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Cowboy Journal

Editors Kristin Alsup & Lindy Wiggins Graphics Coordinator Shane Vietzke Photography Coordinators Colin Lowe & Katy Sokolosky Sponsorship Coordinators Jennifer Fisher & Natasha Rodgers Circulation Coordinator Amy Brown Staff Sarah Bates, Elizabeth Golliver, Holly Hiebert, Melissa Korrey, Grant Leatherwood, Sarah Osborn & John-Kyle Truitt Managing Editor Shelly Peper Sitton Assistant Managing Editors Cindy Blackwell & Dwayne Cartmell Contributing Photographers Mitch Alcala, Edmond Bonjour, Boone Clemmons, Kayla Hines, Sean Hubbard, Todd Johnson, Rafael Mendez & Derrell Peel Photo (left) Elaine Stebler, NREM research specialist, checks rain gauges for a redcedar experiment during her research. Photo by Katy Sokolosky Photo (right) Levi, Lincoln, Luke & Taylor Muller show the boer goats they raise on their family farm. Photo by Natasha Rodgers Cover Sericea lespedeza invades native pasture and can have a detrimental impact on the grass population. Photo by Lindy Wiggins

2 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with the titleVI andVII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended,Title IX of the EducationAmendments of 1972,Americans with DisabilitiesAct of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures.This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services.Title IX of the Education Amendments and Oklahoma State University policy prohibit discrimination in the provision or services or benefits offered by the university based on gender. Any person (student, faculty or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations ofTitle IX with OSU’sTitle IX coordinator: the Director ofAffirmative Action, 408Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74078, 405-744-5371 or 405-744-5576 (fax).This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the associate dean of the College ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, was printed at no cost to the taxpayers of Oklahoma.


Letter from the editors

We are proud to serve as the editors for this issue of the Cowboy Journal and honored to have the chance to work with the talented and dedicated staff. This semester has been fun as well as rewarding for us, and we would like to thank Shelly Sitton and the entire staff for creating such an outstanding magazine. As this issue of Cowboy Journal began to take on a life of its own, a theme emerged from our work. This issue illustrates the people of Oklahoma State University using their passions for agriculture to change the world. It is our passion to share their stories with you in hopes of extending the inspiration. Many different people shouldered the responsibility of teaching us the skills we needed to finish this project. We would like to dedicate this issue to two of these individuals. Cindy Blackwell and Tanner Robertson may leave Stillwater, but they will remain to us, their students, forever a part of OSU. — Kristin Alsup & Lindy Wiggins

Summer/Fall 2011

36 40 42

A Soluble Solution

Creating a Field Day in Your Living Room


More than Tractors and Tools

To the Rescue


Running with a Purpose


Green Thumbs Grow Minds

54 56

Cowboy Excellence

6 10 14

Come Rain or Shine

18 21 24 27 30 34

Stocking Up Helping Hands for Hire

Trekkin’ Mexico Lasting Impressions Eat. Grow. Lead. Discovering Tiny Answers

A Winning Ring Oklahoma’s Wicked Weeds

CASNR Alumni News cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 5

Luke (left), Taylor, Matt, Kellie, Levi, Lincoln and Lady Muller look across their land with faith the next growing season will bring a fruitful outcome. 6 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Rodgers

blanket of rain falls from the sky, quenching the thirst of the golden wheat fields. A fresh smell lingers in the air, leaving it moist and heavy. As the rain bathes the land, the Mullers hope it will never end. While some people consider rain a nuisance, most farmers, like the Mullers, see it as a luxury. Rain means healthy crops and the reassurance their products will be nourished, providing the fruits of their labors. For this family, however, the rain also has provided a different type of success, a national success. A 1993 Oklahoma State University plant and soil sciences alumnus, Matt Muller now manages nearly 2,000 acres throughout Jackson County in southwestern Oklahoma. He, his wife, Kellie, and their four children — Taylor, 14; Levi, 13; Luke, 12; and Lincoln, 9 — produce cotton, wheat, grain sorghum, grass hay and peanuts. Matt’s agricultural experiences began in his youth and continued into adulthood. Matt earned a National FFA fiber crop proficiency award and the American FFA Degree. While at OSU, Matt was active in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources as the president of Agricultural Student Council as well as vice president of scholarship and chaplain of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. “I never felt like a number at OSU,” Matt said. For the success the Mullers have had in their farming operation, they received the 2005 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Award. Little did the Mullers know they were on their way to gaining national agricultural recognition. In January 2006, the Mullers represented Oklahoma and won the American Farm Bureau Young

Farmers and Ranchers Award at the 87th annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nashville, Tenn., making them the first Oklahoma family to win the award. “I was very humbled,” Matt said. “Kellie and I were both raised on small farms, and our farm today is only midsized. When we got to the national competition, I was just hoping to make the top 10 and get an interview.” Both the AFB and OFB Young Farmers and Ranchers awards recognize young farmers or farm families that have excelled in farming operations and displayed exceptional leadership abilities. Sam Knipp, OFB vice president of corporate communications and public communications, said receiving the award is an honor. Receiving the award means AFB considers you the top young farmer in the country, he said. “The Mullers are a traditional, hardworking farm family that stresses oldfashioned values,” Knipp said. “Everyone in that family has a job, and they know and understand their responsibilities.” Working cotton harvest to hay season as well as taking care of their own small herd of boer goats, the Muller children contribute their time to fulfill their duties on the farm. “I like to take care of our goat herd by trimming hooves, ear-tagging, worming and bottle feeding the orphans,” Taylor said. She said during cotton and wheat harvest, she likes to help her mom cook meals for the men. “During school, academics come first,” Matt said. “Beyond that, they are required to help out on the farm.” Matt said from July to September, he, Kellie and their children spend much of their time managing their irrigated fields. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 7

Only God sends the rain and holds back the hail. — Matt Muller For Matt and his family, prioritizing wants and needs are important when facing life’s struggles. While Matt attributes much of his success to his education at OSU, he said it is God, family and his supportive friends who deserve the “real credit.” “God gives and takes away,” he said. “In Southwest Oklahoma, we have dry, harsh growing conditions. Only God sends the rain and holds back the hail.” Matt and Kellie credit their parents, Phillip and Laverne Muller and Gary and Marjorie White, for “raising us right and teaching us the basics of farming.” “They taught both of us the value of hard work, delayed gratification, how to gain respect, and how to live within our means,” Matt said. Nothing comes cheap and easy in farming, Matt said. Every day has struggles and stress. In fact, some stresses are less expected than the dry conditions. Less than a month after the high of winning the national AFB award, life took a downward turn for the Mullers. The family learned Kellie had Stage III breast cancer. “Our struggles are no different than other families, but being told your wife

has cancer makes a lot of headaches seem small and insignificant,” Matt said. Now a cancer survivor, Kellie said she is living proof God works miracles. She has been cancer-free for almost five years. “It is amazing how having a horrible disease brings people to you who have gone through similar situations,” Kellie said. “It also makes you look at life differently and appreciate what you do.” It makes one proud to raise the crops that help to clothe and to feed America, Kellie said. While the Mullers faced emotional struggles, they also faced everyday challenges: maintaining finances, fighting weather conditions, and adjusting to the shifting markets. “They are a tough family that believes in perseverance,” Knipp said. “They work through tough times and survive through difficult times with their strong faith and work ethic.” Knipp said good recordkeeping and management skills, being fiscally conservative, and working hard are traits necessary to have a successful farming operation today. “You only receive a couple of checks a year,” Kellie said. “Therefore, budget-

ing finances is hard, especially for young farmers, but can be done.” Farming is a complete lifestyle, not just a job, Kellie said. As the average age of farmers increases, those in production agriculture have a responsibility, Matt said. “Stand up and speak out,” Matt said. “It is frightening how few voices there will be left in production agriculture 10 years from now.” The Mullers said they believe having success in farming comes at a price for younger generations in agriculture. Becoming involved and developing a voice for agriculture will help educate the American population, Matt said. “The American population has left the farm and become ignorant of how and why we feed and clothe them while protecting the environment,” Matt said. “We must spend time and resources educating them and our legislators.” Matt and Kellie’s goals are to encourage and develop their children into hardworking, responsible, Christian adults with hopes they will be involved in Oklahoma agriculture. “I’ve been blessed and accomplished more than I ever dreamed,” Matt said. “Literally hundreds of people across this state have had a part in it. However, the involvement in Farm Bureau and cooperation with great institutions like OSU will equip and serve me well to the end.” As the rain bathes the world, it is an answered prayer for the Mullers, a prayer defining the success of a farmer. “People still talk about Matt’s speech when they won the award,” Knipp said. “When one of the judges asked him the key to his success that year, he simply answered, ‘It rained.’” • Natasha Rodgers

Levi (left), Kellie, Matt, Taylor, Lincoln and Luke (front) won this Dodge truck at the 2006 national AFB convention. 8 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Rodgers

is an agricultural communications senior from Tecumseh, Okla. She plans to use her degree to pursue a career in event planning and public relations.



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Cattle producers save money on feeding costs

Verlin Hart, an Oklahoma cattle producer, watches over his cattle on a bermudagrass pasture. Bermudagrass is widely used in stockpiling operations.


n Oklahoma, summer days can be spent cutting and baling hay for the upcoming winter season. However, Oklahoma State University has developed a forage management method to help change this cycle. Feeding hay for four months could cost from $75 to more than $200 per cow, according to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Stockpiling forage is an option to reduce feeding costs during the winter. Stockpiled forage is grass allowed to accumulate in the pasture for grazing during the winter months. “The general misperception of stockpiling is we are trying to look for a way to completely eliminate hay feeding,” said

10 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Daren Redfearn, OSU extension forage management specialist. “We are not trying to look for a way to eliminate it. We are trying to look for a way to reduce it.” OSU wanted to determine how far into the winter the stockpiled forage would last before feeding hay became necessary, said David Lalman, OSU beef extension specialist. “OSU’s Cattle and Forage Initiative Team decided we needed to try to reduce the length of the hay feeding season to help people make more money,” Lalman said. “The team suggested ideas on how to shorten the hay feeding season. One idea was to extend the quality and availability of bermudagrass.”

Lalman’s research on stockpiling bermudagrass and tall fescue began in 2000. Fieldwork on native range stockpiling began in the late ’70s and early ’80s. “A question from a county extension educator in Adair County got me interested in pursuing the potential for stockpiling bermudagrass for winter grazing,” said Bob Woods, former OCES northeast area extension agronomy specialist. “I started my small plot trials in 1996, and with help from the Eastern Research Station and the animal science department, grazing trials were conducted at the Eastern Research Station in Haskell and on animal science property near Stillwater,” Woods said.

photo Golliver

With the help of the Noble Foundation, the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the OCES, OSU created small-plot research areas and whole farm demonstrations. Numerous research projects and demonstrations were concentrated in eastern Oklahoma. Stockpiling can be used all around the state; however, it is more successful in eastern Oklahoma because of the higher rainfall amounts, Redfearn said. Stockpiled forage requires adequate rainfall to be successful. Eastern Oklahoma served as a great place to conduct research on stockpiled forage because of the amount of rainfall it receives. In addition, eastern Oklahoma cattle producers

rely primarily on bermudagrass, tall fescue or a combination of these grasses for their forage, Woods said. Woods’ small plots tested the use of fertilizer on tall fescue and bermudagrass to see how much growth would accumulate. The next step was to study the utilization of the forage, including its nutrient value. After some promising results, the research moved into the demonstration phase where producers could implement it, Redfearn said. OSU animal scientists used the research to study the performance of the cattle. They also tried to create supplements for stockpiled forage. “OSU’s research on stockpiling helps

animal scientists measure the performance of cows, stocker cattle and weaned calves grazing stockpiled forage,” Lalman said. “Recently, OSU has been trying to refine feed supplements for stockpiling.” The research showed some surprising results on how stockpiling forage can reduce winter-feeding costs for cattle producers, Redfearn said. According to the OCES, stockpiled forage produced approximately 3,000 pounds of forage per acre before growth stopped. Unfertilized pasture will provide approximately 2,000 pounds per acre. “We know that grass responds to nitrogen fertilizer,” Redfearn said. “So, we can produce some very high-quality forcowboyjournal.okstate.edu 11

