Molly Ivins-esque, no-nonsense approach. in Landscape Architecture in 1982. She joined the She has been an important leader in the field of Tech faculty in 1990 as an associate professor in the landscape architecture and research-based design, and landscape architecture department. she will be missed.” Former student of Kavanagh’s, and landscape Kavanagh’s legacy will live on in its physical form architecture major, Zach Gilbert, said he remembers through her memorial scholarship, but her real legacy being impressed by her demeanor and professionalism. will exist through the memories she instilled in the “I remember going into the class for the first time students and faculty that had the opportunity to thinking that this class was going to be pretty hard to meet her.A G swallow,” Gilbert said, “but after being in the class for a little while, I quickly realized that Mrs. Kavanagh was going to make sure that we got the material.” Zach also said he was glad to see there was a scholarship being formed in her name. “When you meet a professor that actually cares about you learning the material and succeeding, it makes you see them as an actual person. You only want the best for them and I’m really glad that Mrs. Kavanagh will be remembered in this way.” Apart from teaching students, Kavanagh was also very active in the community and served as an officer in organizations such as the Horticultural Therapy Association, Sigma Alpha

42 | the agriculturist


10 Reasons

Why University Career Services Will Rock Your World Story and Photos by Samantha Jo Berry

At Texas Tech University you will receive a top-notch education, but that does not always mean finding a job will be easy. University Career Services is a service at Tech committed to ensuring that Red Raiders are prepared for the workforce. Staffed by several highly-qualified individuals, UCS deserves a list explaining why we love them so much.

10. Personality/Strength/Interest Testing. We already know you’re awesome, but having proof never hurts UCS offers StrenghtsQuest™ testing, Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, and several more!


Mock Interviews. Have you ever been stumped by the “tell me your weakness” question? The experts at UCS can help you field that question and others like the champ that you are.

8. Career Development Seminars. You can learn everything from starting your own business to what to wear to make that great first impression. How about some salary negotiation tips? Show me the money!

7. RaiderJobs. College is fun and no one wants to leave, but the time will come when you must. This online job search tool is the perfect solution to that dilemma. New full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and internships are uploaded daily. Mom and Dad can rest at night knowing UCS has your back.


Location. UCS is located on-campus! Plus, they’re in the same building as the newest eating location. How about some Chick-fil-A and then a little career development? That’s a yes!

5. College liaisons. UCS has career liaisons designated for each college to help the students and faculty with any professional and career development needs. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has its very own. His name is Jared Lay, and he’s pretty much the coolest thing since the Internet.

4. Résumé development and critiques. Anyone can put on a suit, but

who looks the best on paper? Oh yeah, that would be a Red Raider! The staff members at UCS are experts on what employers want to see on a résumé and can help yours be the best it can be.

3. Etiquette Dinners. Which fork do I use? What do I do with this napkin? UCS has all the answers and then some.


Raider Mentor Network. A new program, RMN is a database of Tech alumni who have volunteered to help current students with career development issues. Students are paired with mentors that share a similar career or interests. It’s a great way to network and get some help from people who have walked a mile in your shoes.


It’s FREE! UCS is completely free, which is always a good thing. A good word to describe UCS and its employees? Priceless.

fall 2010 |


Innovative Minds

Getting the Most Out of Your BEEF W

Story and Photos by Kelli Chapman

hen buying beef, consumers look for a bright red color and mild odor to indicate freshness. If packers and retailers can prolong this vibrant color, much less beef will be wasted, and the beef industry can be more profitable. The growth of bacteria in ground beef directly affects these quality indicators that consumers use on a daily basis. Texas Tech University prides itself on innovative research. Texas Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence (ICFIE) and Department of Animal and Food Sciences have been working together to address this challenge. The pathogen processing lab in the

