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College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University

Volume 15 Number 2 • Summer/Fall 2013

Numbing the Nerve

Researchers explore dehorning pain

Investigating the Field

4-H’ers discover biosecurity

Binoculars on the Birds

‘Bird Man’ inspires CASNR students

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protecting oklahoma since 1905

AUTO . HOME . FARM . LIFE cjp_2_afrinsurance.indd 2

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Food Innovation 4-H Insect Zoo Science Success Economics Career

Scholarships TradiTion Services

OklahOma State UniverSity Plant Conservation forensics

Pre-Vet Bioscience

Faculty CreativityAdvising

Science Science

Research LeadershipWater



Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Excellence Animal Pre-Law

Science SOIL OIL Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Division of


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Cowboy boots, a rodeo tradition, are functional and fashionable protection for contestants. See related story on page 33. Photo by Halston Courson.

Letter from the Editors As we reflect on this time-honored publication’s 30th issue, we are proud to have upheld the integrity of its illustrious reputation. As editors, we are gratified to have served our college, and we hope the contents of this publication are enjoyed by all. Flipping through the pages of this edition, you will find delicious pancakes, a stylish OSU ride, a Manhattan Cowboy and one sexy bug, among many other exciting updates. We thank our staff members for their tireless dedication to making this issue high-class. We are honored to have worked alongside each of you throughout this process. You are all Cowboys at heart, and we know there will be great things to come. We express great appreciation to Jessica Agnew, Jessica Stewart, Bonnie Milby and Lisa Brown for their flexibility and attention to detail while helping to proofread this magazine. Thank you to our assistant managing editors Dwayne Cartmell, Traci Naile and Angel Riggs for your continued support of this publication and of us as developing professionals. We appreciate you taking time to ensure the content of our department’s magazine is superior.

We extend a special thanks to Mitch Alcala and Todd Johnson for your assistance with photography and continued support of Cowboy Journal. To OSU alumni Randy Talley, Jeremy Leister and Dana Bessinger as well as Maryglenn McCombs, independent book publicist, thank you for your generous assistance with everything from photography to content supplements. Finally, the greatest thank you of all goes to our managing editor and mentor, Shelly Sitton. Without your meticulous nature, this magazine would not be one of the best student publications in the nation. Now that this semester is over, you can kick back, relax, and put your feet up — until August rolls around, that is. We are truly blessed to have been educated at Oklahoma State University. The lessons we have learned through our college endeavors will remain forever engrained as the Cowboy way.

— Kelsey, Katy & Lacey

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Contents Editors

Kelsey Conley Katy Fitzgerald Lacey Newlin

Photo Coordinators

Emily Beanland Jaylene Hunter Parks

Graphic Coordinator

Jennie Johnson

Sponsorship Coordinators

Bailey Toates Amanda Travis

Circulation Coordinator

Kelsey Cottom

Managing Editor

Shelly Peper Sitton, Ph.D.

Assistant Managing Editors

Dwayne Cartmell, Ph.D. Traci Naile, Ph.D. Angel Riggs, Ph.D.


Jackson Alexander, Lori Allmon, Clancy Anderson, Emily Andreini, Andy Barth, Halston Courson, Morgan Meisenheimer, Brooke Summers, Paige Vandaveer and Sidney Worrell

About the Cover

Enjoying an early spring day. Photo by Halston Courson.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability or status as a veteran in any of its politics, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services. This publication is printed by QuadGraphics-Midland and issued two times a year by agricultural communications seniors in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It has been prepared and distributed at no cost to the taxpayers of Oklahoma.

Volume 15 Number 2

Featured on the Cover

10 Bird’s Eye View — by Halston Courson 18 An Alternative Solution — by Katy Fitzgerald 28 4-H Forensics — by Lacey Newlin

Inside this Issue

6 Mission: Possible — by Kelsey Conley

14 Tradition of Policy — by Lori Allmon 21 An Unexpected Journey — by Amanda Travis 24 Home on the Osage Range — by Bailey Toates 33 Changing Leads — by Morgan Meisenheimer 38 Gift to Get Them There — by Jackson Alexander 43 One Sexy Bug — by Kelsey Cottom 46 Manhattan Cowboy — by Emily Beanland 49 Ration for Success — by Emily Andreini 51 Leaving a Legacy — by Jackson Alexander 52 The Whole Story — by Clancy Anderson 54 Renewed Relationships — by Jennie Johnson 58 Beneath the Cottonwood Trees — by Paige Vandaveer 60 More than Just a Girl — by Brooke Summers 63 Protecting the Prairie — by Jaylene Hunter Parks 66 ‘Up and In’ to a Life of Success — by Andy Barth 69 Thinking Inside the Box — by Sidney Worrell 72 CASNR Alumni News — by CJ Staff COWBOY JOURNAL | 5

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From a young age, Wilbur Thomas wanted to play a role in agriculture, but little did he know it would become his life’s mission.


e gazed with delight on the empty garden plots in his “I never thought I would become involved in international backyard. While the plots were not yet blooming with agriculture or international development in agriculture,” Thomas fruits and vegetables, one could not deny the pride said. “I always saw myself being a part of the domestic U.S. blooming from Wilbur Thomas as he explained what would be agriculture sector when I first enrolled in agriculture at Oklahoma found in early spring. Amid an old swing set with a yellow slide, it State University in 1964. I thought I would pursue a career in was easy to imagine the fresh fruit and vegetables ready to harvest. industry or university research.” “Once you have been involved in agriculture, it never leaves While at OSU, Thomas was a part of the national you,” said Thomas, Oklahoma State University alumnus and retired championship poultry judging team in 1967 and the Poultry U.S. Agency for International Development mission director. “In Science Club. After graduating from OSU and serving in Vietnam, my personal life, I always try to show what Thomas said he began working on a corporate Once you have been involved poultry-breeding farm in Illinois. the individual could do.” Even in retirement, Thomas said, he in agriculture, it will never Thomas said OSU alumnus Maurice finds a way to be involved in agriculture. leave you. Malony invited him to work in West Africa — Wilbur Thomas on a poultry production project. Throughout his career, Thomas prepared or Ret. USAID Mission Director supervised the preparation of more than 50 “I thought long and hard about that,” projects and served 27 years in West African field assignments. He Thomas said, “but he was very persuasive.” was a USAID mission director in three countries and a deputy After the African project was complete, Thomas enrolled in mission director in another. graduate school at the University of Illinois in the animal science Thomas retired in 1996 from USAID, but he was called department. He completed his master’s in environmental animal back to serve in Liberia in 2004 and still works in retirement to management in 1975 and his doctorate in poultry nutrition and encourage others to pursue a career in agriculture. international agriculture in 1977. Thomas said his early love of agriculture stemmed from During his time at the University of Illinois, USAID officials growing up on a family farm located south of Muskogee, Okla. noticed his project and performance in the Senegal River basin and One of 13 children, he said gathering firewood was the first chore asked if he wanted to become a permanent staff member. he remembers being assigned on the farm. “I graduated in October 1977, and in November of 1977, I “We worked on a farm with the animals and did all sorts of was on a plane to Senegal for my first assignment,” Thomas said. farm stuff with cows, pigs, ducks, geese and chickens,” said Cora Thomas served as the regional livestock adviser for Senegal, Beasley, Thomas’ sister. “We had it all.” Mauritania and Cape Verde for two years, where he organized and Thomas said his farm upbringing influenced him to join implemented two major drought relief programs. New Farmers of America in high school, which was the vocational “My dad has always been committed to public service,” agriculture organization for black youth. said Sonia Thomas, daughter of Wilbur Thomas. “He started in “The NFA creed proved to be poignant in my career,” agriculture and was able to move up the ranks.” Thomas said. “Somehow or another, this creed covers domestic Thomas then served in USAID as Niger’s senior adviser for all and international agricultural programs, and little did I know it at agricultural investments. Thomas said Niger is the country where the time, but it still resonates today.” he thinks he had the greatest impact. During his time in NFA, Thomas served as the last state “Niger was a food-deficit country at that time because president before the organization’s integration into the Future of a drought and weak agricultural institutions,” Thomas said. Farmers of America in 1965. “We were successful in leveraging reforms that would improve agricultural productivity.” Wilbur Thomas helped prepare more than 50 project designs with a total budget of more than $4 billion. Photo by Kelsey Conley. Thomas and his staff helped reform research institutions COWBOY JOURNAL | 7

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In his backyard near Muskogee, Okla.,Wilbur Thomas admires the garden where he grows fresh fruits and vegetables. Photo by Kelsey Conley.

to focus on food production rather than on cash crops grown for export and not for domestic food consumption. They also established a national cereal program. “We established a drought monitoring program and early warning system,” Thomas said. “That system, called Famine Early Warning Systems, is now used Africa-wide.” Thomas’ international contribution also had a family impact. “Living in a foreign country was a great experience for me,” Sonia Thomas said. “I was able to travel and live in developing countries. I got varying points of view in agriculture. It was a lasting and cool experience to have growing up.” Thomas said he also felt one of the most significant impacts he has had working in the USAID was when he was called out of retirement to work in Liberia. “Liberia went through a 10-year war, and when USAID wanted to put its aid programs on the ground, they wanted one of the most experienced mission directors,” Thomas said. “Throughout the program, we assisted with democracy and governance, restricted institutions, and, as a result, conducted elections that led to the first female president in Africa.” Thomas said, although he is back in retirement, he does not plan to slow down promoting agricultural development programs, specifically in food security. “What I hope to do in my post, post-retirement is to promote programs in food security,” Thomas said, “either directly at the farm level or indirectly by recruiting young professionals, grooming them to pursue careers in agriculture that will lend themselves to improving food security worldwide. After all, it is a national priority as well as an international priority, the ability to have a food-secure world.”

Thomas said he also serves on the Retired Educators for Youth Agricultural Programs, or REYAP, board. This organization promotes pathways to careers in agriculture, specifically for culturally diverse youth. Each year, the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources hosts the REYAP Agriculture Science and Technology Institute, where students participate in science-based research in preparation for local, state and national competitions. “The more we can get students involved in agriculture, the more they will have a bright future,” Thomas said. Thomas said anyone interested in getting involved with international agriculture needs to first pursue a favorite technical program in agriculture, learn a language, and take a course in an international subject. “We become what we think about,” Thomas said. “If we think positive thoughts, we become a positive person. If we think negative thoughts, we become a negative person. I have always tried to be positive.” From working on a family farm as a young boy to developing African agricultural programs, Wilbur Thomas discovered his life’s mission. The miles he has traveled and roles in which he has served shaped not only who he is but also his perspective on the world. Thomas said he works daily to be a champion for agriculture and preserve a way of life he holds so dear. CJ

Kelsey Conley Pickerington, Ohio Marketing and Public R elations

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Speaks French, Vietnamese and Bambara. Described by Cora Beasley, his sister, as focused, enterprising and energetic. Received his master’s in public administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell Institute in 1984 at age 38. Held positions that required nomination by the President of the United States and Senate confirmation. Both of Thomas’ children graduated from OSU. Was U.S. Army first lieutenant while serving in Vietnam and received the bronze star and air medals for meritorious service. Shook Nelson Mandela’s hand “several times.” Awarded an honorary doctorate from African Methodist University in 2009 with a focus in International Relations. Served as provost for Langston University’s urban campus in Tulsa from 2001 to 2004. Led post-war U.S. assistance programs in Liberia, including elections resulting in the first democratically elected female president in Africa, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Top: Donald E. Booth, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, presents Wilbur Thomas the flag flown over the U.S. Embassy. Bottom: Wilbur Thomas receives an official gown of Liberia. Photos courtesy of Wilbur Thomas.


College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

International Programs

Giving students an edge in a global society through faculty-led, short-term courses through 17 countries. Dr. Ed Miller, Director 405.744.2747 • ed.miller@okstate.edu Dr. Adele Tongco, Assistant Director 405.744.6580 • adel.tongco@okstate.edu


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he memories of Tim O’Connell’s outdoor adventures as a child in upstate New York are as vivid now as they were in the 1970s. O’Connell said he fancied himself as a great explorer in 1975. Now an ornithologist, he said his interest in birds developed as an 8-year-old when his parents purchased a World Book Encyclopedia set. He described his experience studying the encyclopedia as today’s version of surfing the Internet. “I had this natural playground outside my house of fields, woods, creeks, snakes and fossils,” said O’Connell, associate professor of natural resource ecology and management. “I was interested in going off for hours at a time into the woods to try to find any wildlife I could. “On those snowy days when I was not wandering the fields, I would pull [an encyclopedia] off the shelf, open it up and just flip through it,” O’Connell said. “I loved any kind of animal or dinosaur artwork that would draw my attention.” O’Connell said he first discovered his love for birds when he came across a 20- to 30-page spread in the encyclopedia. He said he recalls looking at the section labeled “birds of farmlands” and realizing he had seen many of the birds on his family’s land. From that point forward, O’Connell said he began trying to find every local bird he could to compare it to its painting in the encyclopedia. “My favorite thing to do then, that is still my favorite thing to do now, was to read about some species of wildlife and its habitat, usually birds, then go and find that habitat to see if I could also find the bird,” O’Connell said. “That early experience of being a kid wanting to find as many different things as possible gave me such an appreciation for the importance of habitats.” O’Connell said he did not know another person who was interested in birds until he was in college at Cornell University. O’Connell described his birding development as being “stunted” in some ways because of his lack of training, but in other ways, he said it made him independent and gave him the ability to learn things on his own. Through exposure and experience, O’Connell said he

Tim O’Connell enjoys birding at the OSU Botanical Garden. Birding is the act of observing birds for recreation. Photo by Halston Courson. 2 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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NREM faculty member impacts students, community members with his avian knowledge. “Students should know if they need help with anything, decided he was most interested in avian habitats. O’Connell said his research studies for both his master’s degree at the College of [O’Connell] is the person to go to,” Ramirez said. “He always puts William and Mary as well as his doctoral degree at The Pennsylvania students’ needs before his own. He will take time out of his day to help you, even if it does not relate to his class.” State University included analyzing large areas of bird habitats. O’Connell said he particularly enjoys his ornithology class. “What intrigued me more than anything else was looking at a really big area and being able to know the different types of The course is similar to others focusing on organisms except vegetation patches you can find throughout the whole landscape,” O’Connell’s class is solely about birds, he said. O’Connell said O’Connell said. “Each [vegetation patch] is going to have a unique students learn bird behavior, anatomy, physiology, evolutionary history, aerodynamics of flight, migration, breeding biology, list of bird species that occur there.” O’Connell said his research still centers around habitats. His nesting procedures and other avian-related material in the course. “Every course in ornithology will include studies now are primarily in Oklahoma Knowing something about some degree of teaching people to identify but have ranged from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mid-Atlantic coast. He birds enriches your experience birds in the field,” O’Connell said. “I make also has worked with the National Park in life by a tremendous degree. that a real cornerstone of this course.” — Tim O’Connell O’Connell said he is not trying to turn Service to monitor bird populations over NREM Associate Professor his students into ornithologists, but rather periods of time, he said. “What I wanted to do was look at which species are the he helps them become aware of the birds around them. One of his specialists, which are the generalists and what different vegetation class goals is to have students become involved in the contribution types support them,” O’Connell said. “One of the things that of data to citizen-science databases. “I look at my class of 42 students and recognize that probably really drives me is to figure out how those [avian and vegetation] all of them are going to have some career that does not involve relationships change as you move from biome to biome.” He began his research at OSU in 2003 and was nominated ornithology,” O’Connell said. “But, I want them to be informed, and I want them to be citizen-scientists. The whole point is to for the Phoenix Award for outstanding graduate faculty in 2006. O’Connell teaches a variety of NREM classes, manages make them lifelong learners and lifelong bird enthusiasts, even if a research laboratory, and advises undergraduates. O’Connell’s they are not professional ornithologists.” The ornithology class includes a variety of local field trips. students often refer to him as “The Bird Man.” “He knows almost everything about birds, and the NREM O’Connell said his students learn 150 local bird species, recognize department is lucky to have him as a part of the faculty,” said 50 of those by sound and participate in a back-to-back field count Abbey Ramirez, a wildlife biology and pre-vet senior. “He prepares at the end of the semester. “I like how [O’Connell] has so many field trips planned,” his students for a lot of classes, including his own.” Jerry Wilhm, retired OSU zoology department head and Payne Ramirez said. “It is really good for students to get field experience.” O’Connell said this year his goal is to get every student’s County Audubon Society member, said O’Connell is a dedicated ornithology term paper published. He said he has students analyze man who cares about teaching students and the community. “I am impressed with how enthused Tim is with birding and data from citizen-science databases, develop their own scientific how much he appreciates and respects his students,” Wilhm said. investigations, and write short papers based on their findings. Those papers then are submitted to the Oklahoma Ornithological “He passes that enthusiasm for birds to others.” Ramirez said O’Connell has made a huge impact in her life Society and to avian newsletters within the state for publication. “Something my students appreciate from me is they are often by introducing her to research methods and helping her decide to continue her education with the goal of becoming an ornithologist. surprised by some of the cultural references I know and find ways COWBOY JOURNAL | 11

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Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Photo by Tim O’Connell.