We need to be striving to make the cow do her own harvesting. — Bob Woods age, not harvest it for hay, and use it during a period of the year that a lot of things are not actively growing.” On average, one acre of stockpiled grass would provide grazing for one cow for approximately two months. The cost of hay feeding alone is approximately double the cost of using short-term grazing of stockpiled grass, Lalman said. “Native grass will be 3 percent protein,” Lalman said. “Stockpiled forage will be approximately 11 to 12 percent protein. It is high enough that cows will not need a protein supplement.” Each month feeding hay is reduced saves $20 per cow. The higher nutritive value of late summer fertilized bermudagrass means less supplementation for an additional savings, Woods said. The benefits of stockpiling forage are reducing the hay-feeding season, reducing winter feeding costs, and improving the quality of the forage, according to the OCES. The only cost associated with growing stockpiled forages is the fertilizer cost and its application cost. “We need to relearn some lessons that used to be a lot more common than they are today,” Woods said. “We need to be striving to make the cow do her own harvesting. The cow was designed to harvest her own forage anyway.” The research showed the two biggest disadvantages to stockpiling forages are the fertilizer cost and the amount of rainfall. Proper stocking rates and pasture management are an integral part of stockpiling. Stockpiling forages has more risks than feeding hay because the success depends entirely on rainfall, Redfearn said. “The fall weather last year demonstrated the biggest disadvantage to stockpiling because of the lack of precipitation,” Redfearn said. “No moisture, no fertilizer and too many cattle equal no growth. You have to have a well-defined 12 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

forage management system in place. It takes a higher level of management for stockpiling to be successful.” After collecting data at the 10 driest research sites, results showed fertilizing with nitrogen in August still increased tall fescue production by more than 800 pounds per acre. If it is too dry in the fall, the applied nitrogen will still be available for tall fescue pastures the following spring. Bermudagrass can be grazed from October to the end of December. Tall fescue can be grazed from late December to the end of February, Redfearn said. “Bermudagrass and tall fescue both work well in stockpiled forage systems,” Redfearn said. “However, tall fescue has the ability to delay grazing because it is a cool-season forage.” Today, the program focuses on demonstrating the research and educating cattle producers. Another emphasis of the program is to study how to decrease the fertilizer application amounts. “Now, with the increase in fertilizer cost and other input costs, there is a lot of interest in nitrogen sources as well as a feed supplement fed to the cattle to provide nitrogen,” Lalman said. The research has shown how traditional cattle management practices and time scales must be changed to implement stockpiling. Hay feeding and cutting times will change throughout the year. Also, the fertilizer application times change during the year, Redfearn said. “You don’t change what you are doing,” Redfearn said. “You change the time of year that you do things.” • Elizabeth Golliver

discovered her passion for agriculture on a small cattle farm near Agra, Okla. She will pursue a career in farm news broadcasting, public relations or agricultural lobbying.

What You Need to Know about Cattle and Forage

How much can a cow eat? According to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, a 1,200-pound cow will consume approximately 30 pounds of hay each day during a hay-feeding season of four months. In other words, each cow will require between three and four round hay bales weighing at least 1,100 pounds. Cattle fed with a hay ring or feeder will waste 15 to 20 percent of the hay provided. Cattle fed without a hay ring or feeder will waste approximately 50 percent of the hay provided. Since cattle waste hay, each cow will need six to eight round bales during the winter if stockpiling is not practiced.

Stockpiling basics • Remove existing forage by late August by grazing, haying or mowing. • Apply 50 to 100 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre. • Grazing can usually begin sometime during October for bermudagrass, but it is better to wait until January to graze tall fescue. • Expect about 3,000 pounds of forage per acre. • In eastern Oklahoma, expect 25 to 50 pounds of forage per pound of applied nitrogen. • In western Oklahoma, expect up to 40 pounds of forage per pound of applied nitrogen.

Undergraduate students Austin Jackson (left) and Trent Pribal assist in the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center by adding dry ice to reduce the product temperature for processing.


klahomans continue to stay on the cutting-edge of value-added food processing and technology, thanks to the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center on the Oklahoma State University campus. However, alongside the FAPC faculty and staff, student workers help connect small businesses, producers and entrepreneurs to the expertise available and turn ambitions into realities. “The student workers perform numerous tasks from entering data to cleaning the harvesting floor,” said J. Roy Es14 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

coubas, director of FAPC. “They are the extra set of hands the researchers and scientists need.” Since the center opened in 1997, students have assisted with services the facility offers, including product development, meat processing, communications services and lab research. Trent Pribal, a junior majoring in natural resources ecology and management from Edmond, Okla., has worked at FAPC for three years. “I work in the meat science lab,” Pribal said. “I have helped unload, har-

photo Lowe

vest and fabricate both cattle and hogs coming in. Our work varies week to week depending on which company is wanting to work on a product.” Pribal said FAPC specifically has allowed him to see the value-added foodproduct industry from a different angle than other students. He said value-added is the process of taking a raw commodity and changing its form to produce a highquality end product. He said FAPC’s student employees gain the advantage of working on a project from start to finish.

OSU has the finest students I’ve ever seen. I would put them against any other institution … they would hold their own. — J. Roy Escoubas FAPC allows student workers to see firsthand the conversion of raw materials to a finished product. Working with large-scaled clients, such as the Bar-S/ Sigma food company, FAPC is involved in the development of many types of products including meat, food grain products and wine. “We are not as worried about moving a certain number of carcasses through the center as we are about the quality of work we do and the advances we can make,” Pribal said. Byron Jones, an animal science junior from Medford, Okla., has worked in the meat science lab of the FAPC for nearly two years, and he said the projects he has been a part of are “ground-breaking.” While Jones said he has gained valuable experience and knowledge of the food-products industry, he also has learned about the rules and regulations that go along with it. “Not only is FAPC a relatively new facility and state-of-the-art, but also it has all the equipment used in leading industries,” Jones said. “The No. 1 thing stressed in the lab, however, is food safety. We can have all of the newest equipment, but if we are not ensuring food safety while using the equipment, or when it is being stored after use, the center could be shut down.” Jones said food safety is of utmost importance at FAPC and in the food industry. Consumers must be presented with a clean and safe product at the store at the time of purchase. Student workers in the meat lab perform a lot of housekeeping to keep the facility in compliance with food safety restrictions, said Jake Nelson, value-added meat specialist. “Half their time is spent pushing a broom, washing equipment, or covered in soap and water,” Nelson said. Sanath Chilakala, a graduate student

from Visakhapatnam, India, is the computer assistant at FAPC. Chilakala completed his mechanical engineering degree at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad, India. “I deal with troubleshooting of all the computers and other technology in FAPC,” Chilakala said. “The issues and the problems I have encountered in this department have definitely helped me gain expertise in handling different kinds of technology. You never know, this experience may lead me into a career.” Chilakala worked as a database administrator before joining FAPC. Computer systems trouble-shooting is something he said he is really good at. Eechin Ng, a food science doctoral student from Ipoh, Malaysia, has worked at FAPC for six years. Ng splits her time between the analytical lab — where one of her projects was to help extend the shelf life of caviar — and her assistantship where she works on a wine project. She said her role has developed her ability to “think outside the box.”

“I’m like a lab rat,” Ng said. “I always find myself asking questions to ensure there is logic in what I am doing. When you are finished running tests, you have to be able to justify your results and describe them to the client or customer.” Whether they are scrubbing floors and machinery, assisting with experiments and projects, or working in the test kitchen, student employees play a major role in the efforts of FAPC. Amanda Cawvey, a graduate student in agricultural education from Ft. Gibson, Okla., is one of two receptionists who assists the planning coordinator when FAPC has workshops or events. “I have learned many things at FAPC,” Cawvey said. “I get to take part in many training programs that we organize and gain experience in the planning aspect of it all.” FAPC largely impacts Oklahoma entrepreneurs, Cawvey said. Through many of the training programs, FAPC helps Oklahomans get started with products they intend to put on the market.

Sanath Chilakala (left) and Amanda Cawvey, graduate students employed at FAPC, review research.

photo Lowe

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 15

Facts FAPC

Graduate assistant Kylee Willard (left) discusses the FAPC annual report with Erin Johnson, FAPC business/marketing client coordinator. Kylee Willard, an agricultural communications master’s student from Hudson, Colo., serves the communications services department as the graduate assistant. FAPC provides her the opportunity to develop news releases, marketing materials and other communication pieces to promote and expand the message of FAPC. “My daily schedule can contain anything from maintaining social media sites to performing the FAPC website updates,” Willard said. Willard edits articles and assists with graphic design for the FAPC.biz magazine. She also designs and disseminates promotional materials in addition to promoting Oklahoma’s upcoming business entrepreneurs and their progressive ventures in the food and agricultural industries. Writing feature stories to highlight FAPC research, faculty and staff, events, and client achievements and accomplishments, is another facet of Willard’s job. “Through this experience, I have seen clients take an idea or product and turn it into an impactful and future-minded business that will help change the way food and agriculture is promoted and developed in Oklahoma,” Willard said. Willard said her position with FAPC has allowed her to witness how the client’s communication and marketing efforts differentiate them from competitors 16 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Lowe

in the marketplace and play a role in the success of their businesses. “At FAPC, I have learned the importance of hard work and dedication as they relate to my work, other’s work and the clients of FAPC,” she said. “I have built upon and expanded my knowledge base of skills learned in the classroom.” Willard also said she has learned many things just from the experience of working in an office setting including time management, the value of professionalism and the necessity for team work among staff members. Escoubas said he has had the opportunity to meet many exceptional individuals while working with other food industry institutions at Illinois, Michigan State, Missouri, Ohio State, Purdue and West Virginia. However, he said none are like the students at OSU. “The students here at OSU are the finest students I’ve ever seen,” Escoubas said. “I would put them up against any other institution, and I know they would hold their own.” • Colin Lowe

grew up on a cow-calf ranch in southwest Oklahoma. He is an agricultural communications major who plans to pursue a career in sales and photography.

Based on an idea by the late Sen. Robert M. Kerr, the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center concept originated in the mid-1980s. The official grand opening was in late 1996 and the first employees started in 1997. FAPC projects include efforts related to food, fiber, feed and fuel. Anything and everything related to value-added agriculture takes place in the building on the OSU campus. Other projects at FAPC have ranged from specialty pet foods to the latest in food-safety pathogen studies, from food processing equipment design to value-added wood products, and from sensory studies to making biofuels from food processing waste. Clients of FAPC have been individual farmers, food business entrepreneurs, and both small and large agribusiness firms in Oklahoma. FAPC also works with out-of-state companies. These clients pay a considerably higher cost for working with FAPC, since they do not pay Oklahoma taxes, the source of FAPC funding. The funds for FAPC are separate from OSU’s funding, determined by the state legislature. However, the funds are mixed with funds from the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. FAPC operates as a research and extension unit within the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Dave Deken, “SUNUP” producer, tapes a segment for the show as the crew takes the viewers into the action.


he “SUNUP” spotlight does not focus on business suits and ties or a television studio with lights and a Teleprompter. Instead, the members are more likely to be in blue jeans and boots in the middle of a wheat field or covering the cattle market out on the ranch. 18 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Korrey

After a five-year hiatus from the airwaves, this unique Oklahoma State University production has returned with greater opportunities and a different perspective for viewers. Primarily based on Oklahoma agriculture, “SUNUP” reappeared in October 2008.

Beginning Jan. 7, 1986, “SUNUP” aired as a live 15-minute daily market and agribusiness news show on OETA, Oklahoma’s PBS station. Since then, the show has changed to once a week for 30 minutes. The show highlights the latest research, updates on crops and important issues pertaining to agriculture. “‘SUNUP’ supplements and compliments a lot of the things we do,” said Derrell Peel, professor and extension livestock marketing specialist. “This is a show about real agricultural producers and real information.” With help from the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services,“SUNUP” came back with a fresh start and all the potential required to do the show right, Peel said. In the five-year interlude, media had gone digital. Television turned to high definition, and equipment was updated, which meant the video footage was no longer useable from the old format. This change gave the “SUNUP” crew the opportunity to focus on the future. By checking their email, updating the “SUNUP” Facebook status and uploading videos on YouTube, the crew prepares for the week. Many of their stories feature OSU extension specialists based in Stillwater, Okla., but they also travel throughout Oklahoma to take viewers essentially out in the field where the action takes place. For example, a recent day’s work took the crew to capture a story about a young girl sewing dresses for children in Africa. Meanwhile, the “SUNUP” team receives help from friends of the show and viewers. The goal is to use their ideas and speak through the voices of “SUNUP.” In 2010, the show received the “Gold Award” from the Association for Communication Excellence for a wheat harvest story. This story alone has been viewed more than 15,000 times on YouTube, where one also can find 600 other “SUNUP” videos.