44 | the agriculturist

food technology building has been a key factor in achieving numerous research projects. To maximize research success, as well as product quality and safety, this processing lab has been duplicated as closely as possible to the meat lab. One major project that is currently on the edge of success is increasing shelf life of perishable foods – particularly, ground beef. Alejandro Echeverry, post doctoral research associate and Tech alumnus, works closely with food science professor Mindy Brashears, Ph.D., and 15 animal and food science graduate students in researching ways to increase the shelf life of ground beef. This research began in 2002 and focused on controlling pathogens

related to various foodborne illnesses. Echeverry’s goal is to reduce the levels of harmful bacteria that spoil beef to increase the safety of the beef for consumption, and allow grocery stores and supermarkets to carry the products longer. Echeverry said he thinks he and his team have found a way to increase the shelf-life of ground beef by three to four days, and those extra days can greatly benefit the beef industry. He said two main factors help accomplish this shelf-life extension: lactic acid bacteria and modified atmospheric packaging. Lactic acid bacteria, or LAB, is a bacteria compound naturally found in many living organisms including yogurt, cheese and other probiotics. Echeverry’s study found that when certain useful strands found in LAB are applied to ground beef, the growth of harmful pathogens that cause food to spoil slows. As LAB controls pathogen growth in ground beef, shelflife is increased. This same concept can be applied in prolonging the shelf life of various vegetables as well. When injecting the LAB, the Tech researchers have discovered the precise amount of LAB needed to control pathogen growth; however, the researchers have also discovered that it is not necessarily harmful if too much LAB is added. Because LAB cannot be overadministered in ground beef, virtually any amount of LAB added to ground beef is safe to consume. Still, as effective as it is in maintaining a desired color and flavor for an extended period of time, LAB doesn’t make ground

Any residual air is vacuumed out of the package and is replaced with an alternative gas combination. This gas combination is usually comprised of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. “It’s all about how you package it,” Echeverry conveyed as he explained the variations of shelf life strictly due to packaging methods. Vacuum packaged beef that is boxed and ground in the grocery store will last an average of 35 days while other case ready ground beef has an average shelf life of 10 days. The project’s results have shown that when air is extracted, and a modified atmosphere of gases is added, this also will increase the shelf life of ground beef. Carbon dioxide is added to this innovative packaging procedure and the

desired cherry-red color is prolonged; Tech researchers are working to find the level where maximum freshness can be achieved, but spoiled beef can still be recognizable by the consumer once expiration of the meat has surpassed. In addition to finding solutions in increasing shelf life of ground beef, The Department of Animal and Food Sciences is continually working to better the food industry and make our goods as efficient as possible.A

Innovative Minds

beef completely non-perishable. If ground beef containing LAB is not refrigerated at less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, LAB can have the opposite effect on meat and cause the ground beef to spoil faster. Studies involving LAB have been previously used in other Tech research projects, particularly related to fighting the growth of salmonella and E. coli. Only later did this Tech research team discover that controlling pathogen growth was directly related to preventing this harmful bacteria growth, as well as increasing the shelf life of ground beef. Another major factor in the study relates to the packaging of the ground beef. Since most of the ground beef consumers see is sealed using modified atmospheric packaging, or MAP, Tech researchers have based their research on the use of this packaging to mimic the industry’s conditions as close as possible. The type of packages holds the ground beef in a rigid plastic tray with an absorbant pad under the beef.


fall 2010 |


Innovative Minds

Sustainability on the

High Plains

Story and Photo by Hardy Elkins


wight D. Eisenhower once said farming is easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles from the corn field. In essence, the decorated 34th president of the United States was implying that a man must walk in the shoes of the farmer in order to truly understand the challenges of production agriculture. For more than a decade, Phillip Johnson walked in those shoes with his father through their family’s Friona, Texas corn field. Twenty years later Johnson has replaced his plow with a pencil, but he is still standing in the middle of the field ready to take on one of the greatest challenges of all: the conservation of water in the South Plains. Johnson, Ph.D., grew up in West Texas as the son of a banker who instilled in him a passion for farming. After graduating high school, Johnson attended Texas Tech University where he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics. Johnson went to work as an area economist for the Texas Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service in Fort Stockton before returning to Friona to farm with his father throughout the mid 1970’s and 1980’s. In 1990 he returned to Tech after more than a decade of farming to pursue his Ph.D. Johnson’s interest in finance and the experiences on his own family farm drove him to focus his doctoral research on the Conservation Reserve Program, one of the most noticeable provisions in both the 1985 and 1990 farm bills. Now as a professor and advisor in the department, Johnson has focused his current research on the financial implications of conservation policies on different levels of the farming economy in the Texas High Plains. In September of 2004, the Texas Water Development