Northern Bobwhite Quail. Photo by Halston Courson.


Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Photo by Blayr Gourley.


Painted Bunting. Photo by Tim O’Connell.


Red-winged Blackbird. Photo by Clay Billman.



to interject into class,” O’Connell said. “I try to use humor to make sure they are paying attention.” O’Connell said he is inspired to teach people about birds because he wants to share his passion with others. He said he enjoys exposing other people to something new. “Knowing something about birds enriches your experience in life by a tremendous degree,” O’Connell said. “Some people notice birds are singing around them, but it is so much richer and more rewarding to me to know which birds are singing.” O’Connell said he wants people to understand the things happening in their own backyards are as interesting as a nature documentary on the Discovery Channel. He said birds are intriguing because they are active during the daytime, like humans, and do conspicuous things, such as sing. “I want people to know they do not have to go to New Guinea to have an experience,” O’Connell said. “There are dramatic predator and prey things happening locally that are every bit as gripping, thrilling and bloodthirsty as a lion killing a wildebeest on the Serengeti.” O’Connell said he is active in the Payne County Audubon Society and has served on the board for several years. He volunteers his time to teach in the field and participate in club activities. O’Connell said the Payne County Audubon Society takes birding


field trips, hosts speakers who teach about unique birds, hosts birdrelated events, and educates others about conservation practices. “Tim makes himself available for all kinds of bird activities, not only for his students but also for the membership in general,” Wilhm said. “I have been on half a dozen field trips he guided, and he does a wonderful job.” Wilhm served on the society’s board with O’Connell and said he appreciates O’Connell’s ornithological training. “Tim is aware of the group’s abilities and experience levels,” Wilhm said. “My wife, Nona, and I both enjoy birding, but we are not that good. He is really cognizant that we need more guidance.” Wilhm said O’Connell’s ability to relate to others as a common person and as an equal peer makes him stand out. “I know Tim puts many hours into his work with the university and the Payne County Audubon Society, but he still has time for his family,” Wilhm said. O’Connell and his wife, Tracy, have two children. Katie, age 14, is interested in Irish step dancing, ballet and learning new languages, while James, age 11, is interested in basketball and hopes to one day play professionally. O’Connell said his family members do not share his interest in birds; however, he occasionally takes them on nature outings. O’Connell said after a great deal of training and practice, he

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taught himself to reproduce the sounds of different bird species he heard on nature outings. He began attempting these noises when he was a boy learning to study birds on his parents’ farm. O’Connell said his original intention was to get birds to look at him when he imitated them so he could see how they looked. “The way to find birds in a bush is to make noises the birds might respond to,” O’Connell said. “They may respond to give their alarm call, pop up to look around, or move in some way, and then I have seen them.” O’Connell also makes guest appearances on a local radio show to make bird calls and answer avian-related questions from listeners. He can accurately replicate a number of specific birds as well as make many general sounds that work on a few dozen species, he said. However, O’Connell said his specialty is owl calls. In his spare time, O’Connell watches OSU basketball, coaches his son’s basketball team, sings in a chorus, plays guitar, and writes songs. He also admits to watching “Dance Moms.” O’Connell said he would love for the public to get more involved in birding, which can be as simple as finding an Audubon Society, putting out bird feeders, or attending an avian event. O’Connell said he wants people to recognize the wonderful experiences they can have without breaking the bank. CJ

Halston Courson Perryton, Texas Photography and Journalism

Tim O’Connell holds a Kentucky Warbler at Lake Carl Blackwell. Photo by Jason Heinen.


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OSU agricultural economics faculty assist Oklahoma producers with farm bill programs.


ince the first farm bill was passed in 1933, the government has Growing up on a cattle, wheat and custom-harvesting offered assistance programs for farmers to ensure consumers operation in southwest Oklahoma, Campiche’s ties to agriculture have an adequate, affordable food supply. To help develop run deep; however, she said she did not find her love for policy those assistance programs, congressional agricultural committees until she began pursuing her doctoral degree. After receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in turn to unbiased outside information sources, traditionally faculty of land grant institutions such as Oklahoma State University. agricultural economics from OSU, Campiche attended Texas “Long before I came to OSU, A&M University, where she worked at the Agricultural and Food Policy Center and there were people here who had national [Campiche] has probably been one of the most successful reputations for working with congressional earned her doctorate. When the OSU assistant professor representatives, working with lobby finds ... being able to move into and extension economist position opened, groups, working with the public media, a position of prominence. — Larry Sanders and sometimes going to Washington and she said she jumped at the chance to return OSU Professor and Extension Economist briefing Congress,” said Larry Sanders, to her alma mater. “I started in February of 2009, and the 2008 farm bill had agricultural economics professor and extension economist. “This has been a long-term tradition for our department.” passed in June of 2008,” Campiche said. “The sign-up for the new Sanders said the OSU agricultural economics department commodity programs, which is mostly what I work on, was ending has a long-standing relationship with congressional agricultural in June 2009. I had a few months left before the June deadline for committees built on trust, science-based analysis and strong ties sign-ups, so I decided I was going to create my own decision tool.” Campiche created a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for farmers with prominent leaders, such as alumnus Rep. Frank Lucas. “One of the primary reasons we continue to be respected at to input their operation and production levels to decide whether this level is because people know when they come to us, they get to remain in the Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program or science-based, objective and unbiased information,” Sanders said. enroll in the new Average Crop Revenue Election Program offered “We use science and theory to conduct our analysis of these issues, as part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. “The commodity programs in the farm bills have become and we provide responses in an options-and-consequences mode.” As the team of agricultural policy economists in the unbelievably complicated,” said Michael Dicks, OSU agricultural department work to perform analysis and apprise congressional economics professor. “In general, the decision tools allowed leaders of Oklahoma producers’ needs, they also prepare decision producers to make better, more informed decisions.” With the help of Dicks, Sanders and Oklahoma Cooperative tools and guide producers as they choose the best farm bill program for their operations. Currently leading this effort to help producers Extension Service educators, Campiche took the decision tool to is assistant professor and extension economist Jody Campiche. Oklahoma producers.

Jody Campiche joined the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics in 2009. Photo by Lori Allmon.

Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program payments are calculated using historical base acres and payment yields established for the farm. Average Crop Revenue Election Program payments are tied to current plantings on the farm as opposed to counter-cyclical payments, which are tied to the farm’s base acres. Source: USDA Farm Service Agency. 14 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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“Jody did a lot of the heavy lifting, and I did a lot of the communication,” Dicks said. “She was new, so I was working to try to get her into the communities because I am the old guy who has been around for a long time and everybody trusts. She is the new, young upstart, so it would have been tough at that time for her to go out and talk, but since that time, over the last three or four years, she has taken my place.” Dicks said the efforts of the policy team and the use of the decision tool have resulted in big payoffs for Oklahoma producers. Oklahoma had the largest number of farmers enroll in the ACRE program, and enrolled producers reaped great benefits, he said. “Most people who signed up did as a direct result of either using the tool, seeing my extension program, or talking with me about getting in it,” Campiche said. “For [2009] alone, about $100 million more Jody Campiche (front) and Larry Sanders work on commodity program decision tools came into Oklahoma from the ACRE program.” Additional ACRE payment revenue was for the 2013 farm bill programs. Photo by Lori Allmon. generated in 2011 and 2012, Campiche said. In addition to leaders and agricultural producers allows the department’s extension helping farmers determine the best commodity program for their education services to continue its tradition of success. operation, Sanders said the decision tool allows producers to deal “She has probably been one of the most successful finds we with risk management and secure loans more easily. have had as far as faculty coming in and moving into a position of “If you are a farmer and you need to go in to get some prominence,” Sanders said. operating capital to get through to harvest time, you can either go Campiche said she enjoys helping farmers, both by providing in with this spreadsheet and show the banker information to allow them to understand what OSU’s decision model suggests,” Anything we can do to help the complicated farm bill programs and by Sanders said, “or you can sit down with the the agricultural industry presenting Congress with analysis of how banker and let the banker go through to see survive is important. proposed programs could affect Oklahoma’s — Jody Campiche what might happen if you do A instead of B. producers. Assistant Professor and Extension Economist “The federal agencies that sign up “I sit here all day running numbers, and manage the programs have looked at these decision programs crunching things, and trying to figure stuff out while they are and sometimes used them,” he said. “They have been accepted out there trying to actually take care of their farms and produce regionally and nationally.” something,” Campiche said. “Anything we can do to help the The decision tools and efforts of the OSU agricultural agricultural industry survive is important. One of the ways I can policy team have been recognized by the American Agricultural help is to help with the government programs.” Economics Association, the Western Agricultural Economics As the congressional agricultural committees prepare the next Association and the Southern Agricultural Economics Association. farm bill, Campiche is preparing models to demonstrate how the Additionally, Campiche received the 2012 Southern proposed programs could affect Oklahoma’s producers. She also Agricultural Economics Association Assistant Professor Leadership has begun the process of preparing new decision tools for producers Award as well as awards for her work with drought management. to use for the next set of farm bill programs. Dicks said Campiche’s success comes from her understanding “When they finally do pass a bill, we have to take that bill and of agriculture, policy and economics as well as her ability to explain go out and explain it and help people make a decision about what the complicated subjects to others. to do,” Dicks said. “About the time you finish explaining one, it is “It is really nice when you have someone who understands time to get ready for the next one.” CJ economics, understands the policy process, and also has a farming To access the OSU farm bill commodity program decision tool, visit background because she sees how the decisions will actually impact www.agecon.okstate.edu/agpolicy/decisionTool_comm.asp. people and brings the realism to it,” Dicks said. “The neat thing is she is able to take the policy and not only relay it from the farmer perspective, annunciate that, and get Lori Allmon politicians to understand it, but then she’s also able to take the Sulphur, Okla. policy and help the farmers understand it,” he said. Journalism and Design Sanders said Campiche’s communication with congressional 16 | summer/fall 2013

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Disbudding involves the removal of horn buds, which are free-floating and not yet attached to the frontal bone of the skull. Dehorning involves removing horns and horn-producing tissue after they have attached to the skull. Photo by Katy Fitzgerald.

OSU researchers look for a new way to alleviate pain associated with dehorning.


ince 2011, Oklahoma State University researchers have tried to find a simple and inexpensive way to provide pain relief for calves during and following the dehorning procedure. John Gilliam, clinical assistant professor of food animal production medicine and field services at the OSU Center for

Veterinary Health Sciences, said dehorning is a standard procedure done with beef and dairy cattle and is painful. “In dairy production systems, horned cattle pose a risk for the handler during routine management practices such as milking, hoof trimming, calving and examinations,� said Dan

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Stein, assistant professor in livestock production for OSU’s animal “The theory is if we can block the nerve with ethyl alcohol, science department. then we desensitize it for the surgical procedure as well as deaden it Stein said dehorned cattle pose a reduced risk of injury to for a minimum of several months,” Gilliam said. udders, flanks and eyes of other cattle and exhibit fewer aggressive In some cases, Gilliam said, the nerve will grow back, but behaviors associated with individual dominance. it takes several months to do so, and by that time, the dehorning “Dehorned animals are easier and less dangerous to handle wound will be healed. and transport, thus reducing the possibility of injury to both the “By deadening the nerve in a long-term fashion, producers handler and other cattle,” Stein said. “Horns are also the single know the time frame they have to [dehorn] is much longer,” Calvomajor cause of carcass wastage due to bruising.” Lorenzo said. Stein said the excess trim associated with bruised carcasses Gilliam said the product works in this scenario because the from horned cattle is approximately twice that of the carcasses nerve being deadened only supplies the horn, so it will not create from hornless cattle. any lasting detriments to the animal. “Dehorned cattle also require less feedbunk space and present “What we know about ethyl alcohol is injecting it near the a lower risk of interference from nerve only affects the outer layer of If there’s any way we can find something dominant animals at feeding time,” that nerve,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. that’s feasible and easy to introduce, it he said. “Properties of alcohol are very short “The selection and breeding will alleviate stress on producers, as well. term and won’t reside in the tissue. — Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo In addition, these animals still have of polled animals is an alternative Animal Science Assistant Professor solution to dehorning, as it eliminates a long time before they start milking pain and production expenses associated with the dehorning or enter the beef supply.” procedure,” Stein said. Amanda Mathias, an animal science junior, said although “Polled sires are rare and in the minority in most dairy producers would have to spend money initially to buy ethyl breeds,” Stein said. “The selection for desired traits can usually alcohol, they might increase their income in the long run. be achieved using horned bulls, and as a result, the use of polled “[Producers] could save money in average daily gain alone if animals continues to be suppressed in many dairy breeds.” the calves don’t go off feed and aren’t as stressed,” Mathias said. Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo, livestock well-being and However, Gilliam said they will not know if the procedure environmental management assistant professor in OSU’s animal can affect producers’ bottom line until the research is complete. science department, said pain occurs during dehorning as well as “[Ethyl alcohol] is much less costly than lidocaine, and at this following the procedure because of the inflammatory response. point, a veterinarian may not be needed to give the ethyl alcohol Gilliam said the most commonly used drug to relieve pain is injection,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. “It’s not to exclude veterinarians, an anesthetic called lidocaine, which is similar to what you would but it’s costly to have them present. That’s sometimes the reason be given at the dentist. why anesthetics aren’t used at all.” Due to the anatomy of the nerve that supplies the horn, Gilliam said the goal is to take a product already available and giving a calf an injection of a local anesthesia that deadens the horn see if it can be used in this application. is easy, Gilliam said, but once it wears off in an hour or two, a calf “If [this research] is successful, it will give veterinarians and will feel some degree of pain. producers a way to provide anesthesia to the horn that will be longCombining a local anesthetic with anti-inflammatory drugs lasting,” Gilliam said. “It’s going to be easy, inexpensive and will can do a good job of reducing the pain associated with dehorning, improve the welfare of the animals.” Gilliam said, but it adds time and expense to the procedure. Calvo-Lorenzo said they still need to do more research to “What we’re looking at is trying to use a very similar technique determine how effective the technique is, although they have seen for applying a local anesthetic, but doing it with ethyl alcohol promising results so far. rather than the typical local anesthetic,” Gilliam said. In a preliminary study, Gilliam said horns anesthetized Gilliam said knowing alcohol blocks are used for conditions using ethyl alcohol alone or with a mixture of lidocaine remained in human and veterinary medicine got him thinking about whether anesthetized for two weeks based on an assessment of needle pricks. it would be applicable to dehorning procedures. “We need to test this on a larger scale and more intensively, By using ethyl alcohol, Calvo-Lorenzo said veterinarians and but initially, we’re seeing they have responses to needle pricks that producers potentially can manage the animals’ pain during and show the nerves are blocked,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. after the procedure. “We still need to do more research to fully understand not “Ethyl alcohol denatures the nerve’s outside, which is called just how the animal behaves and whether they respond to a needle the myelin sheath,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. “The sheath maintains the prick, but the physiological responses to the dehorning process so integrity and properties of a nerve so it can transmit signals.” we know if the block is actually happening,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. When you disturb the outer layer, Calvo-Lorenzo said, the Currently, Gilliam said calves receive either an injection of pain signals do not get sent and that is how pain is blocked. lidocaine or ethyl alcohol. COWBOY JOURNAL | 19

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Okl ah Oma


Your Curriculum Source

Environmental Science & Natural Resources Except for polled cattle, bull and heifer calves are born with horn buds. The best time to dehorn is prior to two months of age before the horn buds attach to the frontal bone. Photo by Lacey Newlin.