Austin Moore provides a familiar face on the show. Moore worked for “SUNUP” as an intern while attending OSU from 1994-1998. He now serves as a producer, director and reporter. “I worked 40 hours a week and only got paid for 15,” Moore said. “That is how much I loved working for ‘SUNUP.’” The crew members like to ensure the show receives the right viewers who can benefit from their information, Moore said. From the Cow-Calf Corner to Shop Stop, the show today includes something for everyone involved in agriculture. “‘SUNUP’ is about production agriculture,” he said. “It’s really a demonstration show. I like to call it ‘a field day in your living room.’” In addition to the crew, Dave Deken, the producer, graphic coordinator and final editor for “SUNUP,” started working on the show in 2008. Deken said he appreciates the support given by Robert Whitson, vice president dean and director of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the DASNR administrative team because they gave “SUNUP” a second chance. “There was a lot of support from administration to get it back on the air,” Deken said. “It was neat because it gave us a clean start to format how the whole show started.” Deken said he loves to tell stories with video and exploring what Oklahoma farmers and ranchers have to offer. The spur-of-the-moment and wide-open creation of the show is the main attraction for not only viewers but also for the “SUNUP” team. “Hanging off a combine to get shots during harvest is the exciting, spontaneous part of ‘SUNUP,’” Deken said. The newest face on “SUNUP” spent 12 years in broadcast news in Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Texas. Lyndall Stout began in October 2010 as the host and senior producer. “The ability to cover a variety of sto-

ries is my favorite thing about the show,” Stout said. “I love having a job where I feel what I do can impact people’s lives, which is very rewarding. I truly care about the people and the content.” Ron Hays, the director of farm programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, said he is highly interested in the agriculture news “SUNUP” provides to Oklahoma’s producers. “[‘SUNUP’ offers] a variety of topics each week so there is always something for us to use on our radio show,” Hays said. “Lyndall Stout does a great job keeping up with what’s going on at the Division of Agriculture at OSU.” Other viewers enjoy certain topics “SUNUP” offers. Stephanie Jones, an OSU employee at University Health Services, said she likes watching the CowCalf Corner because she is trying to start her own herd. “I enjoy the consistency ‘SUNUP’

has,” Jones said. “It’s interesting and easy to understand with great information for a beginner like me.” Farmers also find “SUNUP” useful. Scott Wiehle, a full-time farmer and cattle rancher, likes to watch the shows. “I enjoy keeping up with the market talk,” Wiehle said. “I usually watch it every Saturday morning. I also enjoy watching the field-day stories they do every now and then.” Information flows to agricultural producers and viewers each week from “SUNUP.” The support from a loyal audience is what keeps the show continuing to be “a field day in your living room.” • Melissa Korrey

grew up on a farm in Iliff, Colo. She transferred to OSU from Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo., to pursue her degree in agricultural communications.

Tod Johnson

The “SUNUP” crew — Lyndall Stout (left), Austin Moore and Dave Deken — produces the weekly agricultural show.

photo Johnson

• Watch on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on your local OETA Channel. • Check out the “SUNUP” website: www.sunup.okstate.edu. • Visit the show’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/sunuptv. • Become a fan on Facebook.

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 19



of the OSU Collegiate Cattlemen’s & CattleWomen’s Associations

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To the Y


ou can’t move. You can barely breathe. The pressure around you slowly begins to crush your lungs. Even if someone were close enough to extend a hand and pull you out, the force needed to free you would be nearly four times your weight. You’re trapped. “Every time you take a breath, your chest collapses when you exhale and the grain is right there,” said Edmond Bonjour, Oklahoma State University extension entomologist and member of the stored products research team. Stored products are postharvest agricultural commodities such as wheat, corn or other grains. “Every little kernel will show up on your skin as an indentation because of the pressure,” Bonjour said. “If you get buried to your waist, there is no way you or anybody else is going to pull you out.” According to the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program, 46 reported entrapments occurred in the United States in 2010; 33 were on farms and 13 at commercial grain facilities. Twenty-five of the reported entrapments resulted in death. Bonjour and the stored products research team develop protocols and tools

for rescue teams who respond to grain bin entrapments and engulfments. The team includes Bonjour, Carol Jones, Randy Beeby, Montie Walton and Jess Andrews. During the early 1990s, a group of OSU faculty recognized the need to study increased problems in processed food and feed storage warehouse management, including accident-related research. “There was always this dream that we could have our own research center on campus or at least near campus to do replicated research,” Bonjour said. In the past, Bonjour and the stored products team had to improvise because they lacked a facility. “We had to work with farmers or grain elevators to do our research,” he said. “It was hard to replicate research because they may not have 10 bins all the same, or they may start at harvest doing an experiment and all of a sudden market prices rose. They were going to sell their grain, so our project stopped.” After working with university administrators, the team chose an appropriate site near Range Road, just outside of Stillwater, Okla. The Stored Products Research and Education Center, also known as SPREC,

If Oklahoma is going to start growing a more diverse grain crop . . . we have to be more attuned to the dangers of storing it. — Edmond Bonjour

opened in 2001 and houses 40 small bins (170 to 500 bushels each) and two large bins (8,000 and 18,000 bushels each). Indoor laboratory facilities and equipment are used to study applied problems associated with micro and macro climates. Multiple DASNR departments use the research center for experiments and demonstrations: agricultural economics, animal science, biosystems and agricultural engineering, entomology and plant pathology, and plant and soil sciences. After its completion, the center received funding to build a demonstration rescue bin complete with remote video and broadcasting capabilities, said Carol Jones, assistant professor of stored product engineering. “Our purpose is to prepare and deliver a training program in Oklahoma that meets the needs of the grain industry,” she said. “This training is targeted for elevator personnel and first response or fire department members.” As part of the responders’ training, the team instructs participants on what to look for to keep other individuals from becoming trapped. “We see occasionally where the rescuer becomes the [victim],” Bonjour said. He said many rural communities throughout Oklahoma rely on volunteer firefighters to respond quickly in the event of emergencies. “They’re not paid,” Bonjour said. “They come from whatever business they happen to be at when the alarm rings. If they happen to have an entrapment, they have absolutely no, or very little, training cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 21

in how to rescue someone who is trapped in grain.” The goal for every rescue is the same, to make sure “everyone goes home,” said Corbin Baker, Enid Fire Department training officer. “These victims are having a bad day, and we are not going to make it any worse by getting one of our own people hurt,” he said. Grain bin rescue training is time consuming and logistically challenging, Baker said. So, the OSU research team partnered with the Enid Fire Department, Triangle Insurance and W.B. Johnston Grain to help in the development of pilot training techniques and to test new rescue devices. Much of the training the firefighters completed addressed the issue of dangerously high angled roofs on top of the grain bins, which sloped upward to a height of 90 feet. “When you are up on top of something like that, you have to take precautions to prevent a fall,” Baker said. 22 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

In addition to training workshops, the team is working with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and OSU Agricultural Communications Services to develop an awareness-level DVD to distribute throughout the state. This is a step to educate the public and prevent entrapments from happening. Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program has documented grain entrapment cases throughout the United States since 1978. According to its 2010 summary, the five-year average of these incidents has increased steadily since 2002 to 36 incidents per year. “There started to be more and more concern about people being entrapped or engulfed in grain,” Bonjour said. “It has always happened, but the awareness has become more prevalent.” Part of the concern about entrapment comes from the increased variety of grains grown in Oklahoma, Bonjour said. “We are not just a wheat state anymore,” he said. “There has been more

photo courtesy Bonjour

The stored products rescue team demonstrated the Aspen Lift at the Grain Elevator and Processing Society Conference in Portland, Ore.: Montie Walton (left) of W.B. Johnston Grain, Randy Beeby, Carol Jones, Jess Andrews and Edmond Bonjour.

corn grown because of the biofuels emphasis, canola has increased, as has sesame. These are crops Oklahoma is not used to storing. “If Oklahoma is going to start growing a more diverse grain crop, corn being one of those, and people start storing it, we have to be more attuned to the dangers of storing it,” Bonjour said. The danger these crops pose is partially due to the level of moisture at which grains are stored. Corn is typically stored at 13 to 15 percent moisture while wheat is stored at 11 to 12 percent moisture, Bonjour said. Grain stored at higher moisture levels combined with rising temperatures or increased insect activity can create molds and grain bridges, he said. Grain bridges are masses of grain bonded together due to mold caused by moisture in the bin. When unaware, people walk on it, fall in and become entrapped, Bonjour said. “You can actually take several loads out of a bin, look in there, and it looks

like you haven’t taken anything out because this cone is happening under the bridge that could be two or three feet thick,” he said. While the team intends to help producers prevent these dangerous situations from happening, accidents still occur. So, the research team has developed tools teams can use during a rescue. Randy Beeby, technician at SPREC, said the team has developed a wooden cofferdam. This structure encloses the area around the victim, but leaves an open top to pull the victim out. The six sections, made from a single sheet of plywood, are forced down into the grain and bound together with rope to keep additional grain from flowing around the victim. “The team accused me of marketing when I put the OSU sticker on it,” Beeby said. “But once these boards are in the grain, you can hardly see them. Shine a light across the top of the sticker and it glares enough for you to find it.” The OSU team also has worked with an alumnus in his development of a key tool in the rescue process. Andrews, who received his doctorate in education from OSU in 1988, began developing the idea of his “Aspen Lift” almost 20 years ago while teaching highrope rescue techniques, he said. “[The Aspen lift] is a device that sits on the sloping roof of the grain bins,” Andrews said. The 6-foot-tall frame is secured to the bin’s input spout and is braced on both sides with ropes. Pulleys on top of the frame allow rescuers to be lowered down through the top hatch by rope, lift the victim out of the bin and back to the ground. The whole structure can be put together by hand. “It sounds simple, but it took a while to get it developed,” he said. Currently, no devices like it are on the market for rescue teams. Andrews and the team have tested the Aspen Lift during a few training sessions, most recently with Enid firefighters. “It changes the entire dynamic of how we do the rescue,” Baker said. “We can do it [without the Aspen Lift], but it’s more risky, more complicated, and physically exhausting.”

Fire truck ladders aided in hoisting victims to safety in the past. Unfortunately, some bins are arranged in such a manner the trucks are rendered useless for lifting out victims. “Unless you can get that 80,000pound truck close enough to the tank to get the platform above the opening, it’s of no use to you,” Baker said. During Baker’s 20 years of service, he has responded to few grain bin entrapments, but he still understands the need to be ready at any moment. While he prefers to use the truck ladder, “the Aspen lift is the next best thing,” he said. The stored products research team continues to develop rescue-training pro-

tocol. In the meantime, the awareness level DVDs should be available in the summer of 2011. Additionally, grain elevator training workshops are held each spring at the SPREC. For more information about grain safety, project developments and future workshops, visit the center’s website at http://storedproducts.okstate.edu. • Shane Vietzke

hails from Pauls Valley, Okla. After graduation, he will communicate a message of purpose, peace and joy as a staff member at the OSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry.

Randy Beeby explains the use of a cofferdam, a tool used to prevent grain from falling onto a victim during grain bin rescues.

photo Vietzke

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 23

hen was the last time you had the opportunity to step into the ring with a Mexican fighting bull, ride horseback through the countryside of a foreign nation, or enjoy a meal with a family from a different culture who you met only minutes before? If the answer is never, you might want to take a look into the MEXTREK studyabroad trip. Derrell Peel, professor of agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University, leads a study-abroad trip in Mexico each May. Peel has considerable knowledge of Mexico, having made more than 40 trips to the country as well as living in Chihuahua, Mexico, for a year. His relationships and extensive contacts in Mexico make MEXTREK a study-abroad trip unlike any other. Peel earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics at Montana State University and his doctorate in agricultural economics at the University of Illinois. Peel started at OSU in 1989 in his first faculty position.