46 | the agriculturist

Board funded a project titled the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation. The eight-year project, which was spearheaded at Tech by Vivien Allen, Ph.D., and Eduardo Segarra, Ph.D., was created in response to the need to study and demonstrate water conservation methods to meet the water planning goals that the Texas legistlature implemented. Johnson was asked to join the project and with the help of Jeff Johnson, Ph.D., a former graduate student of his and current Associate Director of the CASNR Water Center, the team moved forward with its modeling research. “Dr. Eduardo Segarra was a major advisor to me and my early water modeling research,” Johnson said. “But it’s definitely a departmental effort and not one person is really more important than the next. I am just one of many people involved.” Segarra said Johnson’s background in production agriculture, his experience in the region and his knowledge in the field of finance made him a perfect fit for the project. “If there was ever anybody that was poised to truly be objective about an issue such as the availability of water in this region it would be Dr. Johnson,” Segarra said. The project analyzes the economic impact of different conservation and management policies on both the county level and individual farm levels. The water policy team, which includes former doctoral students Justin Weinheimer, Ph.D., Erin Wheeler-Cook, Ph.D., and many other individuals, accounts for these policies in their policy models and analyzes different possible options to reduce depletion of the aquifer while maintaining the highest possible profitability for the farmer. “This project would not be where it is without the help of



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Innovative Minds

Erin and Justin,” said Johnson, “They actually go out and do the Johnson said the most common water policy being work and they deserve a lot of the credit.” considered by agencies in the region is known as the 50/50 Johnson said the reality of restricting water usage by farmers policy. In short, the policy states that at least 50 percent of the in the region is inevitable one way or the other. current underground saturated thickness below the surface must “Mother Nature will restrict water availability eventually,” still be present 50 years from now. Johnson said. “Whether by restriction from nature or by In order to help farmers prepare to adapt to such a policy, implementation of policy, this is a reality we will face in the team is continuing to study the best way to allocate water the future.” to meet conservation Not only does the study requirements and maintain “Mother Nature will restrict water economic viability. analyze the financial impact of a policy, it also examines “Ultimately, it is the availability eventually, whether by farmer how the policy affects water who has to adapt to levels in the aquifer in whatever policy is put in place,” restriction from nature or by different regions. Johnson said. “We are just Weinheimer’s implementation of policy, this is a trying to put the tools together dissertation research, which to assist the producers.” became a critical aspect of the The significance of the reality we will face in the future.” project, incorporates a tworesearch will be even greater in step approach to interpret how an individual farmer’s response the southern counties of the Texas High Plains where water levels decisions to possible policies impacts their farm financially. Some in the Ogallala Aquifer are lower. Now more than ever, farmer’s of the variables considered in the study included more efficient will need to utilize their water resource as efficiently as possible. crop selection, adopting dryland farming techniques and modified “Anytime you restrict a resource like water it is going to irrigation scheduling in order to yield the most profitable crop have an impact on profitability,” Johnson said. “Sustainability is per acre. ultimately the most important goal to us.” A

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Competitive Edge

Striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence Story by Hardy Elkins

The 2009 National Championship Team set a school record for most wins in a season with six. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Mark Miller.


ince the university’s establishment in 1923, the agricultural sciences have been a part of the foundation and a major focus of research at Texas Tech. Meat science, which is studied within the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, is one of several CASNR programs that has uniquely exceeded all expectations to become a national model in its field. The motto of the meat science program is, “Striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence.” According to the current coach Mark Miller, Ph.D., the phrase coined more than two decades ago by Gordon W. Davis, defines everything the program intends to accomplish. Miller was an undergraduate member of Davis’ first team in 1981. Since becoming head coach in 1990, Miller has been instrumental in developing the meat judging program at Tech into one of the most successful organizations on campus, as well as a national powerhouse. The 2009 team earned the national championship title at the American Meat Science Association’s International Meat Judging contest last fall and with six wins, tied a record for most wins in a season and set a school record. “A winning tradition definitely gives you a leg up when it comes to recruitment,” Miller said, “but it’s about more than just winning around here.”