“Anesthesia of the horn is confirmed by needle pricks, and then the calves are dehorned,” Gilliam said. “Blood is collected at specific time points for measurement of physiologic indicators of pain, and video surveillance is used to assess behavioral indicators of pain.” Calvo-Lorenzo said another reason to study this research area more extensively is to determine if it reduces the animals’ stress following the procedure. “A lot of stress is associated with a procedure such as dehorning and a lot of it can be driven by pain, but sometimes if you don’t have proper wound healing or you don’t properly care for the animal, that leads to stress as well,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. “Stress isn’t always related to pain, but taking the pain away will definitely minimize it.” If they can demonstrate ethyl alcohol is a successful alternative solution, Gilliam said it would be readily available for veterinarians and producers to use. They plan to be done collecting data by this spring or early summer, he said. “This is important research,” Calvo-Lorenzo said. “If there’s any way we can find something that’s feasible and easy to introduce, it will alleviate stress on producers, as well.” CJ

Katy Fitzgerald Susanville, Calif. Writing and Public Relations

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Nadia Thomas (left) and her husband, Chris Thomas (right), worked with Olsegun while in Zambia. Photo courtesy of Nadia Thomas.

an unexpected

A CASNR master’s student never expected to fulfill her passion to serve others through her international agricultural experience.

Left: Mama Kayinda, a local the Thomases worked with in the Congo, gathers vegetables in the fields. Right: Women and children in the Congo wait for their nutritional counseling. Photos by Nadia Thomas. COWBOY JOURNAL | 21

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rom the Great Plains of Kansas and Oklahoma to the Henneberry said Nadia received a scholarship from the rolling mountains in the Congo and flatlands of Zambia, Humphreys Chair to help with her experience in Zambia. This Nadia Thomas, an Oklahoma State University Master scholarship is available for meaningful study abroad experiences. of International Agriculture program student, strives to make a “MIAP students are excited to use their education to help positive difference in the lives of others around the world through people,” Thomas said. “There is an awesome vibe about being part an agricultural influence. of that.” Originally from Ottawa, Kan., Thomas’ first international Students should get out of their comfort zones, and when experience was at age 19 when the international 4-H organization they do, they will see all the world has to offer, Thomas said. allowed her to spend six months in Luxembourg living on family “Nadia is focusing on international agricultural development farms. She received her bachelor’s degree in French and international and extension,” Henneberry said. “Upon completion of the studies at Kansas State University in 2001. MIAP degree, and with the skills she has [Americans] have a savior “I fell into [MIAP] by accident,” acquired through her course work and her Thomas said. “Agriculture has always been complex. … We have to international experience, she will be a very compromise for their wants an interest of mine.” qualified applicant for professional positions Thomas said she and her husband, and what we want for them. in international agriculture.” — Nadia Thomas Chris, spent two months of their international In the Congo, the Thomases did a Master of International Agriculture Student experience in the African country of Zambia, variety of work. but they also worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo for “We primarily focused on teaching at the university and four weeks. working tri-weekly with the local women’s farming groups,” Thomas said even though Zambia and the Congo are Thomas said, “tagging along in their fields and doing whatever bordering countries, the experience and lifestyles in both countries they asked ­— hoeing, weeding, planting and watering.” were extremely different. Thomas said she taught two classes focused on grammar, “To earn a Master of International Agriculture degree, speaking and reading skills. students must complete an international experience in their area of “We had limited resources, such as old chalk boards,” Thomas interest,” said Katie Meeks, MIAP graduate coordinator. “Students said. “We did not have any books, and printing was expensive.” with diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to give back Thomas said most of the students could not read at a college to others and discover their desire to be involved in agriculture level due to the lack of material. The Thomases also worked in a [through international experiences].” nutritional counseling facility in the Congo. The program gives students a chance to earn a master’s degree “We would start by weighing the children and then measuring with the opportunity to travel internationally and focus on their their arms and height and recording all the data,” Thomas said. individual educational goals, Meeks said. “Afterward, they would have a short talk about health and nutrition “Nadia wanted to go to a country where she could have and a meal would be served.” a positive impact on a low-income population,” said Shida Thomas said children who were severely malnourished would Henneberry, MIAP director and Regents professor of agricultural be taken to the hospital. economics. “She wanted to teach them skills they can use that will “In Zambia, I worked with Mulungushi University,” Thomas improve their livelihoods.” said. “My mission was to find and make new connections with communities and farms so students can learn while they work. I lived in the Kafakumba Training Center, which supports itself by farming aloe vera, which is used in drinks as medical treatments.” Mulungushi National University is a new school, located on the historical grounds of Mulungushi Rock. Mulungushi Rock is where Zambia declared to fight for its independence against the United Kingdom in 1960, Thomas said. “The college’s buildings have been there since 1972 but were mostly used for government trainings,” she said. “Mulungushi’s agriculture program began in January 2008.” The Thomases made connections with multiple farms around the college, including producers of dairy, swine, poultry, fish, bananas, honeybees and moringas, Thomas said. Women and children in “The [honeybee] farm gives the honeybee boxes to locals and the Congo eat after their then purchases honey back from them,” Thomas said. “We worked nutritional counseling. Photo with moringa, a small plant from which the leaves are harvested by Nadia Thomas. and turned into powder for a nutrient supplement in their food.” 22 | summer/f all 2013

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Zambia natives are realizing agriculture can be sufficient and “Nadia has a huge, caring heart,” Meeks said. “It was apparent ways do exist for it to be more sustainable, Thomas said. from the beginning that she truly wants to help people.” “When you work in an underdeveloped country, you begin Henneberry said the Thomases are an excellent team. to feel as if you have saved the community,” Thomas said. “We “Nadia and Chris are very skilled, compassionate, warm have a savior complex and forget to ask what the people want and and friendly individuals,” Henneberry said. “They not only have what they need. It’s hard not to take the reins, and we have to academic skills but also excellent people skills and the desire to help compromise for their wants and what others, especially the underprivileged. Nadia [Thomas] wanted to go to a we want for them. The two of them with their country that she could have a positive “We didn’t go [to Africa] in a complimentary science and social touristy way, but I’m glad we were impact on a low-income population. science skills are an excellent team to — Shida Henneberry make a difference in the lives of people able to experience iconic sites, as MIAP Director & Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics well,” Thomas said. “You never really in rural communities in Africa. experience a place until you experience the high, high, highs “Nadia and Chris are very adaptable and are able to live under and the low, low, lows. What you learn from that experience is minimal conditions,” Henneberry said. completely invaluable. Thomas said when she entered the OSU Master of “When you make yourself stay abroad for a longer time, you International Agriculture program, she never imagined the places are forced to step outside yourself and you really have no choice she would go or the impact she would have on others. but to become truly acquainted with the culture,” Thomas said. Her desire to serve those around her has traveled much farther Thomas said she plans to go back and visit soon. than international borders. With her discoveries in international “A piece of my heart is there,” Thomas said. “You learn about agriculture, her journey to Africa may last a lifetime. CJ yourself. You find out so much more about who you are, how you interact with others and maybe start to find a little bit more Amanda Travis understanding for others, too.” Fort Worth, Texas Thomas said she has a desire to help people — she makes a Layout and Graphic Design plan and tries her best to follow through with it.

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Three generations of OSU Cowboys work to maintain a family tradition.


he sun rises over the Osage range and brightly shines on a herd of mustangs grazing. The Hughes family wakes to this view each day. The Hughes Ranch, near Bartlesville, Okla., has been home to the Hughes family — the late Arthur; John, 80; Robert, 51; and Sam, 21 — for 75 years. “My father, Arthur, bought the first piece of the ranch in 1938,” John said. Arthur purchased 1,440 acres from the Union National Bank, in Bartlesville, Okla. The land originally belonged to Guy Burton, who owed the bank for a cattle note. Burton gave the land to the bank to cover his debt in 1930. “Things were so bad, they weren’t able to find anyone to buy it,” John said. “Dad came along and finally made a deal with them. Along with the original acreage went a number of lease pieces that were Indian land, and it totaled about 4,000 acres of grass.” During the next 10 years, the ranch expanded by 1,235 acres. “I bought the first cattle that I owned personally in 1949 when I was in high school,” John said.

John purchased the cattle from Boots Adam, who had gotten out of the beef cattle business and needed someone to round up missing cattle. John and ranch hand Bright Drake worked for weeks to gather 19 Hereford cows. This was the start of John’s herd. In 1955, John graduated from Oklahoma A&M College with a degree in animal husbandry. During his time at OAMC, he met his wife, Lorna McLeod. Bob Buford, John’s friend and fellow Sigma Nu, introduced John to McLeod. The couple married in 1956 and moved back to Osage County so John could help run the ranch’s cow-calf operation. By the late 1950s, the family started to run stocker cattle, as well. Additional land was leased to accommodate the stockers. Dan Gallery, a Sigma Nu brother at OSU, and John paired up to start the Tadpole Cattle Co. in 1968. “We bought 1,100 cows out of Dalhart, Texas, branded with a tadpole,” John said. “We bought the brand, the breeding bulls and even the saddle horses off the ranch. They were going out of business, and that was the birth of Tadpole Cattle Co.” Now, all pastures, whether native or improved grass, are

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managed and stocked for maximum production and kept in excellent range condition, Robert said. “The ranch is unique when compared to the rest of eastern Osage County,” Robert said. The ranch has a program to control the brush, Robert said. They choose the worst pasture with the worst regrowth and spray it. The next year, they burn the same pasture and spray it again on the third year. They also have a weed control program to spray a third to a half of the ranch per year. “You have to have a program and stick with it,” Robert said. John started an aerial application business in the 1960s to spray the ranch and the surrounding ranches. Through his business, John said he learned how other ranches operated and used the knowledge he gained to improve the ranch. The business allowed the ranch to maintain brush-free pastures, John said. He said he knew it had to be done to increase carrying capacity and to be able to make a living ranching in the cross timbers region. When the time came, Robert attended Oklahoma State University and continued his father’s legacy as a Sigma Nu. He

graduated with an animal science degree in 1983. Robert returned to the ranch after graduating from Texas Christian University’s ranch management program. “We are in the grass business,” Robert said. Stocker cattle proved to be better than cow-calf pairs, and in the 1980s, the ranch became strictly a stocker operation and increased by 7,952 acres, John said. “It was a good move,” John said. “It’s a market business with risk involved. You have to take care of the native grass.” Sam said some of his favorite memories of growing up were the days they shipped cattle. He said he remembers gathering cattle on horseback and being the man who pushed them into the chute. But, in the winter of 1988, while in the Denver airport after a skiing trip, Gallery was reading the Denver Post and saw a story that changed the future of Tadpole Cattle Co. The Bureau of Land Management was soliciting bids for ranches to house unadoptable mustangs in long-term-care facilities. After contacting the director of the BLM, Gallery and John assembled the complicated proposal. Mustangs graze on the Hughes Ranch. Photo by Bailey Toates.


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On April 4, 2013, John Hughes received the Governor’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture and became the 16th Oklahoman inducted into the Agriculture Hall of Fame by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Photo courtesy of ODAFF.

“I didn’t really think we had a chance to get it,” John said. “We decided to give it a shot and bid on it. We got it.” Then, the ranch had to prepare for the mustangs. The BLM had strict requirements for the facilities. Surveying tape had to be placed between every post, and the fences had to be five-stranded. “This year will be about the 25th year we have been running the horses,” John said. “We really have more horses now than we ever have. It has been an interesting endeavor. We think we do a good job for them, and the BLM thinks so because they have stayed with us. It has been a good venture for us.” The ranch initially received older, unadoptable mustangs, but now the ranch receives horses of various ages. “Since feed prices have gotten high, the BLM is having a harder time adopting,” John said. “That is the reason the ranch is full and doesn’t have room for any cattle.” Today, the ranch is more than 12,000 acres and is used completely for mustangs. The horses are supplemented in the winter with native grass and alfalfa hay. “Each week, we feed 15 pounds of alfalfa hay and 40 pounds of fertilized Bermuda grass hay per head,” Robert said. The ranch’s main job is to provide general care, check the pastures for loose wire, ensure the horses stay in, and provide a free-roaming environment. Once the horses arrive at the ranch, they live the rest of their lives there. “The horses live into the high 20s and low 30s,” John said. Every month, the ranch creates an inventory report, and when the BLM sees room for more horses, they call the ranch and check in. The BLM will send about 38 horses at a time. The horses are transported on straight trailers, not cattle pots, John said.

Robert said running horses is less risky than stocker cattle, allowing the ranch to continue to flourish. Sam will graduate from OSU this spring with a degree in agribusiness. He has been accepted to Texas Christian University’s ranch management program. Sam said unless a tremendous job offer comes after TCU, he plans to return to the ranch to help his grandfather and father. Since 1983, the ranch has provided a life-long home to thousands of horses, and the Hughes family plans to continue caring for the mustangs until the sun sets on the Osage range. CJ

Bailey Toates S mithville, Mo. Marketing and Photography

All wild horses in holding, like those roaming Western public rangelands, are protected by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management under the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals roamed across 53.8 million acres known as herd areas, 42.4 million acres of which were under BLM’s jurisdiction. Since the act was passed, BLM has had more than 230,000 horses and burros adopted. Facts courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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Oklahoma 4-H’ers discover the world of forensic science — OsU style .