“I first traveled to Mexico with OSU in 1992 through an agricultural trade mission,” Peel said. “Since then I have visited several times yearly.” David Henneberry, interim associate vice president of international studies and outreach and director of international agricultural programs, said Peel’s experience in Mexico equips him with the ability to provide his students a valuable experience. “Having lived in Mexico, [Peel] has developed relationships that allow the students to experience the culture the way other trips cannot,” Henneberry said. Peel has visited 27 of the 31 states in Mexico. In 2001, Peel and his family moved to Chihuahua for a year. “It was a great experience for me and my family,” Peel said. “While in Mexico, I was able to travel extensively to meet with many producers, industry organizations and government officials to understand the cattle industry in Mexico.” Peel’s interest in Mexico and its culture have far exceeded the professional

aspect. He said the payoff for him personally and for the university in international visibility has been huge. “Many of OSU’s contacts in Mexico resulted from my time spent there,” Peel said. “OSU has been very supportive, and I am happy that it has been such a positive experience for OSU relations.” Peel’s experience and research with international livestock markets has brought him recognition nationwide. “[Peel] is the No. 1 authority on international livestock markets with Mexico in the U.S.,” Henneberry said. Although Peel has frequently traveled to Mexico since 1992, the first MEXTREK study-abroad trip did not occur until 2005. Peel has led a group of students to Mexico every May, with 2009 serving as an exception due to an outbreak of H1N1. MEXTREK is an 11-to 13-day travel experience in Mexico that introduces students to the culture and agriculture in Mexico. Peel said the trip provides a hands-on experience emphasizing im-

Above left: Cole Lamson (left), Galen Williams, Cara Crow, Jodee Schimdt (front) and Will Robertson explore El Tajin, Veracruz. Above right: Cactus for sale in Mexico City’s de Abasto. 24 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photos Peel

mersion rather than a tourist approach. Total cost, including tuition, generally ranges each year from $2,230 to $2,700 per student. Peel said one of the greatest advantages of study-abroad programs is the opportunity for students to become familiar with a culture different from their own. The more a student experiences and lives in assimilation with their surroundings, the more they’re going to learn about the country, culture and customs, Peel said. Every year, Peel sets out to deliver an authentic Mexico experience for his students through the MEXTREK studyabroad program. MEXTREK could be the only study-abroad experience at OSU where the only time a travel agency is involved is for the plane tickets, Peel said. “I can tell the students about Mexico and how the agriculture functions there until I am blue in the face,” Peel said, “but students aren’t going to really grasp it unless they experience it.” MEXTREK provides students with a unique immersion experience, due in

large part to the small group size. Peel limits the trip to only a handful of students each year to allow for a more intimate experience, he said. “People ask us into their homes to feed and entertain us,” Peel said. “Opportunities like that would probably not materialize if we had a group of 10 or 15.” Dell Farris, a participant of the trip in 2008, described the trip as an eyeopening experience. “The trip really taught me how to appreciate what I had back home,” Farris said. “Dr. Peel was able to show us more than just tourist Mexico. We saw the bad right along with the good.” Everything from the transportation throughout the country to the food the group consumes is a product of the local economy. Instead of students viewing the countryside through the windows of a charter bus, they experience it from the seat of a taxi or bus filled with local people. Rather than retiring at the end of the day to a name-brand hotel, the group uses local lodging.

“The trip is planned so every aspect contributes to the total experience in a specific fashion,” Peel said. One example Peel referred to is the bus rides the group takes across the country. Traveling by bus allows students to experience the mountainous terrain of Mexico, traveling the narrow, winding highways that limit transportation. “My goal is to push students to expand their boundaries and comfort zone, without threatening them,” Peel said. A narrow stretch of one mountain highway, known by the locals as “The Devil’s Backbone,” is remembered well by past trip participant Jeff Jaronek. “A wreck along the mountain highway kept our bus stopped on the Devil’s Backbone for hours,” Jaronek said. “Our trip in 2006 was the only one that traveled entirely by bus.” Throughout the years, student experiences have ranged from exploring the areas of Durango and Veracruz on horseback to climbing watchtowers of haciendas. They have participated in the

photo Mendez

Above left: Cara Crow (left), Jodee Schimdt, Will Robertson, Galen Williams, Cole Lamson and Derrell Peel on the coast in Veracruz, Mexico. Above right: Santa Rosa Church, Taxco, Mexico.

photo Peel

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 25

MEXTREK may be the only studyabroad experience at OSU where the only time a travel agency is involved is for the plane tickets. — Derrell Peel training of fighting bulls as well as cookouts on local ranches. The trip entails numerous visits, both planned and spontaneous, to greenhouses, markets, ranches and farms, processing facilities, churches, and historical sites. Many of the visits are hands-on and all are informative and fun experiences, Peel said. “Looking back I would not change anything,” Jaronek said. “Everywhere we went [Peel] knew somebody.” The experience afforded to the students is a direct result of the years Peel has spent developing academic and agricultural contacts in Mexico. Peel’s knowledge and experience allows the students

to experience what other trips cannot offer, Jaronek said. “We are able to do things an inexperienced traveler could not and should not do,” Peel said. “Because I plan the entire trip, I can control all dimensions of lodging, food and transportation to make the trip a more complete package of experience for the students.” One OSU student, Cole Lamson, has accompanied Peel on two separate study-abroad trips. “In my mind, there is no one more experienced to go with than Peel,” Lamson said. Lamson has seen both sides of Mex-

photo Clemmons

ico, the tourist side and what he refers to as “real Mexico.” The experiences can be drastically differently, Lamson said. “I enjoyed real Mexico, the people and culture,” Lamson said. “Tourist Mexico just isn’t the same.” • John-Kyle Truitt grew up in Tulsa where he graduated from Jenks High School. He serves as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and will attend the Defense Language Institute.

Linda Yant (left), Wyvonna Smith, Paula Cinnamon and Connie Walker retired in June 2010 with more than 120 collective years of service to the OSU Department of Animal Science.


n the 1970s, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, and Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain. The median family income was just more than $19,000, and a gallon of gas averaged 86 cents. The world was a different place. During these times, four women began their careers in the animal science department at Oklahoma State Univer-

sity. For more than 30 years, Paula Cinnamon, Wyvonna Smith, Connie Walker and Linda Yant served as the gears and pulleys of the finely tuned machine commonly known on campus as “the main office” of the department. On June 30, 2010, these women retired, taking with them more than 120 collective years of experience and service to OSU and the animal science depart-

photo Wiggins

ment. Throughout the years, their commitment and collaboration was visible in the efficiency of the office in handling the finances for the department and its faculty members as well as managing the various livestock farms and ranges. “All four of these ladies were extremely dependable and very loyal to the Department of Animal Science,” said Ron Kensinger, head of the department. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 27

Animal science is like an extension of family. I always felt the people in animal science really cared about each other. — Wyvonna Smith “They had each worked in the department for so many years they had developed a sense of duty and were very quick to help one another when they needed to get tasks accomplished. It is very unusual to observe this degree of loyalty and teamwork,” he said. As a new department head in 2008, Kensinger learned from the staff members who had so many years of experience. He said he discovered quickly each woman had her niche of responsibilities and there was no need to disrupt the well-functioning operation. “We laughed so many times when he would come in and ask ‘Why do we do this?’” Cinnamon said. “He was a great sport about learning the job.” While they agreed the comings and goings of department heads and faculty members through the years required some adjusting by the staff, the ladies said the biggest change for the office was the introduction of the computer. When Yant started her job in 1983, computers did not exist. She maintained financial records by hand and prepared financial reports on a typewriter. “Our first computer was a Radio Shack TRS-80,” Yant said. “It was very unreliable and couldn’t be trusted not to crash at the worst possible time. It was the only computer in the departmental office and wasn’t particularly useful.” Walker and Smith also had some less-than-fond memories of learning to use the computer, dealing with the nightmares of spontaneously disappearing data and having to learn to use the computer all over again as technology progressed. “When we first changed over to computers, I worried and thought that I would never learn all this stuff, but I did,” Walker said. “Forms and procedures changed really often so there was always something new to get the hang of.” While each day brought with it a new obstacle to tackle, the four women 28 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

remained patient and persistent in their responsibilities. Kensinger commended Yant’s attention to financial detail saying she was never off by a penny. He described Walker as the “face of the department” to many people on campus, and he said Cinnamon provided care and attention to the fleet of departmental vehicles as if they were her own. Kensinger also said Smith “managed a mountain of day-to-day financial transactions” and continued to have a smile on her face. Friendly faces and patient attitudes not only allowed the office to operate efficiently but also provided an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone who came in and out of the office on a daily basis, including student workers. Danika Ferster began serving as a student office assistant in August 2008 and when her supervisors retired in 2010, she accepted the challenge of filling

both Cinnamon’s and Smith’s positions. Though she had little office experience before taking the position, Ferster said she was grateful for the opportunity to work in the animal science office. “They were always so pleasant to work with and very patient,” Ferster said. “It didn’t matter what the question was or how many times I asked the same question, they were always willing to help.” Through relationships with the students, faculty and other staff members, the four women were able to create a family in the office that held them together for many years. Even when the university offered promotions to positions in other areas on campus, they remained loyal to the animal science department and its people they held dear. “I had opportunities for promotions to move to other positions on campus, but in the end just couldn’t bring myself

Connie Walker, right, and her 9-year-old granddaughter, Sarah Beth Walker, plant flowers outside Walker’s home in Stillwater, Okla.

photo Wiggins

to leave animal science,” Yant said. “I always felt it was worth staying put in animal science to have good friends to work with. We were all together so long that we knew we could trust each other to do the very best we could for the department. You don’t always get that kind of cooperation and caring in an office, and it makes the work experience a pleasure.” Smith agreed and said her favorite memories of her career are the people she worked with and the relationships she developed with them. “My memories are the wonderful people that I was fortunate to be able to work with,” Smith said. “Animal science is like an extension of family. I always felt that the people in animal science really cared about each other.” The benefits of those strong connections were felt and appreciated by many people in the building. Chandra Poling is a senior office assistant who worked closely with the four retirees for the last 20 years. She said she is thankful for the lifetime friends she made and for their willingness to help in any situation. “I went through a divorce and the deaths of my parents and father-in-law while working with these ladies,” Poling said. “I had terrific support from all four. They made a lasting impression on me.” In the past three decades, these four women’s impact reached far beyond their coworkers. Their commitment to OSU and the animal science department was evident in their diligence and loyalty, and through the years, they played major roles in the development of the reputation of OSU’s animal science program. • Lindy Wiggins

is an agricultural communications and animal science double major who grew up on a cow-calf ranch in Kansas. She will start graduate school at OSU in fall 2011.

Paula Cinnamon lives in Perry, Okla., with her husband, Eldon. Cinnamon said she enjoys being a full-time farm wife and she is most looking forward to working in her garden and canning vegetables. She also said she is excited to “play in her new house,” which they moved into last summer. Wyvonna Smith and her husband, David, retired together in 2010. They live in Glencoe, Okla., and are enjoying their newfound freedom. Smith said they “just take it one day at a time, enjoying what life has to offer.” She occasionally returns to the office to help new employees, including Laura Holcomb (right), learn the ropes.

Connie Walker said she is still adjusting to not having a specific daily routine and she “spends a lot of time walking the floor.” Along with helping judge 4-H activities, she said she enjoys cross-stitching, gardening, baking, quilting and being with her two granddaughters. She and her husband, Owen, live on their farm outside Stillwater, Okla. Linda Yant said she and her husband, Tom, are enjoying being together during their retirement. She said their greatest joy is “the time we get to spend with our grandchildren.” Aside from being with her family, Yant is also looking forward to having time for reading and making quilts. photos Wiggins

photos Fisher

Clockwise from top left: Members of “Eat, Grow, Lead” 4-H enjoy John Lastly; Chen Wei Huang; Almoather Al-busaidi and Spencer N 30 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

lthough not the most common name for a 4-H club, “Eat, Grow, Lead” 4-H is unlike other clubs around the state or the country. Penny Weeks, associate professor of agricultural leadership at Oklahoma State University, said she and her husband Bill Weeks, an agricultural leadership professor, wanted to find a way for undergraduate leadership students to experience working with youth and some of the duties of a 4-H youth educator. “I was hoping to create an opportunity for ag leadership students to have a leadership lab to practice the things they are learning in the classroom,” Penny Weeks said. “We created our own 4-H club because some of our undergraduate students will pursue extension positions or will be involved in informal teaching after graduation.” The Weekses said they discussed a variety of options before selecting which group of youth to help. They chose to serve the youth who live on the OSU campus in the married and graduate student housing. They talked with staff members at the OSU Family Resource Center to ask for help in getting “Eat, Grow, Lead” 4-H started. The FRC provides after-school care for about 90 youth who live on campus in the married or graduate housing. With the FRC’s enthusiastic help, the Weekses and their students started sign-ups on Jan. 10, 2011. “Eat, Grow, Lead” 4-H is only available to those students who are enrolled in the FRC’s afterschool program. “The 4H club has opened up a new world of interests and opportunities for

numerous numerous activities activities during during their their weekly weekly meetings. meetings. Chuong Chuong Le, Le, Nero; Nero; Eunju Eunju Lee Lee and and Kaitlyn Kaitlyn Lingus; Lingus; and and Nurdeen Nurdeen Fahej. Fahej.