50 | the agriculturist

Miller said he likes for students to want to become a part of the meat judging team at Tech not only because they want to be winners in the judging arena, but also are determined to commit to the program’s philosophy. “The wins are great, sure,” Miller said, “but it’s definitely not the most important objective we try to teach our kids.” He tries to instill the idea that serving others always has a greater personal return than focusing merely on what you want yourself. Team members are encouraged to consider how they can better help their fellow man before focusing on themselves. “The experience the students have while on this team will change their lives, and they will be better husbands, better wives and better people as they learn to work with others in a positive way,” Miller said. Miller’s emphasis on selflessness and serving others has not only resulted in the crowning of national championships, but the production of countless quality individuals who continue to raise the bar in their respected fields after graduating from Tech. “At the end of the day,” Miller said, “you would hope that a student would walk out of here and their parents will know with confidence, that their child was a part of something that will give them the opportunity to be a successful person the rest of their life.” A


A Competitive Edge

50th Annual National Collegiate Soils Contest

GETS DIRTY! Story and Photos by Trevor Schafer


ast spring, Texas Tech University, along with the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Resource Conservation Service, had the honor of hosting the National Collegiate Soils Judging Contest in Lubbock. This year marked a special occasion for the event as it was the 50th annual contest where individuals and teams judge and classify soils. Nearly two dozen collegiate teams qualified, many of which were land grant universities. From Rhode Island to Oregon, students came to compete in the event from which took place March 2126.Wayne Hudnall, Ph.D., professor in the plant and soils science department, said in order to compete in the national contest, soil (Top)Teams came from judging teams must place first, second or third in their universities across the country to compete in the individual and regional contest. team competition. This year’s contest also (Right) Teams took time to featured a special program practice the day before the by B. L. Allen, Ph.D., who helped establish the National competition started. Collegiate Soils Judging Contest and was in attendance at the first contest. One drawback of this year’s event was the eligibility restrictions for Tech. Due to Tech playing host to the contest, they were not allowed to compete, but rather used the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming season. After arriving in Lubbock, teams spent the first four days practicing on soil pits and getting acquainted with team

members from other colleges until the contest was finally ready to get underway. The individual contest took place on March 25 as each competitor took turns rotating through a series of pits and filling out scorecards. The next day, each team of four then collectively evaluated two pits that would decide the winners of the National Championship. The scorecards were then evaluated by state soil scientists from the USDA, and once both the individual and team scores were tabulated, and the scores were combined to determine the winner. In the end, the overall National Collegiate Champion team was Virginia Tech, whose coach is an alumni of Texas Tech. Wisconsin Platteville won the team competition and Jullian Phillips of the University of Rhode Island was the high individual. Although the Tech soils judging team was unable to compete in this year’s national contest, Hudnall said the team will get their opportunity this fall as they will compete in the regional contest and hopefully clench first, second or third place to advance to the 51st annual contest to be held at Oregon State University in 2011. A G

fall 2010 |


Competitive Edge

Winning Tradition Story and Photos by Brooke Parkey

Left to Right:This years championship team, Heath Reeves, Ward McCown, Justin Cave


Since the team is unaware of the questions that will be asked very championship team has an inspiration for during competition they do very little studying. Success comes competing and Texas Tech’s agronomy team is no exception. It’s the third year in a row for the Red Raiders to take from Bednarz’ team being upperclassman who have taken the classes and have a solid base of knowledge. the national title and bring home another championship to the “If you ask Bednarz what his secret is to drilling his man behind the scenes, Craig Bednarz, Ph.D. team, he’ll tell you that he really Bednarz, a professor of crop doesn’t do that,” Thomas Thompson, physiology in The Department of Ph.D., department chair and professor Plant and Soil Sciences, has been of plant and soil science said. “Having the leader and inspiration behind won three national championships it is the agronomy team for the last four no fluke. It’s the real deal.” years. His enthusiasm for the contest Bednarz’s stress-free attitude is and laid-back attitude has created a what keeps the team relaxed and the winning tradition, and produced teams competition fun. “Some of the other that are known for dominating the schools are really serious about the competition. competition and spend the whole “He’s really the inspiration trip studying. We keep it fun and then behind the team,” said Heath Reeves, beat everybody else when it counts,” a senior from Cotton Center. “The Reeves said. enthusiasm he has for this competition However, the agronomy team is not is incredible.” lacking in advice. Before the competition This year’s competition was held This years championship trophy and buckle. this year, Bednarz told his team to loosen in Pittsburgh, Pa., and hosted more up and have a good time. “He gives good advice,” Reeves said. His than 20 teams from across the nation. Participants competed in favorite piece being, “If you’re gonna burn your candle at both oral and poster presentation events, as well as the Quiz Bowl. ends, you’re gonna burn your fingers.” A Every year competing schools are given the opportunity to G submit 10 new questions for the event; five soils based, and five general agronomics.