An Oklahoma 4-H member (left) examines a mock tomato field contamination crime scene at the 2012 4-H forensics camp with help from Lt. Mark Shearer (right) of the OSU Police Department as Jacqueline Fletcher (second from left) and William Schneider assist in the background. Photo by Todd Johnson. 28 | sUmmeR/f ALL 2013

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ellow caution tape surrounds the scene. Latex gloves Jacqueline Fletcher, Regents professor with the OSU scavenge the area for clues while the witnesses give their Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, serves as director statements. A familiar sight to detectives and police, but of NIMFFAB. Fletcher said forensic science is the application of could 4-H’ers also have experience with this setting? science to solve crimes. She said the ultimate goal of forensics is With the persistence of a group of dedicated U.S. Department attribution of a criminal or terroristic act. of Agriculture and Oklahoma State University scientists, 4-H’ers Although forensic science has been used for quite a long are getting behind the microscope for agriculture. time, Fletcher said, it became more sophisticated after the anthrax William Schneider, a research attacks in 2001 and 2002. plant pathologist with the USDA She said the FBI realized the We have to worry about keeping our Foreign Disease-Weed Science technologies used during the scares food safe, just like we have to worry Research unit in Fort Detrick, were not advanced enough to give about keeping our people safe. Md., and four plant pathologists a positive identification of specific — William Schneider USDA Plant Pathologist from OSU’s National Institute for strains of the anthrax bacterium. Microbial Forensics and Food and Fletcher said forensic science Agricultural Biosecurity — often referred to as NIMFFAB — developed intensely in the time between the first anthrax attack received a biosecurity research grant for this 4-H event to occur. and the year 2010, when authorities obtained scientific proof to Charged with the task of developing an educational outreach close the anthrax case. component to the grant, these scientists turned to Oklahoma 4-H “Our purpose with the 4-H summer camp is not so much for guidance on educating young people about forensic science. to give them an authentic experience because they don’t have the After much discussion, one idea rose to the top of the list: training or time to go into that level,” Fletcher said. “Our goal is to an educational camp for 4-H’ers about agriculture and forensic use a scenario as an opportunity for them to take on the role of an science. The camp has been conducted for two summers on OSU’s investigator and learn scientific principles in the process. campus. Twenty-four students, organized into teams of four, attend “We want our young folks to recognize science can be really the summer sessions at no cost to them. fascinating and it can be something they enjoy that isn’t fearful or “We focused on 4-H students because we had a good chance intimidating,” Fletcher said. of reaching out to kids in their decision-making years,” Schneider Mandy Schroeder, an OSU freshman earning a double said. “What we wanted to do was give them an opportunity to major in agricultural education and agricultural communications, experience some of the things we do on a daily basis that they attended the camp in high school. probably have little chance to see in their hometowns.” Jeff Sallee, assistant professor in agricultural education and extension specialist for 4-H youth development, has spearheaded the 4-H side of the camp since he was first approached about its development. Sallee said a mock crime scene is set up in a field or crop to indicate possible criminal activity. The students go to the area to collect evidence, test for DNA, interview suspects and make conclusions. Finally, a trial is conducted. Students take turns interviewing witnesses and playing the part of the attorney. After the trial is over, a solution to the case is provided to the students, Sallee said. “We took some of the principles of biosecurity, [agrosecurity] and forensics, and at the same time, we are teaching them some science,” Schneider said. “We are also showing them a set of careers in agriculture that they may not have considered.” Sallee said the United States has a scientist shortage. “We are losing scientists faster than we are replacing them,” Sallee said. “To me, if we have introduced these students to science and technology, this is a success.” Schneider said forensic science is more than just a means of convicting murderers. It also plays an equally important role in keeping the United States safe, he said. “There are people who do crime scene investigation for crops and plants,” Schneider said. “We have to worry about keeping food After collecting data, participants return to the lab to make conclusions about the mock crime scene. Photo by Todd Johnson. safe, just like we have to worry about keeping people safe.” COWBOY JOURNAL | 29

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“I learned about the different aspects of forensics,” Schroeder said. “It’s not just used to solve crimes. I realized the impact science has on everyday life.” Although Schroeder does not intend to become a forensic scientist, she said the camp was a great way to learn more about forensic technologies and their importance. Schroeder said she plans to become a 4-H extension educator and hopes 4-H’ers in her county will attend the camp. “It was really great to be able to experience technologies most high schools cannot afford,” Schroeder said. “It was amazing that younger kids were able to utilize the equipment.” As for students interested in forensic science, Schroeder shared some advice: “Open your mind to the possibility that forensics is not just about crime. You see all the detective shows on TV, and they make you think of forensics as just being a criminal-based field, but it’s much more.” Schneider said students should recognize forensics is not like on TV; forensics is a specific application of science in a critical area for the United States. Fletcher said television shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” often glamorize this branch of science. “These shows often add visually interesting props or features such as colored liquids for tests,” Fletcher said. “One of the most misleading aspects is that in those TV situations, the same characters go to the crime scene, collect evidence, run the lab tests, and get the evidence. In reality, it is much more of a shared process.” Schneider said the USDA, state departments of agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI fund many of the jobs in forensic science. “There is a whole new field of jobs opening up in this area,” Schneider said. “Unfortunately, there is a shortage of people trained in these fields. We can’t find the people we need to fill these jobs.” OSU is one of 38 universities certified by the American Academy of Forensic Science as an accredited Forensic Science Education Program, said Robert Allen, forensic science department head at the Center for Health Sciences at OSU-Tulsa. Allen also said OSU is one of two programs in partnership with a police department laboratory. Schneider said he enjoys the 4-H forensic camp because he is able to introduce science to students who, like himself, might never have considered the field of agricultural science. He said many people probably would be interested in these jobs if they knew about them. “This was a chance for me to go back to my 4-H roots, to do something for kids and to give them exposure to something that I wish I would have had exposure to when I was a 4-H member in rural Minnesota,” Schneider said. CJ

Lacey Newlin Burlington, Okla. Writing and Photography

Forensic Anthropology

Study of community and social relationships

Forensic Chemistry

Study of properties of chemicals and genetics

Forensic Entomology

Study of insects related to crimes

Forensic Mathematics

Study of math relationships and patterns

Forensic Odontology

Study of teeth and dental identification

Forensic Reconstruction

Study of recreating crime scenes for analysis

Forensic Toxicology

Study of poisons and their effects on crimes

Forensic Technology

Study of solving cases with advanced resources

Forensic Accounting

Study of financial patterns and misdeeds

Forensic Pathology

Study and examinations of victims after death

Forensic Psychology

Study of psychological aspects of crimes

Forensic Botany

Study of plant matter related to crimes

Forensic Microbiology

Study of microbes related to crimes Information provided by Jacqueline Fletcher.

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4/15/13 7:44 PM

Changes for the OSU Rodeo Team result in a new direction.

Cody Hollingsworth (center) coaches Kyre Larrabee (left) and John Seifert as well as the rest of the OSU Rodeo team. Photo by Morgan Meisenheimer.


reakaway roper Kyre Larrabee backed into the roping box. She focused her gelding’s attention as the calf in front of her faced forward. She nodded her head, the chute opened, and they were off. After three rapid swings, she released the rope. The loop just missed the calf ’s neck. Her horse came to a sliding stop, the rope dragging on the ground beside her. Larrabee, an animal science sophomore from Meade, Kan., looked to coach Cody Hollingsworth for direction and support. Hollingsworth is the first paid coach for the Oklahoma State University Rodeo Team. Just one year ago, the OSU Rodeo Team gained financial support from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural

Resources, including a full-time coach. With a change in leadership and support, a new era for the OSU Rodeo Team began. “There is a major financial investment for students who compete in collegiate rodeo,” said Steve Damron, CASNR’s interim assistant dean of academic programs. “This is a program that involves facilities, animals, travel and a qualified coach who can help these students. It comes with a high cost.” Despite the cost, Damron said rodeo is important at OSU and in this part of the country. Although OSU and CASNR officially has recognized the OSU Rodeo Club as a student organization for years, the students who competed as the OSU Rodeo Team were independent of the college in terms of funding. COWBOY JOURNAL | 33

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“People assumed, because of rodeo’s traditional agricultural background, [the team] was officially associated with CASNR,” Damron said. “For a long time, this was not the case. We are proud and excited to have the rodeo team, and not just the rodeo club, associated with CASNR.” Becoming associated with CASNR has laid the foundation for an array of changes for the team, Damron said. The first change was the creation of a paid coaching position last spring, which Hollingsworth filled. “The way we have structured the program with CASNR allows us to run this program as a full rodeo team, not just a second-hand club sport,” Hollingsworth said. “The amount of support we have gotten from CASNR has been unreal.” Raised in Colorado, Hollingsworth grew up competing in rodeos. After high school, the bull rider decided to become an OSU Cowboy. After two years of participating on the rodeo team, uncontrollable circumstances resulted in his move back to Colorado. Three years ago, Hollingsworth, his wife, Katie, and their daughter, Sydney, moved back to Stillwater, Okla. “When I rodeoed for OSU from ’96 to ’98, I really enjoyed [Stillwater],” Hollingsworth said. “That is actually what brought my family and me back.” Hollingsworth said he has enjoyed working with the OSU Rodeo Team as well as OSU Rodeo Club members. “Watching somebody improve from one year to the next is fantastic,” Hollingsworth said. Hollingsworth said he wants to teach the team how to practice, not just how to get better at specific skills within each event. “When you come together as a college and practice as a college, you get an opportunity to learn how to practice with the purpose of getting better, instead of roping with your buddies because it is fun,” Hollingsworth said. Yet, he said he does not want to take the fun out of it. “We compete because it is fun,” Hollingsworth said, “but we want to help students understand the right way to practice and the right way to prepare.”

He said he realizes he cannot be an expert at every event, but he tries to help students the best he can. “I do not have assistants who can specialize,” Hollingsworth said. “We are working on finding alumni in the area who can help us, especially with specialized events.” As coach, Hollingsworth does not solely help students become better competitors; he also coordinates fundraising, organizes practices, and serves as the link between the team and CASNR. Members of the team are pleased with Hollingsworth’s performance, said barrel racer and breakaway roper Savanna Christensen, an animal science junior from Medicine Lodge, Kan. “Cody’s positive attitude has really helped our team,” said calf roper John Seifert, an agribusiness junior from Acampo, Calif. “He not only teaches us how to be good competitors but also helps us become better students and better people.” Team roper Kurt Gulick, an agricultural economics junior from Miller, Mo., said he admires the time and effort Hollingsworth puts into the team. He said he especially appreciates Hollingsworth strengthening the team’s relationships with CASNR and alumni. The program is running more smoothly with Hollingsworth, despite the pressure he has to be coach, manager and liaison, Christensen said. “Since Cody came on board, the team is much more organized,” Christensen said. “Practices and meetings are set on a schedule, and all of our finances and paperwork are kept in order.” Hollingsworth said consistency has been the biggest issue for the program through the years. Still, the support and dedication of current and former rodeo team members is why the program continues, Damron said. “Many people have volunteered their time and resources to the program over the years,” Damron said. “Even though there has been support, it just was not structured.” CASNR and Hollingsworth desire to address the program’s problem of inconsistency with some consistency, Damron said. “We want to provide a mechanism for continuously focusing on what needs to be focused on,” Damron said. “Not having to get

Cody Hollingsworth watches OSU Cowboys and Cowgirls practice at the OSU practice arena. Photo by Morgan Meisenheimer. 34 | summer/f all 2013

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a new group up to speed every year helps to build a platform of “Rodeo is an expensive interest, especially on a student advocacy for the program.” budget,” Larrabee said. “Horses eat grain and hay twice a day, and Hollingsworth said he considers CASNR’s support, especially feed is far from cheap. Rodeo team members also have to pay for the help of Cynda Clary, CASNR associate dean of academic their travel expenses and entry fees.” To offset team members’ financial challenge, a considerable programs, to have helped the team’s progress greatly. “The college has allowed me to be here and has given the team amount of Hollingsworth’s time is spent interacting with supporters an opportunity to take steps forward,” Hollingsworth said. “Since to build scholarship and team funds, he said. Larrabee said she and Dr. Clary’s arrival, she has played a major her teammates appreciate his efforts. We are proud and excited to role in the progression and development of “Big steps have been taken to improve have the rodeo team, and not the team’s financial status and to start giving the rodeo program.” scholarships,” Christensen said. The team has advanced in many areas, just the rodeo club, associated including competition, fundraising and with CASNR. Currently, the program has established — Steve Damron three major scholarship accounts: the even team morale, Hollingsworth said. CASNR Interim Assistant Dean Clem McSpadden Memorial Rodeo Team Regarding improvements in competition, Hollingsworth said he is amazed how quickly the team has grown. Scholarship, the Sally Watkins Vielma Endowed Rodeo Scholarship “Last year, the largest rodeos we went to had 12 to 17 students Fund and the Cowboy Rodeo Endowed Scholarship. competing,” Hollingsworth said. “This year, we have 28 competing Both club and team members are proactive in garnering members with the potential for a few more. All of these students financial support for the program, Hollingsworth said. are going to the rodeos, and multiple students have made it to the “Unfortunately, a lot of the progress we are making is behind the scenes laying the foundation, which is hard to see sometimes,” finals at every rodeo.” Hollingsworth said one of the biggest challenges the OSU Hollingsworth said. “I hope the students can see the fruits of their rodeo program faces is the costs associated with the activity and labor by next fall.” Although much of his work is still laying groundwork, how important scholarships are to students. Oklahoma State University does not recognize rodeo as a economic incentives for students do exist, Hollingsworth said. varsity athletic sport. Therefore, the team and its supporters “At this point, it is not an extra financial burden to have must secure funding for student scholarships and team expenses, your horses [in Stillwater],” Hollingsworth said. “Our competing Hollingsworth said. members can have one stall per event they compete in for only $10 This has created some challenges with recruiting for OSU, a month.” Hollingsworth said, making financial support from donors even To pay for their utility bills and livestock leases, the team heavily relies on fundraisers. more critical. “Scholarships, or lack thereof, are a big reason why many great “Selling merchandise has made the most money, and for our competitors have not rodeoed for OSU,” Hollingsworth said. newest fundraiser, we are putting on a three-event barrel racing Larrabee said rodeo is her way of life. Despite her unconditional series,” Larrabee said. love for the sport, Larrabee said she did not rodeo at OSU as a The new push for financial assistance has reinvigorated freshman for financial reasons. Still, her passion counteracted her support from donors like Walt Garrison, a former OSU and Dallas initial decision, and she joined the team as a sophomore. Cowboy football player and OSU rodeo team member.