our children,” said Amie Allen, Youth and Family Programs Residence Director at the FRC. “The lessons have given our children a chance to learn about their involuntary connection to agriculture from what it takes to plant a garden to how bread is made. The influence of this knowledge will no doubt affect our children well beyond their time at the Family Resource Center.” Bill Weeks said the program was wellreceived and has had a growing number of participants. “I was thinking if we had five kids sign up we would be great, but we had 15,” Bill Weeks said. “Then 20 signed up and now we are at 23 children.” The Weekses said they decided the “Eat, Grow, Lead” name would inform the youth about different areas of 4-H the club would emphasize. The club meets weekly and a team of graduate and undergraduate volunteers help with each club theme. These OSU students prepare lessons for their sections. The Weekses help the group of volunteers plan the lessons for the weekly meetings. The volunteers decide what will be taught and the items needed to teach the lesson. They separate the weekly meetings into sections based on the club name. They used “Eat” to teach the youth about healthy nutrition, “Grow” to educate them in gardening techniques and ways to grow a successful garden, and “Lead” to show the youth how to develop into strong leaders. “It gives us a chance to work with a diverse group of students and gain understanding for a variety of cultural differences,” said Kaitlyn Lingus, an agricultural leadership junior. “There is no better place to learn than when you submerse yourself in your field of study.” cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 31

photos Fisher

Above from left: The “Eat, Grow, Lead” 4-H members experience craft making and personal development: Sara Al-Ubaidy; Esther Cortez (left), Kaitlyn Lingus, Mawda Fahej and Almoather Al-busaidi; and Corbin Dewitt (left) and Chen Wei Huang. During the first meeting each month, which Lingus organizes, the youth learn more about 4-H traditions and history. Lingus said she is working to develop a foundation to align the club with traditional 4-H. “These children have never heard of 4-H and what the program is all about,” Lingus said. “In my meeting we cover 4-H-related items such as community service and demonstrations.” During the “Eat” week, the youth learn about healthy nutrition, where certain foods come from and how to cook. The youth learn to grow and maintain a garden during the “Grow” week. “The Family Resource Center has 120 10 foot x 10 foot plots for community gardening,” Bill Weeks said. “They donated 15 plots for our gardens. 4-Hers will work in pairs to manage their plots.” Bill Weeks said the initial plan for the produce was to send it home with the youth. However, a young girl from Sri Lanka asked if they could donate the food to a food pantry. “We thought they would take their veggies home to eat and reinforce the eating healthy part of ‘Eat, Grow, Lead,’” 32 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Bill Weeks said. “But we might get a bumper crop of something to be able to donate it somewhere.” During the “Lead” weeks of the program, the youth learn about leadership as well as personal development. “This semester we are focusing on self awareness and who we are as people in the ‘Lead’ meetings,” Penny Weeks said. “It will be interesting to learn the backgrounds of all the children because they don’t have the same heritage as many of the traditional 4-H members.” Of the 23 youth who joined “Eat, Grow, Lead,” 20 youth have both parents who were born outside the United States. The biggest difference between this club and traditional 4-H clubs is the members do not have older 4-Hers to guide them; everyone is a first-year member. Bill Weeks said the volunteers hope to have formal roles by the fall of 2011. “We want to do enough leadership development this semester so that next semester we can elect officers,” Bill Weeks said. “The children are at OSU because their parents are going to school at OSU, so Stillwater is a temporary residence.” Bill Weeks said the club plans to con-

tinue meetings in the summer in hope of continuing to grow the program. The club receives grant funds from Youth Service of America. Local businesses, including Stillwater Milling Co., Sherwin Williams and Lowe’s, donate supplies for “Eat, Grow, Lead” projects. “Eat, Grow, Lead” 4-H also receives help from the FRC. If the club continues to grow, additional funding options will be pursued, Penny Weeks said. “These children are open to everything you throw at them,” Lingus said. “It’s a great time to serve as a positive role model for them and to share your wealth of knowledge with them.” • Jennifer Fisher

is an agricultural communications senior from Wayne, Okla. She transferred to OSU from Western Oklahoma State College, and she plans to pursue a career in public relations.

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Ananabel Alonso works with a petri dish in Rita Miller’s lab during one experiment in her project.

34 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Photo Alsup photo Alsup

bread-like smell fills a research lab at Oklahoma State University. It seems someone baked where experiments usually take place. This is not the case, however. The smell is of growing yeast, providing researchers with a look at life on the cellular level. The incubator, just inside the lab door, houses growing yeast. It looks like a refrigerator, but the incubator stores yeast at the warm, steady temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, or 86 degrees Fahrenheit. As the yeast grows on petri dishes or in shaking flasks, the two most recent faculty additions in the OSU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Rita Miller and Donald Ruhl, discuss their projects. They said they “stick together” to collaborate on their research. “He has his stuff, and I have my stuff,” Miller said. “Then we put it together. Collaborations are one of those things in science that are so central to it. The idea of collaboration is something at which OSU is very good.” Miller said she spent much of her career studying yeast on the cellular level while Ruhl said he spent more than 10 years studying breast cancer. Learning how the basic mechanisms work in a simple system, as in yeast, provides a better understanding of how a more complex system works, as in humans, Miller said. “Many basic functions of a cell are the same in human cells and yeast,” Ruhl said. “Yeast provides a simpler system than the human cell, so we can start there and then move on to the more complex.” Miller’s research focuses on understanding how yeast cells function. Specifically, she and her team study the mitotic spindle, which separates DNA into two daughter cells during mitosis, or cell replication, and how the spindle is placed within the cell.

“We can manipulate the yeast DNA easily, mutate it and knock genes out,” Miller said. “We can do it really fast, in a matter of weeks. We think the basic regulation of the DNA is the same between yeast and humans.” Ruhl’s research team is studying how estrogen controls the process of transcription, which is the process of RNA copying DNA to begin making proteins. The work is similar to trying to understand how the genes in an eye cell know they are an eye cell and not a heart cell, he said. This does not occur during mitosis; but instead, it takes place during another portion of the cell cycle. “If we understand how and why the estrogen receptors work in a normally functioning cell, we can more easily identify the abnormal activity in a breast cancer cell,” Ruhl said. Miller and Ruhl both said this research helps scientists understand what turns normal cells into abnormal ones. With additional knowledge of how cells function, understanding of biological systems is born and more complex research is better understood. This project, still in the beginning stages, provides results more quickly using yeast than more complex cells; however, there are no answers to the big questions yet. As answers to smaller questions come, the answers to the bigger question become more clear. Student researchers form the backbone of these ongoing research projects. Both projects employ student workers who do the experiments and provide the data from them.

“Students have their own research projects and conduct experiments to either support or disprove their hypotheses,” Ruhl said. “The goal for each student is to give them an original research experience with the expectation that they will make intellectual contributions to help understand the broad hypothesis.” Miller said her lab boasts two hardworking graduate student researchers, working toward their doctorates in biochemisty and molecular biology, Maliha Rahman and Annabel Alonso. The two undergraduate students working on Ruhl’s research team are senior Ron Price and sophomore Schuyler Pracht. Both are biochemistry and molecular biology majors. The opportunity to be a part of the yeast project was exciting, Pracht said. “When I heard that Dr. Ruhl needed help, I jumped at it right away,” Pracht said. “Research involves critical thinking and reasoning skills. To me, it seemed like a puzzle. I have always loved doing puzzles, so I figured I would give research a try.” Price chose to join Ruhl’s yeast research team from a variety of options offered to him when selecting a project for a biochemistry research class, he said. He chose this specific project for one reason: The research would be initial research. “I have been a part of research teams before where I started in the middle of a project and did not have a full grasp on what I was actually doing,” Price said. “By being able to start this project, I already have a grasp on the actual science behind the experiment.”

The undergraduate students work six to 12 hours a week. Ruhl said the students generally work throughout their undergraduate programs, sometimes even during the summer, once they start working in a lab. Each semester, students work on their specific parts of the project. The longer students work, the more experience they get learning to interpret the data for themselves. Ruhl said they then can present the data orally as well as with posters and other visuals. “Not all students continue on, but the research experience is a good way to decide if this is something a student wants to continue doing,” Ruhl said. “It is not all lab work. Students learn to analyze the data, prepare the next experiment, present, and even do some grant writing.” Miller said the project is far from being over and to reach a successful end, everything comes down to collaboration and teamwork. “Being able to disagree without being disagreeable is one of the basic tenets of science,” Miller said. “It is a very important skill because then you have to discuss and modify ideas to move a scientific understanding forward. It is true of my students. They are really great at it.” • Kristin Alsup

is from Choctaw, Okla. Following graduation, she will serve as the communications intern for the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa.

It seemed like a puzzle. I have always loved doing puzzles, so I figured I would give research a try. — Schuyler Pracht cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 35

n Oklahoma State University soil chemist is giving new meaning to the phrase “going green.” With the help of his colleagues in the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, assistant professor Chad Penn is investigating a practice that could help improve the environment and save money. Penn designed a filter to collect excess phosphorus transported to surface waters from runoff produced by rain, watering or irrigation. Penn first built a “filter” prototype while working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service at Pennsylvania State 36 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

University. Penn brought his research to Oklahoma in 2005 after obtaining a position at OSU. “Part of my job [with the ARS] was to do research on waste by-products from different industries and try to find other uses for them,” Penn said. “One thing I found was that some of those materials absorb a lot of phosphorus.” The Stillwater Country Club golf course provided a location to install a demonstration filter for testing. Penn chose a ditch at the edge of the course where runoff from residential neighborhoods combined with runoff from the course. Previous sampling during rainfall

events showed the ditch water was rich with phosphorus. “The water funneled into a bar ditch, which drained into Stillwater Creek,” Penn said. “That particular spot drains 150 acres, and we consistently got high phosphorus concentrations, so that’s where we decided we wanted to build it.” Penn said phosphorus is essential to all forms of life, but too much of it can be a bad thing. An excess of phosphorus in surface waters, like lakes and ponds, can cause eutrophication, a process in which algae and plants grow rapidly. “When the plants [in the water] die, the decomposition process consumes all

photos Leatherwood

the oxygen, which kills fish,” Penn said. “All that plant and algae growth isn’t good for the ecosystem either.” Penn said phosphorus in runoff water is soluble, meaning it is dissolved in the water, which makes it more difficult to remove. Penn said this is an important reason why the filter is needed. The phosphorus filter is a steel box 8 feet wide by 10 feet long that rests 8 inches in the ground. The filter is equipped with automatic sensors to track the flow of water and the amount of phosphorus trapped by a by-product material. “It’s very simple,” Penn said. “Water runs through [the filter, and] phosphorus

absorbs to it with clean water going out. Eventually, it becomes saturated with phosphorus. Then you clean it out and put new material in.” Penn said the material in the filter can be replaced once every year. He and his team manually dug the trench for the filter. The team then built the filter into the trench, which cost about $2,500. Penn conducted experiments on different by-products in a laboratory to determine what would make the most effective filtration material. Acid mine waste, fly ash and gypsum were all used, but Penn decided steel slag was the best option for the filter at the course. “We first built a pilot scale structure at the botanical gardens to test the materials and see what would work best under the field conditions without having to build a full-scale structure in the field,” Penn said. “We decided to use steel slag based on what we observed in the laboratory and because it was locally available.” Steel slag is a pebble-like waste product of the steel industry from smelting ore. The slag used in this filter is a byproduct from a steel mill in Fort Smith, Ark. Penn said using these waste products is convenient for the experiment and financially helps the businesses involved. “If they can’t apply it or do something with it, they have to take it to a landfill, which is expensive,” Penn said. “So it’s kind of a way of reusing old materials. We’re making use out of a waste product that came from one problem and using it to solve another problem.” The filter structure, filled with three tons of slag, proved effective since its installation in July 2010, removing 25 percent of all phosphorus in the water that flowed through it, Penn said. An objective of the research is to develop a mathematical model for software that is convenient to use for anyone, regardless of location, to aid in designing a structure. “The goal is to produce a universal model, so no matter where you are you can use material that is locally available to you,” Penn said. One of Penn’s long-term goals for this research is to include these filters in the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. EQIP provides funding to

farmers for practicing certain conservation methods on their farms. “We want [NRCS] to adopt this practice and help pay for these structures to be put on farms,” Penn said. Penn’s associates have worked with him on this project to create a product available to the public. David Engle, professor and director of the Water Research and Extension Center, played a large role in spreading the word of Penn’s efforts. “There are a lot of different impairments to water bodies that this technology can address,” Engle said. “What I do is keep my ear to the ground and recognize an opportunity that is a need for that technology. Then I put him in contact with a person who represents that need.” Engle said representatives of state and federal agencies have shown interest in the filter and look forward to the possibility of implementing it to reduce phosphates in water everywhere. “It’s a pretty common issue throughout the Midwest and the Great Plains, but you can see a need for it broadly,” Engle said. Jason Warren, who serves as a soil and water conservation and management specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, said residential areas are likely candidates for the filter when high phosphorus concentrations are found in runoff. “Those are often ideal for this particular technology,” Warren said. “You generally have high water flow. Then you can design a system to lie down inside the stormwater control structure and treat that water before it flows to a greater water shed.” Warren said thanks to the results of the research, the NRCS is interested in this technology. “We’re still at the point where we need more demonstration and proof of concept in different scenarios so people can make informed decisions as to where it best fits,” Warren said. “It’s exciting to see something on the brink of implementation, and it’s surprising to me that it works so well.” Penn said this project would not have been as successful without the collaborated assistance of his colleagues in his department. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 37

“That’s what it takes to get any kind of research completed,” Penn said. “To see something go all the way to fruition, it takes all those people.” Engle said this project’s potential effects could go far beyond water treatment for Oklahoma. “It’s a really big issue,” Engle said. “It’s going to make a difference in this state, to its citizens, to our economy and to our way of life.” •

Chad Penn conducts a flow-through absorption test on various by-products to determine which material would work best in the water filter.