52 | the agriculturist


n 1998, the American Quarter Horse Association began a grant program for what is now known as the International Horsemanship Camps in order to foster international relations and promote the American Quarter Horse. These camps are dedicated to creating better horsemen by building a solid foundation upon which any type of equine discipline, whether Western or English, can be built. The international camps, sanctioned by AQHA, are sponsored by selected countries and conducted by a small number of chosen American universities. These camps unite the Eastern and Western hemispheres by bringing together American universities and host countries to share in both equine knowledge and cultural differences. Due to their renowned ranch horse program and their past performances abroad, the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team was again selected to conduct clinics during the summer of 2010. Having delved into the international realm of the equine industry during the summer of 2005, this marked the ranch horse team’s fifth consecutive year to travel overseas and instruct at the camps. Robin Morris, a member of the first instructor team from Tech, said traveling outside the U.S. for the first time opened doors to the rest of the equine industry and allowed her to see

A Competitive Edge

Overseas with the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team

Story and Photo by Alicia Daugherty

the many differences, yet the many similarities between Europe and the U.S. “Horses create a similar interest between people of different backgrounds,” Morris said, “and they help eliminate language barriers.” Morris, who graduated from Tech with a bachelor’s degree in range management in 2007, is now the New Mexico State University women’s equestrian team assistant coach. She said her experiences abroad helped prepare her for her coaching position at the NCAA level. “Teaching internationally really helps you relate with people and work on your communication skills, especially because of the language barrier,” Morris said. “You often have to come up with different ways to say the same thing because certain meanings can be lost in translation.” Levi Williamson, the Tech ranch horse team coach, said he feels the Tech students he selected to instruct were able to individualize the Tech program, specializing their teaching to the camp participants’ interests, all while building a strong horsemanship foundation. “We as a team try to interact with the participants of the clinic,” Williamson said. “We try to get on a more personal level, so the participants get the most out of the camps.” A G

The 2009 Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team instructors with the camp participants inVienna, Austria. Sitting on the bench from left to right are instructors Alicia Daugherty, Jennifer Richards, Lindsey Bruton and Zack Burson. fall 2010 |


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nally o i t a n e th issue of t s e e t a l this st. Onc i y r o u j t l n u e c l i ou wil The Agr f o n know y o i I t al of the blica r u e p v e e s g e o l t ed zed col ttention ve help a a r h u t a o recogni h y t g alumni e callin r d a n a e y w t l u again ents, fac d u t al s e. g in t nation t colleg e a s e r o g t outstand a e continu CASNR s g m n a i e k t a won by in m dging s u j p i t h n s e n d e io Our stu bring th t champ s w e t o a n l e y fact, th gronom e n a I d . n s a d r e c 82! On n o e t reco i c s s p i l a sh in anim pport On ampion s u h t . s c n e s l e u a u d s n s o u i t s tio tremend d in this e er of na e t h b t h t m g i u u l o n h ll find it b g i a i w h g s n u i i o record t d y a n I think plishme enjoy re d l n m l i a o es and c w � l , c r b a u e a o t h h t y c c a u n k s M n eam, Lu ry Day r de, I thi e i c s v e i E c n i g m n Y i the alu y “Mak ed TCB t b n e e g v e n l i l i tanding o s n c t r u m u o u l o r a u n r o u give veral of one of o e t s a o h t t n g in arch and entio e t t s a e r r interest , u g o n to call y e teachi n . h h s t s i m o i t w J s o n attentio ls o r i a t u Slim u e o b y w i r l t e l n a this issu rous co east, I c e l n I t m o n ideal u a n n h t t e u s d b s a t e s l m a d under . And l ho have e e r w g e e v l y l t e l o s u r c fac have pe s of our o n h o i s w s s i t small n m e y e r d c e i u t v v s r a e o r s . sue offe ses of tw s s i e s c i ndeavor c h e t u l s n a i e n h o d t i e t to contain ic educa . s s e m e l a c c i n n t y r a t a d circums d other rful and n e a d s n e l o fi w a The pro ASNR C s e k a what m f o ly, e s p glim Sincere

AGtheagriculturist Department of Agricultural Education & Communications Texas Tech University P.O. Box 42131 Lubbock, Texas 79409-2131


The Agriculturist Fall 2010  

student-produced magazine by students majoring in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University

The Agriculturist Fall 2010  

student-produced magazine by students majoring in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University