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“I try to do everything I can to help the team,” Garrison said. to us,” Seifert said. “It really enhances our ability to succeed and “I go to every fundraiser I can, and I talk to Boone Pickens and gives us more opportunities to keep improving.” President Burns Hargis about the team every chance I get.” As a result of the team’s new direction, positive changes have Garrison said he hopes other alumni and rodeo enthusiasts occurred, Hollingsworth said. However, these encouraging signs also want to support the program. are not limited to fundraising or competition alone. In fact, team “Anybody who wants to support the Oklahoma State Rodeo morale has been “exceptional,” he said. Team can donate to the Clem McSpadden Memorial OSU Rodeo “The students get along great and work hard together,” Team Scholarship,” Garrison said. “The Hollingsworth said. “They have developed F inancial assistance enhances team eventually will use only the fund’s as a team and compete together as a team.” our ability to succeed and interest. This way, donations last forever.” Larrabee said team morale has “done a Since 1946, more than 1,000 students gives us more opportunities 180” since Hollingsworth’s hire. As a whole, have been a part of OSU’s two rodeo to keep improving. the rodeo team, rodeo club and CASNR — John Seifert are excited by the promising changes the groups. Garrison said he encourages these OSU Rodeo Calf Roper alumni to give back. program has made, Hollingsworth said. “If everybody who has ever rodeoed at Oklahoma State sent “To know you matter is important,” Damron said. “The a $10 donation, we would have a lot of money for those kids,” CASNR administration wants to send that message to the team Garrison said. and to rodeo alumni.” Gulick said he considers donor support to be a “win for the Christensen said the team members are happy to be a part of a whole team.” program with such a bright future. “Although our team competes together and puts in a lot “We are the Oklahoma State Cowboys,” Garrison said. “It is of work and long hours together, we bear the financial burden important that we keep supporting agriculture programs like the individually,” Gulick said. “When we get donor support, it helps rodeo team.” CJ us to afford school and lets us to keep doing what we love.” The team has tremendous appreciation for its supporters and Morgan Meisenheimer CASNR, Seifert said. Mt. A iry, Md. “Financial assistance from CASNR and donors is a huge deal L ivestock Marketing

Calf roper John Seifert displays his OSU rope can. Rope cans are used to store, protect and transport ropes. Photo by Morgan Meisenheimer. 36 | su mmer/f all 2013

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Proud to be OSU Cowboys! Each year, the Oklahoma FFA Association officers are full-time students at Oklahoma State University, while they serve more than 24,000 Oklahoma high school members representing 352 local FFA chapters. Forever Blue. Forever Orange.

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to get them Randy Byford’s passion for OSU inspired him to give students a gift on four wheels.

The 2012-13 animal science judging teams and coaches join donors and university officials for delivery of the new van: Mike Woods (left), interim vice president judging assistant coach; horse judging team members Emily Handke, Haley Collins, Rhianna Stockton, Brooke Devore and Lauren Wells; Randy Byford, Robin Byfor Katie Duysen, Morgan Meisenheimer, Jake Warntjes and Jamie Bloomberg; Mark Johnson, livestock judging coach; Clint Mefford, assistant livestock judging coach; C 38 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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hen the Oklahoma State University animal science judging teams travel in their new 15-passenger van, onlookers can not miss the bright orange racing stripes and the O-State logo. This spirited ride is thanks to OSU Foundation donor Randy Byford and his wife, Robin. Byford’s love of OSU, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the animal science department brought about his donation of a van to the animal science judging teams. Byford said he is proud of his background and the experiences that have shaped who he is. “I was raised on a hog farm and began raising Chester Whites with my older brother after my FFA adviser, Jack Cheatham, took me to purchase my first gilt,” Byford said. “While attending Comanche High School, I was active in 4-H and FFA and continued to show hogs throughout school.” After graduating from high school, Byford attended OSU from

1977 to 1980. He studied animal science until he left to become a field man for the Chester White Swine Record Association. Byford said he always wanted to go to OSU because of the animal science program and because his older brother attended OSU to study entomology. During Byford’s time at OSU, he said he built relationships with animal science faculty and staff members such as Kim Brock, OSU farm operations coordinator, and Robert Totusek, former animal science department head. Building those relationships allowed Byford to land his first job and remain enthusiastic about agricultural programs, he said. “While working for the registry, my territory was everything located west of the Mississippi River,” Byford said. “[My job] allowed me to attend county, state and national hog shows and sales as well as work with thousands of 4-H and FFA members.” Dan Parrish, former CWRSA executive secretary and current director of the Department of Agricultural Environmental

m vice president, dean and director of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; Steven Cooper, horse judging coach; Natalie Baker, horse ford, Robin Byford, OSU President Burns Hargis, OSU Alumni Association members Marta White and Dennis White; livestock judging team members Clay Zwilling, judging coach; Clint Rusk, OSU animal science department head; and Kathy McNally, OSU Foundation senior director of development. Photo by Jackson Alexander. COWBOY JOURNAL | 39

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Randy Byford purchased his Buick and GMC dealership in Chickasha, Okla., in 2007. Photo by Randy Talley.

Management Services at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Although his livelihood is in the car business, Byford has Food and Forestry said he had known Randy Byford for several maintained his love of agricultural programs through promoting years and knew his goal was to be a field man. 4-H and FFA groups throughout Oklahoma. He renewed his “Many people had impressed upon me the need to hire him desire to give back to young people and support OSU’s animal to benefit our association,” Parrish said. science programs. After discovering OSU’s “I knew he would be the right man for My deep agricultural livestock judging team had won its 17th the job and would be an asset to Chester background enabled me to do national championship and OSU’s horse White breeders across the country.” judging team had secured its third world so many things, and I wanted After working for the Chester White championship in eight years, Byford said he to give back to hard-working and Duroc registries for nearly four years, wanted to reward these top programs. Byford met his wife, Robin Linduff, who young people. “My deep agricultural background enabled — Randy Byford received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees me to do so many things,” Byford said. “I OSU Foundation donor from OSU in accounting and worked for wanted to give back to the hard-working internal auditing at OSU. In 1983, the two married, and Randy young people at OSU.” became a car salesman for Bob Moore Cadillac in Oklahoma City. Byford said the 4-H, FFA, animal science and livestock “I worked for Bob Moore from 1983 until 2005 and enjoyed programs he was involved in gave him an identity and, if he had every minute,” Byford said. “Not many people knew Mr. Moore not had these opportunities, he would not be where he is today. owned cattle and horses himself, and his values, which were shaped “You will not find a team that worked harder than we did from agriculture, aligned with my outlook on working with people. this past year,” said Clay Zwilling, a senior animal science and Mr. Moore stood for integrity and treating others fairly, and that agricultural education double major from Viola, Ill., and member influence helped guide me into how I run my business today.” of the national champion livestock judging team. “It’s an honor Byford purchased his own dealership in 2007, Byford Buick to know you have worked hard toward a common goal as a team. and GMC located in Chickasha, Okla. Byford’s background at Now, we can look back and remember we are a part of history.” OSU, coupled with his friendship with OSU Alumni Association Zwilling said Byford’s dedication and desire to give back to members Dennis and Marta White of Ninnekah, Okla., allowed others has not gone unnoticed. He said he felt humbled to know him to re-establish connections on campus, develop relationships the animal science department has great supporters like the Byfords, with OSU faculty and staff, and promote his business. who contribute to the judging program. 40 | Summer/f all 2013

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“Donors can be very creative in their gifts to the university,” said Kathy McNally, OSU Foundation senior director of development for the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “The OSU Foundation certainly appreciates the generosity of Randy and Robin Byford. The gift of a van for the animal science judging teams provides increased visibility to an already strong program at Oklahoma State.” McNally said although Byford is not an alumnus of the university, he has a passion for OSU. That passion matched a need in the animal science department, resulting in a van that will not only provide transportation to contests but also will serve as a recruiting tool for OSU. “We greatly appreciate Mr. Byford’s support in donating this new van for the judging teams,” said Steven Cooper, associate professor of animal science and coach of the OSU horse judging team. “We travel thousands of miles each year across numerous states, and it will be nice to have a new vehicle to represent OSU and our department.” The support the animal science department receives from alumni and friends enables it to offer students additional opportunities, such as the judging programs, and helps it continue a winning tradition, Cooper said. “When you are on a judging team, those vans become your home for a good portion of your tenure,” Zwilling said. “Having a comfortable, reliable van strictly for the judging teams is appreciated by everyone.” Haley Collins, a junior animal science major from Dallas, competed on the 2012 world champion horse judging team. She said the teams were grateful for Byford’s donation. “When we’re pulling up to contests, we see other universities’ vans, and none of them have anything as impressive as what we have now,” Collins said. “This van will be a great asset in making the teams recognizable to prospective judging team members.” When alumni and donors continue to support programs like livestock judging, the programs flourish, Zwilling said. He also said his fellow team members know for OSU to be successful in the future, they are as key to the team’s success as alumni and donors as they were as members. CJ

Jackson Alexander Anadarko, Okla. Agribusiness and Education

Gift of a Lifetime

The Oklahoma State University Foundation, as the official fundraising organization for OSU, accepts cash, checks, credit cards, pledges, gifts of property, stocks and real estate. Furthermore, donors can continue their impact after death by including OSU in their estate plans. To give to the university, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, or an academic department, contact Kathy McNally or Darin Russell at the OSU Foundation by calling 405-385-5100.

Teams win national, world titles In 2012, the Oklahoma State University livestock judging team won national championship No. 17, making OSU home to the most titles since Oklahoma A&M won its first in 1925. OSU’s horse judging team won the 2012 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship, making it the third horse judging championship won by OSU in eight years, with previous wins coming in 2004 and 2008. The 2012 livestock team is one of only 12 teams in the 112-year-history of Intercollegiate Livestock Judging to win back-to-back titles at the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo., and the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., joining the 1990, 2001 and 2010 OSU teams in this accomplishment. Since the AQHA World Show judging contest’s creation in 1979, OSU has been home to six world titles. Livestock team members included Jamie Bloomberg, animal science senior from Berwick, Ill.; Katie Duysen, animal science senior from Porterville, Calif.; Morgan Meisenheimer, agricultural communications senior from Mount Airy, Md.; Jake Warntjes, animal science senior from White City, Ore.; Clay Zwilling, animal science and agricultural education senior from Viola, Ill.; Emily Bardot, animal science and agricultural education senior from Lonedell, Mo.; Rashele Blakley, agricultural education senior from Oologah, Okla.; McKenzie Clifton, animal science senior from Kingfisher, Okla.; Marissa Garside, animal science senior from Tulare, Calif.; Chris Hall, animal science senior from Moore, Okla.; Chris Hofschulte, animal science senior from Wyandotte, Okla.; Chastin Leggett, animal science and agricultural education senior from Baxter Springs, Kan.; Ryan McCoon, plant and soil sciences senior from Modesto, Calif.; Mark Sims, animal science senior from Elgin, Okla.; and Shelby Skinner, agricultural communications senior from Bolvar, Mo. The 2012 livestock judging team was coached by six-time national coach of the year Mark Johnson, professor of animal science and Totusek Endowed Chair. The assistant coaches were Blake Bloomberg, animal science doctoral student from Berwick, Ill., and Clint Mefford, agricultural communications master’s student from Central Point, Ore. Horse team members included Brooke Devore, animal science senior from Conifer, Colo.; Haley Collins, animal science junior from Dallas; Emily Handke, animal science junior from Lenapah, Okla.; Esteban Minero, animal science senior from Santa Paula, Calif.; Rhianna Stockton, animal science and agricultural education senior from Jay, Okla.; Lauren Wells, animal science and agricultural communications senior from Wyoming, Ill.; and Bryce Williams, animal science junior from Colcord, Okla. Steven Cooper, animal science associate professor, coached the 2012 horse judging team with assistance from Natalie Baker, an animal science master’s student from Austin, Texas. COWBOY JOURNAL | 41

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Congratulations, Alpha Gamma Rho.

• Dr. Thomas M. Keys Outstanding IFC Pledge Class Award • • 2012 Homecoming Sweepstakes Recipient • Interested in joining? Visit www.osuagrs.com or call Recruitment Chair Dalton Downing at 918-314-2176 or Rush Chair Blayne Horn at 405-574-5789.

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OSU entomologists work to save the endangered American Burying Beetle.


s you fall asleep at night, your mind racing, the American Burying Beetle is racing against time to find a food source large enough to support its next generation. Nicrophorus americanus, commonly known as the American Burying Beetle, was declared federally endangered in 1989. Few populations exist in the United States today, and one of those populations resides in Oklahoma. Kyle Risser, doctoral student in entomology and plant pathology, and Tom Ferrari, Master of Science candidate in entomology and plant pathology, are working to learn more about this insect and what factors are contributing to its decline. The project started in 2012 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked the OSU entomology program to be a partner in its efforts to preserve this species. Risser received his bachelor’s degree in entomology from the University of California-Riverside. He came to OSU upon receiving a graduate assistantship and earned his master’s in entomology. Risser said he became interested in researching the American Burying Beetle after learning about the project. Risser said he was excited to determine how to protect such an elegant beetle because his interests revolve around conservation. He described the beetle as “sexy.” “The American Burying Beetle is larger in size than the average beetle and is black with bright orange spots,” Risser said. “Most people are fearful of beetles because of their looks, but that is what draws me to this insect.” Ferrari teamed with Risser on this project in fall of 2012.

Ferrari graduated in May 2012 from the University of Maine at Farmington with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and said he wanted to study this beetle because of the beauty and rarity of the insect. “We are trying to learn more about the basic natural history and biology of this animal so we can be more effective at conserving the remaining population,” said Carmen Greenwood, faculty adviser to the project and professor of entomology and plant pathology. The American Burying Beetle’s reproductive biology is what most people find particularly fascinating, Greenwood said. This beetle requires a dead animal or bird as a host to serve as an incubator for its offspring. “A host could include, but is not limited to, a dove, a large rat or a chipmunk carcass,” Risser said. The male beetle arrives first at the host site and immediately signals for the female. The host is the food source for the American Burying Beetles’ immature, or larval, stages. The male and female begin the preparation process by removing the hair or feathers from the host and coating them with anti-microbial compounds found in the beetles’ saliva. The host is then termed a “brood ball.” The eggs are laid in the soil near the brood ball. When the larvae emerge in 30 to 45 days, they are carried to the brood ball, where the adults feed and protect them to adulthood. The goal of the team’s research is to determine some measure of the population density in Oklahoma and to determine what ecological factors might contribute to its decline, Greenwood said. COWBOY JOURNAL | 43

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Kyle Risser measures an American Burying Beetle at a Pittsburg County, Okla., relocation site during Phase I of the research. Photo by Tom Ferrari.