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Jon Gevelinger brings new technology to the showbarn as he sends text updates to hundreds of clients. 40 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

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arly morning feedings, late night fittings, buckets of feed and gallons of water, soap, blowers and halters, all the hard work devoted to showing cattle comes down to a winning handshake from the judge. Then the crowd erupts, and phones across the country light up. Jon Gevelinger, December 2010 OSU agribusiness graduate, has a passion and a drive for showing livestock. “I grew up showing since I was seven, and it has always been a passion of mine,” the Wisconsin native said. “I have also always wanted to start my own business.” Little did he know his new business idea would combine his love for showing and a simple text message. In January 2009, Gevelinger traveled to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Many of his friends who could not make the trip sent Gevelinger text messages asking for results. “After the show was over, I got about 15 text messages wanting to know who won,” Gevelinger said. “As soon as the results were announced, I formatted a text and sent a reply to everyone.” As the show’s grand champion was announced, he realized those not attending the shows wanted up-to-date results and a simple text message would be an easy way to spread the news. Gevelinger decided to expound on his lifelong dream of starting a new business all the while remaining involved with his passion for the show ring. With the help of agricultural communications alumna, Kylee Willard, he bought a domain name and designed the website: TheShowText.com. He then hired two OSU computer

science graduate students to create a database linked to his website. On the website people can register to receive tailored show industry updates straight to their phones for $20 a year. “When you sign up,” Gevelinger said, “you select what states and what breeds you want to receive results from.” During the first summer, the duo traveled more then 30,000 miles to promote the new service. “We traveled from Colorado to Georgia and from Wisconsin to Texas to promote TheShowText.com to cattle enthusiasts,” Willard said. “Because Jon is respected within the cattle industry, people were eager to subscribe. “Jon has seen much success in the show ring,” Willard said. “TheShowText. com is Jon’s way of giving back to the industry he knows and loves.” TheShowText.com sends cattle show and sale results, industry updates, collegiate livestock judging contests, advertisements, and entry deadlines. However, only text-capable cell phones can receive the messages. “People who want results also want entry deadlines,” Gevelinger said. “So for Kansas City, Louisville, Denver and Junior Nationals, we send entry deadlines a week in advance.” Show offices today also use TheShowText.com to send urgent messages to exhibitors about changes in start times and other show-day news. “If a show like the National Western has to delay a show because of weather conditions, we can send a message to the subscriber database to notify exhibitors of the new start time,” Willard said.

Since the idea’s conception, the service has continued to see growth. “We might broadcast to 1,500 people while the cattle are still standing in the ring,” Gevelinger said. Willard said one of her favorite things to see is cell phones lighting up around the show ring after the champions are selected and TheShowText.com messages are sent. Several OSU students and faculty are subscribers to TheShowText.com. Blake Bloomberg, a doctoral student in meat science, has known Gevelinger for several years from showing cattle together. “TheShowText.com is a new, fresh, innovative idea,” Bloomberg said. “Most people communicate via text now.” Jake Gankofskie, an agricultural communications junior from Clinton, Maine, grew up showing cattle and sheep raised on his family’s New England farm. He saw an ad for TheShowText.com on Facebook and decided to sign up. “I receive the updates because I like to be ‘in the know,’” said Gankofskie, who has received updates for two years. “It’s such a simple, inexpensive way to stay connected, plus it’s such a cool idea.” Gankofskie said receiving the updates on his phone is much easier and quicker than looking them up online. “Instead of using the Internet or calling someone else, I just wait for results to come in from him,” Bloomberg said. He also said it has helped the show industry across America. “Before TheShowText.com I didn’t know what happened in California or Pennsylvania,” Bloomberg said. “It merges the different show sectors and gives

you a way to find out what specifically happened with any show.” Gevelinger said he wants to continue to look forward to the future and grow the service’s reach. “At some point, I would like to hand the reins of the day-to-day updates of the cattle portion to someone else and focus on sheep and hogs,” Gevelinger said. For the last two years, TheShowText. com only broadcasted cattle results, but Gevelinger said he hopes eventually to expand TheShowText.com to other areas of the show world. “I’m not surprised he would start something like this,” Bloomberg said. “Jon has always been a progressive, innovative-type, outside-the-box thinker.” Quick to redirect credit to friends like J Butler, David Delahay, Brett Carter and Willard for helping him along the way, Gevelinger remains humble and appreciative of his idea’s success. “Without the support and encouragement of these individuals TheShowText.com would not be what it is today,” the founder said. With new ideas and a passion for the industry in which he grew up, Gevelinger and TheShowText.com follow the Cowboy tradition of excellence and keep the show world connected one text at a time. • Amy Brown

grew up on her family’s ranch in Stinnett, Texas. In 2010 she co-founded her website BeefonaBudget.com. She plans to return home and work on the family operation as well as continue to freelance. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 41


magine purchasing a piece of property only to find one of the plants on it is known to grow up to 18 inches a day and form a continuous blanket of foliage that can destroy entire forests. When landowner Anna Marcy found this plant growing on her land near Durant, Okla., her first reaction was panic. “We’re never going to get rid of this,” Marcy said. “I’m probably going to have

to work every day until I’m a hundred years old to get rid of it.” The plant Marcy discovered on her property was Pueraria montana, also known as kudzu, foot-a-night vine and “the vine that ate the South.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, kudzu is a climbing, semiwoody, perennial vine that can grow up to 100 feet in length.

Lena helps owner Anna Marcy remove kudzu from her property near Durant, Okla. 42 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Native to Japan and China, kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 as an ornamental garden plant. Kudzu harms native plants by covering them in a solid blanket of leaves and degrades trees by girdling their trunks, said Karen Hickman, Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council president and Oklahoma State University natural resource ecology and management professor.

photo Hubbard

“It kills native plants by outcompeting them,” Hickman said. “The heaviness of its vines can strip the limbs off trees.” Although kudzu is considered a noxious weed in several states, it is not illegal in Oklahoma, to transplant this vine. This is probably how kudzu has spread throughout the state, Hickman said. If kudzu were listed as a noxious weed in Oklahoma landowners would be legally responsible for controlling it, Hickman said. According to the OkIPC, invasive plants, like kudzu, have the ability to thrive and spread aggressively outside their natural habitat. They can gain a significant ecological edge over native plants because insects, diseases and foraging animals that would naturally keep their growth in check in native environments are not present in their new habitat. Non-native. Exotic. Non-indigenous. Alien. Nuisance. Noxious. Invasive. Encroaching. Whatever you call them, these weeds are wicked. “I’m a native Oklahoman, and I find it troubling,” Hickman said. “Kudzu and other invasive species are threatening the native plants and animals of Oklahoma.” The OkIPC was founded in 2008 by a group of federal and state agencies, universities, non-profit organizations, and industries interested in controlling these wicked weeds. The OkIPC considers kudzu to be one of the most threatening invasive plant species to Oklahoma because of the effect it can have on the state’s environment and economy. Marcy said trying to control the spread of kudzu has cost her and her husband countless hours of labor to clear the vine off their land. “We’ve just been trying to chop down as much as we can, but of course it grows faster than you can clear it,” Marcy said. “No one around here knows how to combat it.” The OkIPC is working hard to facilitate efficient and effective management of invasive plants for the protection of the economic and natural resources of Oklahoma’s private and public land and water, Hickman said. “We need to educate people about what invasive plants are and teach them how to identify and control them early

Research specialist Elaine Stebler inspects rain gages at a redcedar watershed research site on the OSU Cross Timbers Experimental Range. in their invasion,” Hickman said. “It is much less expensive to hit them when their populations are small.” Sericea lespedeza and eastern redcedar are also at the top of Oklahoma’s invasive plant species list. The caretakers of the Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, located in the southern end of the Flint Hills near Pawhuska, Okla., have fought to protect the native ecosystem from invasive plants for more than 10 years. “Sericea and redcedar can dominate the landscape, thereby crippling the ecological and economic benefits that we derive from the land,” said Bob Hamilton, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve director. “These invasive species can drastically change the native plant community

photo Sokolosky

to the detriment of other native species,” Hamilton said. “This can have serious impacts on the prairie’s ability to support native species and agriculture.” Hamilton said sericea lespedeza is the most troubling invasive plant species on the preserve. “We don’t know when it arrived on the scene, but we started control efforts in the mid-1990s,” Hamilton said. The preserve spends $100,000 each year on efforts to control sericea. The typical control method for sericea involves the application of broadleaf herbicides by airplanes. However, this causes damage to native broadleaf plants that comprise the bulk of the Tallgrass Prairie’s plant diversity, Hamilton said. “We have used a spot-spray approach cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 43

photo Sokolosky

An eastern redcedar seedling hides in a patch of native grass.

on the preserve to be more surgical in our control efforts,” Hamilton said. Last summer, the preserve conducted a partnership research project with OSU to look at the effectiveness of spot-spraying and patch-burning as control methods for sericea. “This was the first year of a threeyear project that is funded through a $349,000 USDA Conservation Innovation Grant,” Hamilton said. “The current regional grazing and herbicide control methods are not working, and we hope to develop more creative sericea control ideas through this project.” In addition to the research being conducted at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, scientists in OSU’s natural resources ecology and management department are conducting experiments to help researchers investigate the effects of eastern redcedar on the prairie water cycle. This study on eastern redcedar encroachment and the water cycle of tallgrass prairie looks at effects on the water cycle from the individual redcedar tree

level to the watershed level, said David Engle, OSU Thomas E. Berry professor of water research and management and director of the water research and extension center. In Oklahoma, tallgrass prairie is being transformed into woodland largely because of the encroachment of eastern redcedar. Of Oklahoma’s 17 million acres of rangeland, 8 million acres are overgrown with eastern redcedar, Engle said. If invasive plants like eastern redcedar deplete the water supply, the depletion can negatively affect the state’s economy, Engle said. “Water is the new oil, and if you run out of water, you can’t support a vibrant economy,” Engle said. • Katy Sokolosky

came to OSU from Fort Cobb, Okla., to earn her bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school.

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ate nights and early mornings are regular occurrences for college students with heavy class loads, long work hours, piles of homework and the occasional extracurricular or volunteer activity. Student members of the Cowboy Motorsports team are no different. Ryan Johnson, Cowboy Motorsports director, said the team is a practical, preprofessional organization led by student volunteers. The group focuses on building a quarter-scale tractor, which resembles a small yard tractor and can be used to mow lawns or pull carts. “The opportunities for the students are to work on the complicated project and to develop fellowship with other students,” said Scott Frazier, co-adviser for the group. “The students who are involved in this real business project are desired in the workforce.” Paul Weckler, associate professor in biosystems and agricultural engineering, said he knows, through academic advising, many of the students involved. He helps them by providing technical assistance during the building process. “It’s a great way to get practical, hands-on experience by taking a problem or a design project from beginning to end,” Weckler said. Although Cowboy Motorsports is a department-sponsored program through the American Society of Agricultural and 46 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Biological Engineers, it is open to all students. To join the team, a person must become a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and attend the weekly meetings, said Kaden Wanger, a biosystems and agricultural engineering junior. “I would say 98 percent of our membership is biosystems and agricultural engineering students, but we do have a communications and marketing major along with an agricultural education major who are on the team,” Johnson said. “We write a cost analysis and cost reports and give a full market-to-marketing presentation on the tractor, so we are open to having people of different majors involved,” he said. Those who are involved have a good time and meet students from other departments, said Michael Buser, an assistant professor in biosystems and agricultural engineering and co-adviser for the group. Being a part of Cowboy Motorsports helps the students interact with each other while putting their skills to practical use. The tractor they build is taken to the ASABE international competition held in June in Peoria, Ill. This competition gives students the opportunity to have industry leaders see their work, Buser said. “The way the competition is oriented all majors from business, economics, communications, and leadership can

benefit from being involved,” said Collin Craige, a biosystems and agricultural engineering sophomore. George Tietz, a biosystems and agricultural engineering junior, said the competition consists of a tractor pull and various presentations including a team presentation, a written design report and a cost estimate report. Teams also are judged on user safety, product cost, maneuverability and ergonomics. The competition is divided into nine categories and 21 sub-categories. Each one is worth a set number of points for a grand total of 2,250 points. “Most people think of the [tractor] pull as the main part of the competition, but it is only worth 800 points out of 2,250 points,” Buser said. Johnson said the tractor-pull segment of the competition consists of four individual pulls grouped in two weight classes. During each pull the team’s tractor is to pull an attached sled down the track. He said the sled has a weight that increases as the tractor progresses down the track as fast as it can. The pull is measured from where the tractor starts to where it quits pulling the sled. Cowboy Motorsports usually takes two teams to the international competition. Upperclassmen make up the Ateam, which acts as the varsity team. The team gets updated rules each year and produces a tractor from start to finish.