One ecological factor is the beetle’s competition, Risser said. “Because of the size of host the beetle needs, other insects and vertebrate scavengers compete with the beetle for available hosts,” Risser said. “Insect competition includes dung beetles, other burying beetles, rove beetles, hide beetles and maggots. Skunks, ferrets, foxes, coyotes and vultures are vertebrate competition for the American Burying Beetle.” Other reasons this beetle is becoming endangered could include habitat fragmentation, availability of hosts and potential natural enemies. In fall 2012, Risser, Ferrari, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began Phase I of their research, which consisted of relocating beetles from 26 sites to nearby wildlife management areas. The relocation was necessary because the American Burying Beetles’ habitat was at the site of proposed development. During Phase I, the crew trapped the American Burying Beetle and used acrylic paint to mark their backs for identification. “If we do catch a beetle that we released, it may tell us that the release site is a suitable habitat, which may help to prevent the beetle from immediately returning to the capture site,” Risser said. Once Phase I was completed, the crew moved to Phase II. Phase II is focused on assessing various factors that may be involved in the decline of the American Burying Beetle. Part of Phase II also will include tracking the beetles marked with acrylic paint in Phase I to evaluate how well they survive and if they recolonize sites from which they were removed. The largest American Burying Beetle populations are on Block

Island in Rhode Island, as well as in eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas and Nebraska. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as Risser and Ferrari, focus their research on eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, as the populations in Nebraska and Rhode Island are stable. Many theories offer explanation as to the possible decline of the American Burying Beetle, Greenwood said. “One contributing factor may be the extinction of the passenger pigeon,” Greenwood said. “This pigeon was the ideal host size for the American Burying Beetle, and the range of the passenger pigeon was identical to the current range of the beetle. Habitat fragmentation, increased scavenger competition and the presence of natural enemies may all play a role, as well.” This beetle should be conserved to maintain diversity throughout the ecosystem. The American Burying Beetle contributes to nutrient cycling in the environment through its behavior of burying animal carcasses. “If this beetle goes extinct, the cycling factor is no longer in motion,” Ferrari said. Eventually, the team hopes to sleep soundly at night with the knowledge the American Burying Beetle has secured a carcass large enough to further its population. CJ

Kelsey Cottom Morrison, Okla. Public Relations and Marketing

44 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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CASNR alumnus takes agriculture from farm to fashion.


e has been called the Manhattan Cowboy, but Jerry Stritzke, president and chief operating officer of Coach Inc., still has deep roots in the red soil of Oklahoma. Stritzke grew up on a family farm in Stillwater, Okla. As a youth, he was involved in 4-H, showing livestock, giving speeches, and competing on the national livestock judging team. Following in his father’s footsteps, Stritzke enrolled at Oklahoma State University in 1978. “My experience at OSU was transformative,” Stritzke said. “I was encouraged to learn, apply myself, and take risks. I went from a kid who struggled in high school to a university graduate who received numerous recognitions. “The keys that have allowed me to live the life I have all took place at OSU,” the 52-year-old executive said. Stritzke said the work ethic his father, Jim Stritzke, instilled in him and the opportunities at OSU positioned him to be a successful entrepreneur.

Rick Davis, Stritzke’s Farmhouse fraternity brother, said Stritzke always analyzed every opportunity and was not afraid to make mistakes. “I was encouraged to take risks, to step into leadership roles,” Stritzke said. “It seemed there was nothing I couldn’t take a step and try doing.” Great aspirations will require taking risks, he said. “You must dream big,” Stritzke said. “You will be tested, and it will require courage.” In spring 1982, Stritzke graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics. “I love Oklahoma and Oklahoma State,” Stritzke said. “I have loved taking the lessons I learned with me.” Stritzke said his most gratifying role has been as a husband and father. Stritzke and his wife, Edith, live in Harrison, N.Y. They have three children, Katherine Simons, Laura Nielsen and Jacob Stritzke, and a new grandchild, Leo Thomas Nielsen.

Being named an Oklahoma State University Alumni Hall of Fame inductee is the highest honor bestowed by the OSU Alumni Association. This award normally is given to three alumni to recognize their outstanding achievement in society and professional life. The 58th induction ceremony took place Feb. 15, 2013. The OSU Hall of Fame began in 1956. To date, only 159 of more than 200,000 alumni have been inducted. “You are legends,” said Burns Hargis, OSU president. “We are all so proud to recognize these incredible people. Their stories are legend. It makes such a difference to our students to see what is possible. Not everybody can get all the way in the stratosphere like

these honorees have. You could get part of the way, but you might even get all the way if you will emulate them.” Hargis said they are great inspirations to everyone. Larry Shell, president of the OSU Alumni Association, called the honorees “great treasures.” “They have made a difference and brought such distinction and so much pride in all of us,” Shell said. This years’ honorees were David H. Batchelder, Malone and Amy Mitchell, and, representing the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Jerry D. Stritzke.

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Why did you decide to attend OSU and choose to major in agriculture? I grew up in Stillwater. Agriculture has always been a part of my DNA. My dad was involved in agriculture. We raised cattle, and it has always been a part of my life. What does being an OSU alumnus mean to you? I am extremely humbled. I see myself as being an ambassador. I am a representative of Oklahoma State. It becomes part of the story I tell and who I am. What is your most memorable experience at OSU? Being the agriculture student body president, interacting with the staff, and the OU and OSU wrestling match. Meeting my wife while at Oklahoma State. What is the greatest advice you have ever received? My father gave it to me. He told me “Marriage never stands still.” It’s always getting stronger or weaker. It is the same as in a business, as well. Are you getting stronger or weaker? If not, do you have the will to act? What has been the greatest lesson you have learned through your career experiences? Learning never stops. For me, [OSU] is where it started. Learning is the key to change. To change jobs, to change companies. It is having the ability to learn and adapt. How has your degree in agriculture benefited you and your career? I was studying what I was passionate about and gaining experiences. It’s about stretching yourself and learning. How do you generate new ideas? Everyone is different. I look at the big picture. How are we as a company doing? Where are we successful? Start big and work your way down. Ask questions. Understand your industry and other industries. Look left and right. Take a different approach and be very open.

Until Jerry Stritzke began working for Coach, he had never participated in a job interview. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky. COWBOY JOURNAL | 47

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If you had a chance to start your career path over again, what would you do differently? All of the steps and experiences I have had have gotten me where I am today. If I would have known in college what I know now, I would have learned more. It took me a decade later to really become intrigued by things such as classic history and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It’s like the rise and fall of a business. What has been the most satisfying moment in your career? When other employees or people around me are successful. When they receive a promotion, it has a ripple effect. It’s great to see people take a step in their career paths. What is your favorite quote? “Lean into the pain.” It is a quote that evolved in my family. It is knowing what is hard for you and then having the discipline and courage to confront it first. Who has been the most influential person in your life? My wife. She has made me a whole person and keeps me in tune. Her dynamics impact who I am. What book has inspired you the most? It’s a book about leadership. “On Becoming a Leader” by Warren Bennis. Leadership is such a powerful thing, whether it is in our country, company or on a team.

In 1985, Jerry Stritzke received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. Stritzke began his career as an attorney at Best, Sharp, Thomas, Glass and Atkinson law firm in Tulsa, Okla. He became a partner at Best, Sharp, Sheridan and Stritzke at age 28. In 1993, Stritzke became a consultant for Webb & Shirley/ KPMG Retail Consulting. In 1999, Stritzke became the senior vice president of operations for Limited Brands in Columbus, Ohio. In 2001, Stritzke took the position of CEO of MAST Industries, a $3.5 billion global apparel production and sourcing organization. In 2006, Victoria’s Secret named Stritzke the chief operating officer and co-leader. In 2008, Stritzke joined Coach Inc. as president and chief operating officer.

What are some of your hobbies? Fly fishing, hiking mountains, anything that takes me outdoors. It recharges me. What is your favorite memory growing up in Oklahoma? Agriculture, thunderstorms, winters. It’s just a big sky kind of place, and I love that. Whenever I returned to Oklahoma, I love the sky, especially the sunrises and sunsets. What would you like to share that I haven’t asked about? Being from Oklahoma is special. I am so struck by the work ethic, the good nature and the spirit that they have about themselves. It is an enabler, a success factor. I have the opportunity to travel to a lot of places, and I have seen men and women from Oklahoma making a difference. CJ

Emily Beanland Hollis, Okla. Public Relations and Marketing

Jerry Stritzke’s memories of the early years in Stillwater include fishing with his family (top left); marrying his sweetheart, Edith (top right); and helping with the farm chores from an early age. Photos courtesy of Jerry Stritzke.

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OSU researchers help producers increase cattle production efficiency.


s the sun shines through the barn on a warm spring time, VPRT did not have adequate capital for the proposal but afternoon at the Oklahoma State University Willard approved the request. After VPRT discussed the proposal with Sparks Beef Research Center, the sound of air compression Edelson, they agreed the cost of the equipment would be split dropping an Insentec feeder gate can be heard. between OAES and VPRT. By controlling access to rations, the Insentec feeding Purchasing the equipment was the first step in obtaining technology is advancing the accuracy of cattle feeding throughout the Insentec feeders. Next, funding needed to be gathered for a the industry, said Clint Rusk, animal science department head. building and proper installment of the equipment. “This system will allow for expanded areas of research, such as “Once we had the equipment, we had to find the money to understanding the variation in performance of individual animals,” install it,” Edelson said. “So, I told the animal science department said Casey Maxwell, Sparks Center herd manager and animal the OAES would pay for half of it with state money, if they would science doctoral candidate. pay for half of it with money from their own funds.” The Insentec system allows precision research in feeding The animal science department funded the building with cattle. Accurate measurements can be royalties from intellectual property. made to ensure additives, supplements This equipment will allow Royalties allow money to cycle back and feedstuffs are distributed evenly us to make good scientific through the department to fund research, among a group of cattle. recommendations to producers. Edelson said. The high functionality and range of “We hire smart people,” Edelson — Clint Rusk data the feeders can collect will provide said. “We build facilities for them to do Animal Science Department Head endless research opportunities for OSU, research. They invent new, great things that said Clint Krehbiel, professor of beef cattle nutrition and health go out to the public. The public uses them to do better things, and Sparks Center faculty supervisor. increase the efficiency of animal production in this case, and we After installing the feeders, OSU became the fourth facility in get royalties back that we then hire more people with and/or buy North America to join research leaders in cattle production. more equipment. So, it is kind of a cycling thing. It is a public “It is fairly unique for us to have this system,” Rusk said. “It reinvestment in education and research.” will allow us to garner research grants from across the country.” After anticipation and fund gathering, the Insentec feeders Before the Insentec equipment could be incorporated at the were delivered in fall 2007. However, the equipment remained center, the process of funding and installing the feeders began. in storage until adequate building funds were received. Building “When scientists need new facilities or equipment to conduct construction began in spring 2012, and the installation of the research, they have a couple different routes,” said Jonathan feeder gates was completed in fall 2012. The first research projects Edelson, professor and associate director of the Oklahoma are scheduled to start later this year. Agricultural Experiment Station, which is part of the OSU “I am looking forward to the initiation of research in the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. facility,” Maxwell said. “It will be beneficial to provide an added Edelson said a researcher can approach OAES and ask for advantage to OSU in terms of research opportunities other state or federal money. The requestor can ask Stephen McKeever, institutions may not be able to capitalize upon.” the vice president for OSU Research and Technology, or VPRT, for Maxwell said he has become familiar with the functionality of funds. They can also write a grant proposal, Edelson said. the equipment. Obtaining the capital for the feeders was anything but an When an animal approaches the Insentec feeder, the feeding overnight process, Edelson said. gate identifies the animal by its identifcation ear tag and allows The funding request began with Krehbiel submitting a grant or denies it access to the feed trough, Maxwell said. Each station proposal to the VPRT office for the Insentec equipment. At the allows an animal to access feed individually. After each visit, the COWBOY JOURNAL | 49

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time, duration, feed and water intake are recorded electronically, Maxwell said. An advantage to the system is the measurement of feed intake and feed efficiency of animals in a group setting, Krehbiel said. Researchers can feed multiple diets within the same pen of animals without having to separate them.

“This allows us to collect data so each animal is an experimental unit,” Rusk said. Instead of comparing pens of animals, animals within the same pens can be compared to one another. With this capability, fewer animals are needed for each experiment, Rusk said. The data collected from the Insentec feeders is stored in computer files for organization, Rusk said. The information is recorded and accessible for further processing and research. “The biggest learning curve will be how to manage all the information we get,” Krehbiel said. Information can be retrieved from a computer linked to the Insentec feeders once the program has recorded it, Maxwell said. Rusk compared formulating cattle rations to making the perfect trail mix. Discovering how to prevent one individual from receiving all of the raisins in a handful of trail mix is where science comes in, Rusk said. This system can help researchers evenly disperse nutritional value throughout a ration. One gram of feed additive per ton of feed demands accurate distribution to verify it will not all be fed to a single animal. Understanding how to feed each animal accurately can increase production efficiency, Rusk said. “This equipment will allow us to make good scientific recommendations to producers,” Rusk said. With feed costs and cattle at an all-time high, producers cannot afford to waste feed, time or money, Rusk said. Improving the accuracy and efficiency of cattle feeding provides producers a chance to make money by increasing production levels, Rusk said. Producers look to researchers and the university for advice, and the Insentec feeders allow research to increase efficiency in cattle production to match the increase in the growing world population, Rusk said. With this investment, the DASNR administration’s primary hopes are to provide opportunities to increase knowledge for all humanity, Edelson said. By presenting commercial information, royalties increase and return to the university to create more opportunities to better serve society, he said. “We hope for funding opportunities to help the industry,” Krehbiel said. With the Insentec technology, OSU will continue to move forward as a research leader in the cattle production industry, Krehbiel said. “This system allows another option for industry and federally funded research as well as a great recruitment tool to attract quality students to OSU,” Maxwell said. CJ

Emily Andreini Red Bluff, Calif. Public Relations

Insentec feeders were installed in spring 2013 and made ready for research at the OSU Willard Sparks Research Center in Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Emily Andreini. 50 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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Leaving a


ach spring, the Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources recognizes outstanding students throughout the college. This year, 15 students were honored as the 2012-2013 CASNR Seniors of Distinction. The top seven received the Dean’s Award of Excellence, formerly the Dean LeCrone award, and one earned the CASNR Outstanding Senior Award. Agribusiness pre-law major Jace White received the Outstanding Senior Award at the 2013 CASNR awards banquet. Originally from Cherokee, Okla., White was involved in OSU activities such as Alpha Zeta, Aggie-X and the CASNR Student Council Internal Affairs Committee. White received a bronze sculpture by western artist Frederic Remington, titled “The Bronco Buster,” to commemorate the recognition and a $500 educational scholarship sponsored by the Louis and Betty Gardner endowment. “The Gardners’ sons, Brett and Kent, who were both CASNR Outstanding Seniors, created the Louis and Betty Gardner endowment as a way to give back to OSU,” said Steve Damron, interim assistant dean for CASNR academic programs. In honor of their parents, the Gardner brothers created the endowment to recognize the CASNR Outstanding Senior. “CASNR has been a positive outlet for me, and I have grown intellectually and professionally as a result,” White said. “As I pursue my Juris Doctorate as a proud alumnus of Oklahoma State, I will remain thankful to the college for the meaningful opportunities and experiences that have influenced my development.” Joining White as fellow Dean’s Award of Excellence winners were Lori Allmon, an agricultural communications major from Sulphur, Okla.; Ashley Bradbeary, a food science major from Blanchard, Okla.; Collin Craige, a biosystems engineering major from Bokchito, Okla.; Mackenzie Jochim, an entomology major from Broken Arrow, Okla.; Mikayla Marvin, a biosystems engineering major from Yukon, Okla.; and JanLee Rowlett, an animal science major from Hurricane Mills, Tenn. In addition to the honorees above, the following students were recognized as the Seniors of Distinction: Kimberly Branham, an animal science major from Bartlesville, Okla.; Trindle Brueggen, an agribusiness major from Okarche, Okla.; Kelsey Cottom, an agricultural communications major from Morrison, Okla.; Tyler

Jace White, 2013 outstanding senior, plans to earn a law degree after graduation. Photo by Jennie Johnson.

Downing, a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Locust Grove, Okla.; Carolyn Doyle, an animal science major from Elgin, Okla.; Samantha Geis, an agribusiness major from Hitchcock, Okla.; Joshua Goff, an animal science major from Woodward, Okla.; and Brian Livesay, a plant and soil sciences major from Porter, Okla. Other awards given at the 2013 CASNR awards banquet were the Outstanding Advising Award, given to Don Ruhl, assistant professor and academic adviser for biochemistry and molecular biology; the Outstanding Staff Award, given to Diana Bateson, information assistant for animal science; and the Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teaching Award, given to Joe Schatzer, professor of agricultural economics. The Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman was Jessica Neal, an animal science major from Duncan, Okla., and the 2012-2013 Outstanding Club Award went to the Pre-Vet Club. This year, CASNR awarded $306,200 in scholarships to returning students, $25,500 to incoming transfer students and $116,250 to incoming freshmen, totaling $447,950 in scholarship money for the 2013-2014 academic year. CJ ­— by Jackson Alexander COWBOY JOURNAL | 51

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STORY Oklahoma couple offers new organic whole wheat pancakes with help from FAPC.


arming provides a history, a tradition and a lifestyle to Kris recipe is one of our most popular products we’ve come up with and John Gosney. But as owners of John’s Farm in Fairview, throughout the years.” Okla., this husband-and-wife team challenged the practices Eight years ago, Kris attended the “Basic Training” event of their forefathers beginning in 1995. conducted by the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Today, as they launch their new whole wheat pancake mixes Center at Oklahoma State University. The training helps small for consumers throughout Oklahoma, they continue to diversify businesses and producers throughout Oklahoma discover how their certified organic operation. FAPC can help them develop and market An agricultural lifestyle has been a part I started looking for as their products. of the Gosneys’ heritage since their ancestors many ways as possible to “My job requires me to maintain staked claims during the Oklahoma Land contact and relationships with our clients show people how different who attend Basic Training and other events Run of 1893. The Gosney family’s roots of farming run deep through the Major County we are from traditional throughout FAPC,” said Chuck Willoughby, farmers in Oklahoma. soil, dating back more than 120 years. FAPC manager for business and marketing — Kris Gosney “Both John and I come from Land relations. “Kris first came to Basic Training Co-owner of John’s Farm Run families who staked claims here in in 2005, and we’ve been helping develop Major County,” Kris said. “We both mark the third and fourth products for them ever since.” generations of actively farming wheat and cattle here.” Willoughby said the whole wheat pancakes took about eight In 1995, John’s Farm became a certified organic operation by months to develop. Renee Albers-Nelson, FAPC milling and baking the U.S. Department of Agriculture program standards through specialist, and her staff put in hundreds of hours of extensive work the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. during this time. “It wasn’t an easy or straight-forward process,” Kris said. “It “Once the clients have worked on their business plans and took about three years until we became totally organic. We had to know specifically what they want to sell, we have them work with rid the soil of all of the chemical residue and wait a few years for the one or more of our technical specialists,” Willoughby said. “In this cows to produce calves that would be raised completely organic.” case, it was Renee Albers-Nelson.” John said he is a self-taught organic farmer, with the aid of his Albers-Nelson and her student aid developed the whole wheat landlords and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. Organic pancake mix based on Kris’ original recipe in the kitchen at FAPC. farming is not common in Oklahoma, which distinguishes John’s “It was important to Kris to keep the recipe simple and with as Farm from many other operations in the state, he said. few ingredients as possible while maintaining a great taste,” Albers “After we went organic, I started looking for as many ways as Nelson said. “What sets this recipe apart from others is the fact possible to show people how different we are from conventional Kris wanted the consumer of this mix to be able to add 12 ounces farmers in Oklahoma,” Kris said. “Our whole wheat pancake of whatever liquid they wanted, whether it be a soda or milk.” 52 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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John’s Farm whole wheat pancake mix is distributed to natural grocers and farmers’ markets throughout Oklahoma. Photo by Clancy Anderson.

The recipe had to remain simple and use the organic whole wheat flour from John’s Farm, Kris said. While developing the recipe, however, the developers kept in mind hunters and vacationers with limited types of liquids. The labels printed for the pancake mix also give the product a unique touch, Kris said. “John and I were rummaging through some of his parents’ old things when we came upon a flour sack from the old feed mill that used to run here in Fairview,” Kris said. The design spelled “Fairview’s Best” original flour, and John’s Farm eventually adopted it to be used on their packaging. “Each one of our pancake labels has a different story about our operation,” Kris said. “When new labels are ordered, the story on the packaging will change to another about our history. Our customers will consistently be learning something new about us.” The whole wheat pancake mix, along with many other John’s Farm products are distributed to natural grocers and farmers’ markets throughout Oklahoma, mainly in Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Tulsa. John said they have built their customer base by attending farmers’ markets and talking with people about organic products. “We get a lot of calls from cancer patients, diabetics and people with other illnesses because their physicians have suggested an organic diet,” Kris said. “What a lot of them don’t realize is how much simpler it is to eat organic, compared to eating conventionally.

It’s amazing to hear the personal stories from individuals who have transformed their eating to organic.” Both Kris and John agree organic farming will continue to be their way of life. They said they love the simplicity and honesty they get from producing organic products. Creating whole wheat pancakes has been successful for the Gosneys, but they do not plan to stop there, Kris said. John’s Farm currently has an organic dog treat in the making at FAPC. “It’s just another audience I thought we could reach and can’t wait to see how things turn out,” Kris said. Throughout time, the Gosneys said they hope to have a large impact on Oklahoma agriculture and would love to see the power of organic flourish throughout their state for generations to come. “We have six beautiful grandchildren, none of whom live in [Fairview], but they spend a lot of time with us on the farm when they come to visit,” Kris said. “The next generation of our family knows how important this tradition is. We’re anxiously awaiting the future of John’s Farm as the grandchildren embrace organic agriculture for themselves in the many days to come.” CJ

Clancy Anderson Longmont, Colo. Graphic and Web Design COWBOY JOURNAL | 53

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CASNR restores ties with Haramaya University in Ethiopia.


and grant universities strive toward the same overall mission: connection between OSU and Haramaya stemmed from the to teach, to conduct research and to provide research-based attrition of people involved in the original work and a 700-percent information to the public through extension work. By growth in the student population during the past decade. “Ethiopia has made a strong push to increase the number of helping establish Alemaya University in Ethiopia, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State people who have access to higher education,” Miller said. “They University has exemplified this mission on a global scale. have actually started new universities and drastically increased the “In the late 1950s, through a U.S. Department of State enrollment at the current universities.” Bennett, who spent three months at Haramaya in 2012, said initiative called the Point Four Program, the decision was made to create a new agricultural college in Ethiopia,” said Ed Miller, OSU he has never seen students so thrilled to be in a library than the Regents service professor and director of students at Haramaya. Their creativity in learning “Their books are very old, but international agricultural programs. and teaching in Ethiopia is The request to create the new college they were excited to have their hands came to OSU through the relationship exceptional, given the restraints. on any material that could expand their — Jeremy Bennett knowledge,” Bennett said. “The students between President Harry S. Truman Agricultural Economics Master’s Student and former OSU president Henry G. are eager to learn.” These expanding universities have encountered problems, Bennett. OSU received a 10-year U.S. Agency for International Development grant to create Alemaya Agricultural College in such as where to house students, where to teach them and how to 1967. Alemaya, which became Haramaya University in 1995, expand the library, Miller said. A tremendous increase in the number of students is not the was designed to become a self-sustaining institution for higher education, Miller said. Today, Haramaya University is independent only challenge the university faces, Bennett said. All classes at Haramaya are taught in English, which is a big obstacle, he said. of USAID and fully supported by the Ethiopian government. For 10 years, OSU faculty traveled to Ethiopia and helped Nearly 90 languages are spoken in Ethiopia. “It was hard for some students who come from very remote build Haramaya. The faculty assisted the Ethiopians with everything from laying cement to teaching classes, Miller said. villages and only know their local tribal language,” Bennett said. “[The faculty] were down-to-earth, agricultural kinds of Ethiopia’s needs are different today than when OSU came to people,” Miller said. “They had higher degrees, Ph.D.s, but they its aid 60 years ago. “They have a number of institutions, but their growth rate also grew up on farms and knew how to do practical things.” In addition to starting Haramaya University, OSU and has been so tremendous that they are overwhelmed,” Miller said. Today, one of the most prevalent needs for Ethiopian the Ethiopians started a preparatory school called Jimma. This institution was formed because many Ethiopian students were universities is to develop human capacity, Miller said. “[Haramaya] needs help in developing its faculty and staff to not prepared to attend university-level classes, Miller said. Today, be able to teach, conduct research, and educate all of the students Jimma is an independent university, as well. Recently, OSU has worked to re-establish the connection who have come there,” Miller said. “That’s a big challenge. They with Haramaya University, said Jeremy Bennett, OSU agricultural don’t have enough people at the master’s and Ph.D. levels to do the economics master’s student. things they need to do.” While Haramaya thrives and the U.S. has good relationships Miller said Haramaya University needs to “mirror the with Ethiopia, Miller said, the new initiative to re-establish the mission” of universities like OSU. OSU is as relevant to Haramaya University today as it was when the college was first getting started but in a different way, An Ethiopian child enjoys a snack provided by an OSU community service outreach project. Photo by Jeremy Bennett. Miller said. COWBOY JOURNAL | 55

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Jeremy Bennett (in orange cap) helps Haramaya University students during campus beautification day. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Bennett.

“They need additional faculty to help them get their graduate students advised and graduated,” Miller said. “We need to help them increase the number of [individuals with doctoral degrees] they have on their faculty so they can have good, viable education programs for both their undergraduate and graduate students.” Bennett said he visited different classes every day to see how they were taught. He said he saw teaching at its worst and its best. Some teachers would teach using PowerPoints they had found on the Internet, he said. The consistency of the lectures was difficult to follow, so Bennett helped some teachers make their PowerPoint presentations flow better, he said. “A major concern with having a small faculty is how consumed teachers will be with teaching, and this will limit their ability to conduct research and deliver information,” Miller said. “Their research is beneficial to the economic development of the country.” OSU can assist Haramaya University in three major areas, Miller said. The first is to increase the number of master’s- and doctoral-level faculty within key programs. Secondly, they plan to create a program where Haramaya graduate students start school in Ethiopia, then come to OSU to perform research, and finish their degree back at Haramaya. Finally, OSU can train staff members to work in laboratories to increase their research capacity, Miller said. “[Haramaya] may have three or four people who have their bachelor’s degrees teaching in the classroom with little practical experience,” Miller said. “We can help them move their outstanding graduates from the bachelor’s level through their master’s and Ph.D. and get them prepared to be full-time, effective faculty members.” Miller said a sandwich program is being investigated where a student might initiate his or her work in Ethiopia, come to OSU to work with an adviser and use OSU laboratories, and then return to Ethiopia to finish his or her degree. “The sandwich program allows Ethiopian students to come study here, and then return back to Ethiopia to assist their universities,” Miller said. “In the past, some master’s students came to the U.S. to study, graduated and did not return home.”

Miller said training Haramaya staff members to work in the laboratories is the third way OSU needs to help, adding OSU can bring people to the United States on short-term training sessions. A misconception exists that if OSU faculty would go to Haramaya and teach, then life would be great for the Ethiopians, Miller said. “That’s not the case,” Miller said. “The Ethiopians are smart. There is no shortage of brainpower in Ethiopia, and that fact needs to be emphasized. They need assistance because they are shorthanded in the classroom.” Bennett said seeing how much Haramaya University was doing with the bare minimum was inspiring. “Their creativity in learning and teaching in Ethiopia is exceptional, given the restraints,” Bennett said. Miller said faculty and students from Ethiopia and OSU could benefit from each other. He said OSU students could learn much from an internship or short-term study-abroad experience at institutions like Haramaya. “It’s part of why a lot of our students need to be more informed graduates and citizens,” Miller said. “The message here is ‘this is not a one-way street.’ It’s a reciprocal opportunity. That is an important idea to capture.” Young people who want to work in Africa as service volunteers are looking for a place where they can make a difference. Ethiopia would be a good place to invest time and energy, Miller said. CASNR aims to operationalize the land grant mission every day. Its collaboration with Ethiopia’s Haramaya University extends that mission to people on the other side of the world. Through joint efforts in research, teaching and extension, agriculture will remain powerful on a global scale. CJ

Jennie Johnson Craig, Neb. Layout and Graphic Design

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Beneath the


he original Oklahoma State University swine farm is a familiar site to those traveling along Highway 51 west of Stillwater. Opened in the 1940s, it housed up to 150 sows until it closed in 2004. The smell from the barn once was the first thing to greet people coming into town. Now, remediation of the lagoon is underway. After the original farm’s closure, the new OSU Swine Research Education Center opened in November 2004 and housed its first pigs in December 2004. The facility has been recognized for its technologically advanced, odor-eliminating systems. The new center is located on McElroy Road west of the Animal Science Arena in Stillwater, Okla., about two miles north of the old swine barn. Most of a swine farm’s smell comes from its lagoon, as most farms pump hundreds of gallons of waste into the lagoon multiple times a day, said OSU forestry professor Rodney Will. Some lagoons use anaerobic fermentation to break down the organic matter to rid the water of waste. Other facilities use aerobic fermentation or a combination of both. Microbial action consumes and digests the organic material, but what happens when a facility closes and the lagoon remains?

“The smell was taken care of when they covered the drained lagoon,” Will said. However, for the past four years, OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources faculty from the natural resource ecology and management department and plant and soil sciences department — Rodney Will, Chad Penn, Tom Hennessey and others — have worked together to stabilize and close the decommissioned swine lagoon by using plants to capture excess phosphorus and nitrogen to prevent these nutrients from polluting nearby Cow Creek. “When starting out, we wanted to determine two things: the rooting environment for the plants and what happens to the nutrients of the ‘sludge,’” said Penn, a plant and soil sciences associate professor. “Sludge” is the organic material made up of pig manure left after the lagoon was drained. Soil, approximately 24 inches deep, was added to the top as a cap, or cover, for the sludge. Before planting trees at the lagoon, faculty conducted an experiment in a greenhouse by simulating soil conditions at the lagoon to determine what would work the best to stabilize it. The research team grew short-rotation forages and trees for

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Left:The old swine farm lagoon had to be drained before remediation could begin. Photo courtesy of Rodney Will. Center: Dipesh K.C., an NREM doctoral student, measures tree growth at the site of the old lagoon. Photo by Paige Vandaveer. Right:The original swine farm facility is located off Highway 51. Photo by Paige Vandaveer.

Two CASNR departments work together to extract nutrients and stabilize the original swine farm lagoon. eight weeks in pots with the same ratio of soil and sludge and no drainage allowed. The more sludge the plants had access to, especially trees, the better they grew, Penn said. However, some sludge materials are very “salty” and can inhibit root growth of saltsensitive plants or trees. Not all sludge materials are equal. “Manure is a great resource when planting,” Penn said. “Most of the time, people use it as a fertilizer by mixing it with their soil.” In spring 2008, the research team planted approximately 2,000 trees in the two-acre, covered lagoon, with half being bareroot unimproved sycamore seedlings and the other being 20-inch cuttings from Oklahoma and Texas cottonwood tree selections. No nutrients or amendments were added. “We chose fast-growing trees that are adapted to the area and are naturally found in the creek area near the farm,” Will said. By spring 2009, because of the deer population’s love for cottonwood trees, new trees had to be planted. This time, however, an eight-foot deer fence surrounding the lagoon was added. Will said the most important function of the trees is to stabilize the site and prevent nutrients from leaching into Cow Creek. By incorporating nutrients in their leaves and wood, the trees can separate large amounts of nutrients. Also, by transpiring water,

the trees prevent movement of groundwater beyond the area of the old lagoon. “Once the growth rate of the trees declines, they will be harvested from the site to reduce nutrients contained in the system,” Will said. He said another advantage of harvest is if there are markets, the wood can be sold for a profit. Once trees are harvested, new ones will be planted in the same location. The process used to stabilize the old swine lagoon is extensive and time consuming. At the same time, the process is environmentally friendly and cost efficient. “There are other ways that are faster, but at the same time, this research is to show that there is an environmental way to take care of a lagoon,” Will said. CJ

Paige Vandaveer Blanchard, Okla. Layout and Graphic Design COWBOY JOURNAL | 59

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Robyn Rudisill, who earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and animal science in 2003, discusses leadership practices with fellow Tyson team members. Photo courtesy of Tyson Foods Inc.