Kevin Rowe (back right) and Jared Kinder (front right) make last-minute changes to the tractor before the static design category at 2010 ASABE International Competition.

“The A-team each year will produce a completely new tractor,” Johnson said. “You can’t use the same frame, but you can use all the same parts.” Weckler said underclassmen are on the X-team, which functions as the junior varsity. Their objective is to take the tractor from the previous year and modify it. “The X-team will take last year’s tractor and change at least 20 percent of it to make it their own,” Tietz said. Weckler said part of the A-team’s responsibilities are to supervise what the XTeam does. He said the older members encourage the younger members to spend more time at the shop, which makes them more likely to get involved. “In the beginning, the X-team hands the tools to those working, then they start working on the tractor, and by the time they are upperclassmen, they will be the ones producing the A-team tractor,” Weckler said. At the 2010 international competition, Cowboy Motorsports’ A-team placed seventh of 23 teams, reaching its

goal to win the ergonomics sub-category. Johnson, who serves as the A-team director, said he was pleased with the results of last year’s competition but feels this year’s tractor needs improvements. The team still has high goals, he said. “I was really happy with their success,” Frazier said. “To do well in even one or two categories was impressive.” The success at the 2010 competition continues a tradition for the OSU Cowboy Motorsports teams. The 2004 team won the international championship, and in 2005, the team won all the sub-categories, which led them to winning the international championship. “I would say our goal is beyond just winning an international championship,” Johnson said. “I would say a lot of it, too, is the networking.” Aside from opportunities for competition and interaction with professionals in several different industries, members of Cowboy Motorsports gain valuable experiences from their involvement. “[Cowboy Motorsports] provides a

photo Hinds

good connection between what you learn in the classroom, how to apply it in the real world, and the problems that come with that,” Craige said. Frazier said students need to gain real-life experience working with other students from different majors to accomplish a project. He said when the students enter the work force they will be forced to communicate with people in other departments. Having this experience will help them succeed after graduation. “I hope from being on the team the students learn practical, real-world experience,” Weckler said. “Even more I hope they gain the ability to work as a team and self-confidence to tackle a problem that doesn’t have the answer in the back of the book.” • Sarah Bates of Purcell, Okla., attended Connors State College before transferring to Oklahoma State University. Following graduation she plans to pursue a career in communications.

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 47

Runn Run wit


Erin White, agricultural economics senior, trains for the Oklahoma City Marathon with her dog, Zoe. 48 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Wiggins

ome runners listen to music, while others run in silence to organize their thoughts. Some greet the orange haze peaking over the horizon in the morning rather than run under a blanket of stars. Even though each runner has an individual routine, one group of runners in Stillwater has chosen to come together for a common purpose. Four years ago, David Porter, department head of the Oklahoma State University Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, formed a running team to participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon to honor faculty within the department who are fighting cancer. “Unfortunately, we have always had someone here in the past who has battled cancer or just found out they have cancer,” Porter said. Along with honoring a cancer victim, Porter said running has helped him work off stress. “I know a lot of our students and faculty are stressed,” Porter said. “We are not always doing the healthy things to work off that stress, so that was part of my motivation of forming a team.” Last year, the team also participated in the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa after learning that their friend and col-

nning ning th a Purpose

The race and being a part of it is one thing, but coming together to focus on a great cause is what it is all about. –– David Porter

league Brent Westerman was diagnosed with cancer. The team called themselves “Westerman’s Warriors.” Porter said he encouraged the formation of another team in the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology to run in Westerman’s honor. Although Westerman died three days before the race, the teams came together and ran in his memory. Jonathan Edelson, assistant director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and professor of entomology, participated on the team in memory of his friend and colleague. “My own father died of cancer, so I give to cancer-related charities and organizations every year anyway, so this was a good way to do it,” Edelson said. Between the two marathon races, the teams raised $6,235 for the American Cancer Society. This year, instead of running in the OKC race in honor of a cancer victim, the team decided to run in honor of 8-month-old Emily Grace Stiegler, who was involved in a car accident on Christmas Eve 2010. Emily is the sole survivor of the accident that took the lives of her parents and OSU alumni, Jenny and Chris Stiegler.

Porter talked to Emily’s grandfather, Jim Stiegler, OSU emeritus professor and former head of the plant and soil sciences department, about forming the team to help raise funds for Emily. “I was thinking we were just going to do one team like we did in the past, keeping it low key,” Porter said. “Other people started to find out about it, and they started volunteering. It has gone beyond just the department and into other departments within DASNR. Momentum is gathering and pulling these teams together to help.” Porter said seven student teams and four faculty teams, a total of 55 runners, were formed to run in honor of Emily for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on May 1. Amber Eytcheson and Sarah Battenfield, plant and soil sciences graduate students, are working together as the cochairs for the student teams. “We have had such a wonderful response from the students, both undergraduate and graduate,” Eytcheson said. “Even students who did not know Dr. Steigler have heard about Emily and want to help.” Among the student teams, six students are finishing their thesis to gradu-

ate in May, Battenfield said. A lot of the students said running is a good way to release their stress from schoolwork. In addition to helping Emily, Eytcheson said each student has his or her own motivations for running. She said she runs in memory of her brother who died two years ago. “My brother died in a tragic accident, and I could never imagine losing your son, your daughter-in-law, and almost losing your grandbaby like Dr. Steigler has,” Eytcheson said. “You just want to do everything possible for them, and this is a way we can show our support.” Battenfield said the department’s Brazilian students have demonstrated a lot of support, as well. “I was really impressed with the students from Brazil who have volunteered to run,” Battenfield said. “Dr. Stiegler helped form the program that allowed the students from Brazil to participate in the foreign exchange program with our department specifically.” Battenfield said many of the Brazilian students thought running “was the least they could do to help” Steigler’s family because he had assisted them in so many ways before. “This is a way to honor the people cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 49

when they go through events like fighting cancer or loss of family to an accident and show them they are not alone,” Porter said. “There are not a lot of ways that people like you and me can really show our support for people who are going through certain events in their lives. “This was a more tangible way to express to them how much they mean to us. It is not like sitting with them in the hospital or running errands for them at home, which a lot of us cannot do. This is a way we can get together and show support for one another.” Porter said an extra benefit that has come from being a part of the marathon teams is closer relationships between faculty and students. This has been a way to increase camaraderie among colleagues. “The race and being a part of it is one thing, but coming together to focus on a great cause is what it is all about,” Porter said. • Sarah Osborn

is an agricultural communications senior and grew up in Cordell, Okla. She plans to move to Tuttle, Okla., to pursue a career in journalism.

During the Christmas Eve 2010 accident that killed her parents, Chris and Jenny, Emily Stiegler sustained two broken femurs and a small skull fracture. The Emily Grace Stiegler Fund at the Citizens State Bank in Stillwater, Okla., continues to accept donations to assist with Emily’s medical expenses. To contribute to the fund, please call Citizens State Bank at 405-533-3737. 50 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Johnson

Awards abound for the 2010-11 OSU Livestock Judging Team, joined here by CASNR administrators: Ed Miller (front left), Brent Wellings, Darin Annuschat, Holly Hogue, Ashley Hop, Lacey Meder, Megan Bryant, Kaylee Krebs, Mike McCusker-Kinna, Clint Mefford, Ron Kessinger, Bob Whitson, Jorge Huizar (back left), Kelsey Pfeiffer, Jeremy Leister, Garrett Knebel, Nick Pope, Jett Eder, Chase Reed, Jared Givens, Mark Johnson and Cheryl Devyst.

Repeat Champions


klahoma State University earned national champion livestock judging honors at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 15, 2010. In 2010, the team completed one of the most successful seasons in intercollegiate competition history with team wins at the Mid-American Classic in Wichita, Kan., and at the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo. Team members garnered numerous individual honors at the NAILE: • Darin Annuschat, Kingfisher, Okla. — 12th high individual overall; • Kaylee Kerbs, Saratoga, Wyo. — 3rd high individual overall, 2nd high individual in reasons, 8th high individual in sheep, high individual in performance cattle and high individual in overall cattle; • Garrett Knebel, Winamac, Ind. — 6th high individual in reasons and 4th high individual in cattle; • Clint Mefford, Central Point, Ore. — 2nd high individual overall, 3rd high individual in reasons, 5th high individual in cattle, high individual in swine reasons and high individual overall swine; and • Chase Reed, Winfield, Kan. — 10th high individual in reasons and 3rd high individual in cattle. Four team members earned 2010 Academic All-American Team honors at Louisville: Megan Bryant, Pawnee, Okla.; Jett Eder, Sharon Springs, Kan.; Mike McCusker-Kinna, Middletown, Md.; and Garrett Knebel, Winamac, Ind. The team also turned in the highest score recorded at the American Royal: 4,782 of 5,000 points. The OSU team is coached by five-time National Coach of the Year, Mark Johnson, and assisted by Brent Wellings, a meat science master’s student from West Union, W. Va.

It Pays to be a Member ‌ Save hundreds on: Athletic Tickets Auto Insurance Alumni Brick Pavers Bowl Game Lodging Career Services Home Insurance Savings Connection (800 merchants nationwide)

Student Store (in Person and Online) 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 Tel 405.744.5368 • Fax 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org

Wes Eitzen, a Major County master gardener, uses a homemade tool to aerate a flower bed in his garden. 52 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photo Hiebert

gardener’s green thumb has almost become lost in translation as technology and science continue taking over agriculture. To preserve gardening and to avoid becoming a “dying breed,” students are learning about gardening the old fashioned way – from the masters. The Master Gardener Program is designed to allow adults with previous gardening experience to become more trained in techniques and skills used in gardening, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University coordinator for the Master Gardener Program. “Master Gardener Programs are designed to be more of an educational program, where the members are trained and then often go into a school or a presentation of some kind to educate the general public on different types of gardening,” Hillock said. Oklahoma has 26 counties with Master Gardener Programs and more than 1,000 members in the state, Hillock said. OSU county extension educators are in charge of the individual groups. Hillock receives a yearly report from each county group to oversee the program’s overall progress and activities. Each group addresses community needs from an educational standpoint or a beautification process, Hillock said. “Master Gardener projects can come about in two ways,” Hillock said. “The county educator identifies a project that needs done and he or she approaches the master gardener with that project. Sometimes a master gardener comes to a county educator with a need and says that a certain project would be good.” The Tulsa County Master Gardener Program has committees that allow members to choose which activities they would like to focus on and commit their time to, said Sue Venable, Tulsa County Master Gardener member.

“We have Master Gardeners in the Classroom, which is a vital committee with men and women who go into our public schools and give programs about everything from worms to trees to spiders, and that’s always an exciting time,” Venable said. To become certified as a master gardener, a volunteer must complete 40 hours of training followed by 40 hours of service, all of which is completed in the first year, Hillock said. Each year after that, a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service and 20 hours of continuing education are required to remain active in the Master Gardener Program. The only cost members have for the Master Gardener Program is the training, Venable said. While the cost varies among the counties, an average $100 fee covers the necessary training materials. “We have 12 lessons that are daylong events every Wednesday for 12 weeks,” Venable said. “The training is fabulous. It’s worth every cent. You make friends that you would never make any other way, and you continue to see them throughout the sessions, which is great.” Hillock said the group’s objective is to increase outreach from county offices. “Having volunteers helps the county extension agent meet the needs of his or her clientele. That gives them an opportunity to focus more on other responsibilities,” he said. Garfield County Extension Educator Jeff Bedwell said he has had a rewarding experience working with the Garfield County Master Gardener Program. “Our group here in Garfield County has been very focused on reaching out to the schools and working to introduce gardening skills to youth,” Bedwell said. Monthly meetings allow members to keep each other accountable and provides time for members to get together and continue the training, Bedwell said.

Vinca plants, also known as Periwinkle, begin to grow in a greenhouse. Soon these plants will be transferred to an outdoor garden. “Most of our members work in small groups highlighting different aspects of gardening, which has allowed our educational presentations to be very specific to audiences we speak to,” Bedwell said. The Garfield County Master Gardener Program is looking forward to hosting the Oklahoma Master Gardener Conference this summer, Bedwell said. “Part of the required Master Gardener training is done during one day of the summer conference, which is a time when members from all across the state join together to discuss and listen to speakers,” Bedwell said. “Hosting the conference should be a good experience, which I hope will allow our chapter to gain recognition as well as hear some positive feedback and critiques on our current community programs.” The one-day conference is held in early summer offering training opportunities as well as hosting speakers, going on tours, and conducting demonstrations for the members. “In the past five or six years, we’ve had 250 to 300 in attendance,” Hillock said. “We do move the conference around the state, which I think is really good because it gives participants an opportunity to go around the state and see what is going on in other places in terms of horticulture as

photo Hiebertt

well as allowing them to meet and discuss with other master gardeners.” One of the greatest parts of the Oklahoma Master Gardener Program is the opportunity we have to give to others, Venable said. “There’s plenty to do for other people if you don’t have your own garden,” Venable said. “It is a great opportunity to go out into someone else’s yard and give what you can in that way.” “We have a committee here in Tulsa that plans the gardens and the landscaping around the Habitat for Humanity homes, she said, and those families are always really appreciative of that because they wouldn’t have a chance to have a nice-looking yard without it.” With more than 20 committees, Tulsa County Master Gardeners work hard to help promote gardening and horticultural knowledge throughout the community, Venable said. “There’s always a place to get your hands dirty around here,” Venable said. • Holly Hiebert

grew up on her family’s farm and cattle operation near Fairview, Okla. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a career promoting the importance of agriculture to the public. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 53


ach year, the top seniors in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources receive special recognition for their accomplishments at Oklahoma State University before they move on to their careers. From more than 400 graduating seniors, 13 were honored as the 2010-2011 CASNR Outstanding Seniors and the top five seniors received the Dean LeCrone Award. Environmental science major Jeremy Bennett was named outstanding senior and received the Paul and Mary Hummer award at the 2011 CASNR banquet. An Oklahoma City native, Bennett also received the Morris K. Udall scholarship, was a Truman Scholar finalist, and served as president of Aggie-X. “The distinguishing mark or feature that I have been able to impress upon CASNR as well as the global community is indisputably epitomized in my ability to act as an ambassador,” Bennett said. Along with Bennett, four other students were named Dean LeCrone award winners as the top five seniors in CASNR. Stephanie Bowen, an agricultural communications major from Newcastle, Okla., was involved in university activities such as CASNR Ambassadors and Mortar Board, and she served as Cowboy Journal co-editor. “OSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources surround students with a successful environ-

ment,” Bowen said. “Making a difference through my involvement on campus is a small contribution compared to the impact this college has made on my life.” Originally from New Mexico, Sarah Oppel said college has provided her with opportunities to grow in knowledge, leadership, volunteerism and Cowboy spirit. A biochemistry and molecular biology major, she has been a Wentz Research Scholar, an Ag 1011 Student Academic Mentor and a member of the American Student Dental Association. “CASNR has provided me with a multitude of opportunities to participate in and has made a large impact on my college experience,” Oppel said. Sarah Fry, an agribusiness major from Omega, Okla., participated in Alpha Zeta and served as the OSU Student Foundation campus promotions executive. “My four years at OSU have been full of opportunities to learn as a student and grow as an individual through scholarship, leadership and service to my college and university,” Fry said. As an agricultural economics major, Paula Smithheisler of Tonkawa, Okla., has served two semesters as a Student Academic Mentor for Ag 1011 and participated in Phi Kappa Phi and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. “OSU has always felt like a home to me and inspired me to participate more, work harder and be a part of the community that so warmly embraced me as an

incoming freshman,” Smithheisler said. The additional 2011 Outstanding Seniors were Paul Barbour, an agribusiness major from Guthrie, Okla.; Karolyn Bolay, an agricultural communications major from Perry, Okla.; Megan Bryant, an animal science major from Pawnee, Okla.; Jason Ferguson, a plant and soil sciences major from Norman, Okla.; Gretchen Frost, an animal science major from Tallula, Ill.; Ryan Ramseyer, an agricultural economics major from Wichita, Kan.; Johnna Rushin, an agricultural economics and accounting major from Yukon, Okla.; Wyatt Swinford, an agribusiness major from Okemah, Okla.; and Lindy Wiggins, an agricultural communications major from Eureka, Kan. Several other CASNR students, faculty members and staff were honored during the banquet, including animal science major Clairissa Craige, who received the Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman Award. Daniel Stein, livestock production assistant professor, accepted the CASNR Ambassador Outstanding Adviser and Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teacher honors. Barbara Brown, administrative assistant for the entomology and plant pathology department, received the Outstanding Professional Staff Award. The 2011 Outstanding Club Award was given to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. • — Melissa Korrey

Top: Thirteen seniors become CASNR Outstanding Seniors, including Paul Barbour (left), Lindy Wiggins, Jeremy Bennett, Stephanie Bowen, Karolyn Bolay, Sarah Fry, Megan Bryant, Gretchen Frost, Connor Ferguson, Johnna Rushin, Sarah Oppel, Paula Smithheisler and Ryan Ramseyer. Middle left: Barbara Brown (center right) accepts the Outstanding Professional Staff award from Haley Baumgardner (left), Phil Mulder and Justin Siler. Middle right: Dan Stein (right) receives the Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teacher Award from Andy Harding. Bottom left: Jeremy Bennett displays his Dean Fred LeCrone Top Five Senior Award. Bottom right: Clairissa Craige (center) receives the Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman Award from Bob Whitson (left) and Ed Miller. 54 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

photos Johnson

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 55

Board Member Highlight

Gardner Keeps Close Ties to CASNR

photo courtesy Gardner

Growing up in Sharon, Okla., Oklahoma State University alumnus Kent Gardner stayed busy working on his family ranch and helping his neighbors with their farm and ranch operations, but not too busy for 4-H and FFA. “I grew up heavily involved in 4-H and FFA,” Gardner said. “I showed all three species of livestock, was a FFA speech contest winner, and I was elected 4-H Northwest District vice president.” Gardner said being engaged in agriculture instills a work ethic in a person at an early age. As the person ages, having this background provides a certain perspective on various tasks, he said.

Being involved in agriculture provides people “with the willingness to roll up their sleeves and go to work,” said the 2001 agricultural economics alumnus. After graduating from Sharon-Mutual High School, Gardner attended OSU. “I am the youngest of five to attend OSU,” Gardner said. “Four of my brothers have degrees from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and one brother earned three degrees from there.” Before becoming a Cowboy, Gardner’s brothers encouraged him to be involved in campus organizations. He was Agricultural Student Council president and attorney general for the Student Government Association. He was on the Homecoming Executive Committee, on the Student Alumni Board and in Blue Key Honor Society. In 2000, he was selected as a Truman Scholar. “If it was an activity available, I pretty much did it,” Gardner said. After graduating, Gardner attended the University of Oklahoma to earn a Juris Doctorate. He then practiced law for four years in Oklahoma City with the Hartzog, Conger, Cason and Neville Firm. During this time, Gardner did business with Bob Funk, which opened a door for a new career.

Thank you, sponsors! The CASNR Alumni Association thanks its sponsors for their support, which makes events such as the annual homecoming barbecue possible. 56 CJ Summer/Fall 2011

Gold level:

Central National Bank • Express Ranches Bank of Kremlin • Johnston Enterprises Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma

Silver level:

Grissoms LLC John Deere Jackson County Farm Bureau P & K Equipment Inc.

“While I was working for the firm, I was doing work with Bob Funk, and we became close through our business ventures,” Gardner said. “One day we decided it made sense that I work for him full-time instead of practicing law.” In 2008, Gardner became vice president and general counsel for the Funk companies, including Express Ranches and Express Employment Professionals. Today, Gardner maintains his ties to agriculture in personal ventures and in his daily work with the Funk companies. “Mr. Funk has the largest seedstock cattle ranch in the Unites States, and he has another huge ranch in New Mexico,” Gardner said, “so I am absolutely still involved in agriculture on a daily basis.” Gardner stays involved with OSU alumni through his service on the CASNR Alumni Association board of directors and on the Leadership Council for the OSU Alumni Association. “Staying connected to OSU is important to me because I place a high value on the education I received and the relationships I developed there,” Gardner said. “I want to be sure and give back in as many capacities as I can to ensure that others are also able to enjoy a great college experience.” • — Sarah Bates

Bronze level:

Chisholm Trail Credit • Cassidy Grain Bank of Kremlin • Michael Marlow Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma Farm Credit of Central Oklahoma Kyle Hughbanks • Kate Robertson Oklahoma Grain & Feed Association Oklahoma Farm Bureau • Ken Starks Monsanto Company • Don Roberts Bill Fanning • Chris & Tara Thompson American Farmers & Ranchers Woods & Waters Winery

Summer/Fall 2011

Make Plans to Return to … Where Your Story Began


CASNR Alumni Barbecue Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 Wes Watkins Center • 11 a.m.* *If the OSU vs. Baylor football game begins before 2 p.m., the barbecue will follow the game.

395 5 4 -74 your 5 0 4 l Cal reser ve day! to kets to tic

Alumni Honor CASNR Faculty Every two years, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources polls alumni to determine who merits the distinction of receiving the Exemplary Faculty Award. “We have outstanding faculty within CASNR, and this is one way we are able to recognize the positive impacts they have on students,” said Cheryl DeVuyst, assistant dean for academic programs. Alumni are asked to list the faculty members who made a substantial impact on their personal, professional and academic growth, but no faculty names are provided as options, relying solely on the alumni to provide the names. “The alumni provide the names of professors they feel had significant influence on their careers,” DeVuyst said. “Those mentioned most frequently receive the award.” For many of the professors, this is the second or even third time they have received the Exemplary Faculty Award since the program started in 2004. This is a testament to the enduring quality of CASNR faculty, DeVuyst said. “This recognition is one of the greatest honors we can receive because the selection is totally based on our daily interaction with students,” said animal science professor Jerry Fitch. • — John-Kyle Truitt

2011 Exemplary Faculty Agricultural Economics Kim B. Anderson Mike Dicks Bailey Norwood Joe Schatzer Dan Tilley Horticulture & Landscape Architecture Louis B. Anella Greg Bell Janet Cole Animal Science Steven Cooper Jerry Fitch Bob Kropp Brad Morgan Agricultural Education, Communications & Leadership Shelly Peper Sitton Cindy S. Blackwell James Leising Plant & Soil Sciences Jeffory A. Hattey Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Eldon C. Nelson

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumni Association Board of Directors J o h n C o t h re n P re s i d e n t S h aw n e e , O k l a . Ky l e H u g h b a n k s V i c e P re s i d e n t Alva, Okla. Dana Bessinger S e c re t a r y Wa t o n g a , O k l a . C h e r y l D eVu y s t E xe c u t i ve S e c re t a r y Morrison, Okla. Mechelle Hampton Tu l s a , O k l a . Ke n t G a rd n e r O k l a h o m a C i t y, O k l a . J a m e s F a r re l l O k l a h o m a C i t y, O k l a . Coleman Hickman Jenks, Okla. D o n Ro b e r t s Enid, Okla. T h e re s a Ru ny a n A rd m o re , O k l a . We s E l l i o t t E l k C i t y, O k l a . Ke n S p ad y Hinton, Okla. B r i a n Vowe l l S t i l l w a t e r, O k l a .

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 57


March 1, 2011 - July 15, 2012

Builders of Men since 1928 ... Building on Tradition Building for the Future New house opens in Fall 2012 at 305 S. Monroe 37,000 sq. ft. with capacity for 88 members

FarmHouse Fraternity Oklahoma State Chapter

Awards Darrel ‘Dean’ Troxel Outstanding Fraternity 36 of the last 42 years • Darrel ‘Dean’ Troxel Outstanding Campus Involvement Darrel ‘Dean’ Troxel Outstanding Campus Relations • Scholarship Cup: Best Grades Among Fraternities 77 of the last 84 years Thomas Keys Most Outstanding Pledge Class 25 of the last 30 years

FarmHouse Fraternity 424 N. Washington St. Stillwater, OK 74075 405-372-7264

Individual Honors 12 Seniors of Significance for 2009 and 2010 • 5 Top 15 Homecoming Royalty 1 Outstanding Senior • 2 Top 10 Freshman Men • 4 Top 20 Freshman Men www.fhosu.com rushosufh@yahoo.com

Cowboy Journal Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership 448 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, OK 74078-6031

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource


136 Ag Hall • Stillwater, OK 74078 • 405-744-9464 • http://casnr.okstate.edu

Profile for Cowboy Journal

Cowboy Journal v13n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 13, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2011 College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University

Cowboy Journal v13n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 13, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2011 College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University


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