More than

Through a Tyson position, alumna helps others reach their professional potential.


obyn (Sites) Rudisill, director of leadership and organizational development at Tyson Foods Inc., said she remembers hearing the following words often when talking about achieving goals: “Success is determined by how determined you are to succeed.” Today, Rudisill continues to pursue the dreams instilled by her parents, Rhonda and Ray Dean Sites. “My role at Tyson is to help our team members grow,” Rudisill

said. “Everyone works toward the right strategy to make our organization better.” Rudisill said she feels fortunate to work in the agricultural industry, especially with motivated team members. “They all strive for the same goal — to be more effective and productive in their job,” Rudisill said. Rudisill said she loves her job because she helps develop talent and recognizes talent is the greatest resource in an organization.

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Many of her co-workers come from diverse backgrounds, but they Organization, Tyson has hosted the six newly elected national FFA strive to make an impact at Tyson through the strengths and values officers during the past four years as they train prior to starting the agricultural industry offers, she said. their year of service, Rudisill said. Tyson is the only corporation “When you tap into the potential of others, great results can with this unique opportunity to host and help assist the officers be achieved in business,” Rudisill said. with the training. Rudisill uses her background and experiences to add richness “Craig and I help to coordinate their training and logistics and productivity to her job. while also providing opportunities for the officers to enhance their Rudisill said she recalls telling her father she could not do skills in front of our Tyson team members,” Rudisill said. “It is one something because she was “just a girl,” but her father would not of our favorite weeks of the year and a great way for us to give back take no for an answer. to the organization that gave us so very much.” “My dad said, ‘I didn’t raise you to be ‘just’ a girl,’” Rudisill Rudisill said she focuses on teaching communication skills, said. “‘I have always told you if you aligning expectations with the results, worked hard enough, you could There are many things that will and training team members to improve catch your eye, but few will catch achieve anything.’” their performances. Rudisill attended Mountain your heart. “Rudisill currently leads a — Robyn Rudisill group of 35 high-potential team View-Gotebo High School, where her Director of Leadership and Organizational Development father was the agricultural education members through a stringent twoinstructor for 32 years. Her parents were her biggest influence year accelerated leadership development program,” said Karen and made it a point to raise her around people who were highly Armstrong, vice president of diversity and leadership development respected, Rudisill said. of Tyson Foods Inc. “The people I had hoped to be like one day I had right in front Armstrong said what she admires most is how effective Rudisill of me,” Rudisill said. “They were people with high morals doing is in developing positive, credible and trusted relationships with the things I had only hoped to do some day.” her client base at Tyson. Rudisill was elected southwest district vice president of the “Her customers rave about the work she does for them,” Oklahoma FFA Association for 1999-2000. Armstrong said. “This includes session planning, team building, “Robyn was always a competitor,” said Kent Boggs, Oklahoma one-on-one coaching and development, and customized training.” FFA executive secretary. “She has the most beautiful personality Armstrong said Rudisill is a superstar and role model on the and is a great team player. She was dependable in every respect. team because of her passion in helping Tyson’s employees develop She was always on time, always prepared, always improving and into high-performance teams. “Live your life in the ways that bring pleasure to you and always respectful.” Rudisill earned a Bachelor of Science in agricultural value to others,” Rudisill said. “I am proud I had the opportunity communications and animal science at Oklahoma State University to utilize the skill set others helped develop in me and can give and pursued her interest in leadership development at the back by serving others while seeing team members reach their full University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she earned her master’s potential and achieve success.” Shortly after starting at Tyson, Rudisill said she met the man of degree in leadership education. “When I was at UNL, it was an opportunity for me to pursue her dreams, Todd Rudisill, who is also a fellow Tyson team member my strengths into a career path,” Rudisill said. “It was great to in the marketing department. The Rudisills have a son, Grayson. She said they enjoy spending spend time focusing on where I wanted to begin my future.” Rudisill returned to OSU and worked as the coordinator of their family time traveling and attending Arkansas Razorback prospective student services in the College of Agricultural Sciences sporting events. Rudisill has slowly made the transition to “calling and Natural Resources Student Success Center. Soon after, she said the Hogs” and wearing red, but her heart still bleeds orange. Rudisill said she strives every day to build the success in herself she learned of the job opportunities with Tyson Foods. “There are many things that will catch your eye, but few will as well as in those around her. She said she understands that a catch your heart,” Rudisill said. “If you pursue those things that person’s success is molded through determination and hard work. catch your heart, it will lead you to a career where you can match Rudisill’s agricultural background and leadership experiences your abilities to the things you value.” have allowed her to be successful in her family, her career and her In 2007, Rudisill began her Tyson career within the diversity leadership journey. CJ and leadership development team. “Robyn worked with the OSU CASNR Ambassadors with my daughter,” said Craig Bacon, senior vice president of research and Brooke Summers development of Tyson Foods. “Cassie was impressed with Robyn’s Claremore, Okla. leadership and personality. She introduced us on a campus visit.” Layout and Graphic Design Through Bacon and Rudisill’s passion for the National FFA COWBOY JOURNAL | 61

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Shana Lancaster stands among the native grasses she wants to protect from the invasion of Old World Bluestem. Photo by Jaylene Hunter Parks.

Researchers work to reduce invasion of Old World Bluestem.


ld World Bluestem grasses can dominate the tallgrass prairie by preventing growth of native grass in its natural habitat, so a trio of Oklahoma State University Cowboys are working to preserve the native species. Shana Lancaster, a senior in natural resource ecology and management from Oklahoma City, studies why Old World Bluestem is expanding into native grasslands. Lancaster, a Lew Wentz Research Scholar, has targeted her research on a species called yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum). Her research took place at an OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources greenhouse facility. “The goal of the research was to determine if invasive Old World Bluestem grass produces an allelopathic chemical that inhibits native grasses and allows the non-native grass to invade into the tallgrass prairie,” Lancaster said. “These chemicals are toxic to other plants.” Lancaster originally came to OSU to become a veterinarian, she said, but after many hours of volunteer service, she looked for “something much more exciting.” Her interest soon changed to plant ecology, she said. “If someone had told me a few years ago that I would have an interest in plants and soils,” Lancaster said, “I probably wouldn’t have believed them.”

Gail Wilson, associate professor and graduate coordinator in the OSU NREM department, is one of Lancaster’s mentors. Lancaster came to Wilson looking for a research project. The projects in Wilson’s lab are designed to investigate plant species and their interactions with soil microbial communities. Wilson, Lancaster and doctoral student Mitch Greer collaborated to conduct this study. “Having an undergraduate student involved in our research projects makes it a win-win for everybody,” Wilson said. Oklahoma allocates approximately 80 percent of its land area to agriculture, largely in livestock production, with more than $3.9 billion in output in 2010, Wilson said. Currently, Oklahoma rangelands are undergoing biological invasion by non-native grasses, leading to a loss of these food production resources. These losses are persistent problems for land managers, she said. “The findings of our study will help us understand how nonnative grasses are able to invade into our rangelands,” Wilson said. “This information is needed for successful restoration.” Old World Bluestem grass was originally brought to the United States for erosion control and forage production. Cattle find these grasses less palatable, and the grasses are not nearly as nutritious as native bluestems, Lancaster said. From the ecological perspective of the research, the non-native COWBOY JOURNAL | 63

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Every other day, Shana Lancaster waters Old World Bluestem grass in her research project. Shana Lancaster shows Old World Bluestem grass seeds used in this research project. Photos by Jaylene Hunter Parks.

grass expands into native prairies, where it eliminates the native plant species. This invasive grass forms a monoculture, attracting fewer species of animals than the diverse native grasslands. This can reduce wildlife in areas where the invasive grass has established, Greer said. “By determining the mechanisms Old World Bluestem uses to invade, we can break them and hopefully start to get the native grasses back and restore the natural function,” Greer said. “That would be a big benefit.” Lancaster’s research process began when she set up a greenhouse study using big bluestem (Andropogon Geradii), little bluestem (Schizachyrium Scoparium) and yellow bluestem seedlings established in pots. The study consisted of five different treatments, two leaf litters, two leachates and a control. Lancaster made a leachate from non-native yellow bluestem and a leachate from native big bluestem grasses. With the second treatment, she took yellow bluestem and big bluestem plants, shredded each separately, and applied each as a leaf litter treatment. Lancaster applied the leachates to the seedlings every other week in small doses of 60 milliliters. Further in the research, she increased the dose to 100 milliliters. Leaf litters were added to the experimental set up at a depth of 20 millimeters. Lancaster’s research occurred during a period of 10 weeks. After three applications of yellow bluestem leachate, the native grasses, big bluestem and little bluestem were completely destroyed, Lancaster said. “I walked into the greenhouse to water the plants, and I just stared,” Lancaster said. “I was amazed at how rapidly the natives died after adding yellow bluestem leachate or litter.” The native grass died rapidly with a zero percent survival rate, whereas 86 percent of the invasive yellow bluestem seedlings, survived following applications of yellow bluestem litter or leachate. Similar results were seen with the leaf litter treatments. These findings provided the information to support Lancaster’s theory that Old World Bluestem grasses may produce allelopathic

chemicals to make them better at competing with native species, she said. “The next goal for this research is to learn more information about the chemical compounds in the leachates to see if I can determine what compounds are being reduced by yellow bluestem,” Lancaster said. Old World Bluestem is resilient and difficult to manage, Lancaster said. “The best course of action is to quit planting it and get it on Oklahoma’s noxious weed list,” Lancaster said. “To do this, educating the public on the problems associated with these grasses is paramount.” CJ

Jaylene Hunter Parks Chandler, Okla. Photography and Graphic Design

• An allelopathic chemical is a biochemical

that negatively affects the growth, survival or reproduction of other grass species. • Invasive grasses are non-native or exotic grasses expanding into native grasslands and adversely affecting the native ecosystem. • Leachate treatments involve soaking a given amount of whole plant matter in a given amount of water. • A noxious weed list is a list of plants that cause damage to agriculture, public health or the environment.

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4/24/13 5:42 PM

Farm kid from Shawnee, Okla., turns international negotiator, mentor and author.


ubbing shoulders with prime ministers, mining precious metals, and outperforming the best sales teams in the world are just a few of the accolades Steve Kubicek has under his belt. Growing up in Shawnee, Okla., Kubicek and his family raised peanuts, wheat and livestock. “I was actively involved in FFA,” Kubicek said. “I ran for state office, was Star Farmer and won the Farmer’s Union state FFA speech contest.” When the time came to decide where to go to college, Kubicek said the decision was simple — Oklahoma State University. As for his major in agricultural economics, Kubicek said his decision came down to one thing: sibling rivalry. “I really don’t know what directed me to [agricultural economics],” Kubicek said, “except an interest in ag business and maybe the fact my brother earned his degree in agronomy, so I wanted to be different.” When he was not in class, Kubicek could be found participating in Aggie-X, student government, Collegiate Republicans and Alpha Zeta. As an agricultural senator for the OSU Student Government Association, Kubicek pioneered events for the university. “I organized an agricultural student prayer breakfast,” Kubicek said. While involved with Collegiate Republicans, Kubicek represented OSU as an official delegate at the Oklahoma Republican Convention, where he met President Gerald Ford. While serving as chancellor of Alpha Zeta, he met an inspirational mentor, Kubicek said. “Paul Hummer was my adviser,” Kubicek said. “He was a major influence in my life.” Hummer served as OSU’s Alpha Zeta adviser and was associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources for 17 years. “Steve was an excellent student,” Hummer said. “He wanted to excel at everything he did and wanted to make a difference in the world and with his family.” Kubicek graduated as a CASNR Top Ten senior and received the Dean Fred Lecrone award as a Top Five senior in leadership. Kubicek graduated from OSU in 1977 with a job at Olin

Corp. He worked in several positions, all pertaining to the marketing and distribution of the company’s fertilizer products. “I went into their executive development program,” Kubicek said, “with the expectation that at the conclusion of the 90-day period, I would be assigned a sales territory.” Kubicek received his sales territory and began negotiating and promoting his company’s fertilizer. In 1980, Kubicek went to work for Agrico Chemical Co., based in Tulsa, Okla. Seven years later, Agrico was sold to Freeport McMoRan Inc. in New Orleans. After leading Agrico’s top sales team as a regional sales manager, Kubicek began co-directing Agrico’s U.S. domestic dealer sales organization with direct responsibility for the western division. “I was blessed,” Kubicek said. “They kept saddling me with all the top performers throughout my career. I seemed to always have the top sales teams.” With that performance, the president of the company told Kubicek he wanted him to move to a new position: director of international activities. “I told him, ‘I liked pheasant hunting in Illinois, thank you very much,’” Kubicek said. “He said, ‘you need to do this because in a couple years, with this international exposure, you will be groomed for the senior commercial position.’” In his new position, Kubicek said he experienced the world and all it had to offer. His first trip took him to Trinidad to meet with the prime minister. Kubicek’s company was responsible for marketing the urea nitrogen exports from Trinidad. This inaugural journey led him to 25 different countries. “When the Soviet Union fell, I was soon walking through Moscow’s airport security, guarded by soldiers holding AK-47s,” Kubicek said. “Those were the kinds of things I was doing trying to grow the business.” At that time, Freeport McMoRan’s sister company in Indonesia mined copper. Thinking the resources were nearly depleted, officials were looking to bring their team back to the United States. “One of the mining engineers, having studied a nearby mountaintop, decided it looked different from all the other mountaintops,” Kubicek said. “It was an anomaly.”

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Steve Kubicek has traveled to more than 25 countries to expand the companies for whom he worked. Photo by Craig Mason.

The engineer decided to drill into the mountain and “[Kubicek] always took a mentor or coach approach when discovered the world’s largest gold reserve and second largest working with our staff,” Bourgeois said. “He wanted to see his copper reserve in one location. people succeed. That was his reward­—to see his people grow.” “He discovered the mother load,” Kubicek said. Even after Kubicek retired from Freeport in 2005, his ideals With these results, Freeport developed and way of thinking lingered with his staff, the Grasberg mining complex. To generate I’m just an ordinary guy, Bourgeois said. needed capital for the project, Freeport sold just a farm kid. “After Steve left our group, whenever — Steve Kubicek challenges came up we would always say, ‘Well, the fertilizer division to a competitor, which ’77 Agricultural Economics Alumnus already had a senior management team. what would Steve do?’’’ Bourgeois said. “I sensed I would be redundant,” Kubicek said, “so this 16- In retirement, Kubicek has continued to impact people with year career vanished overnight, and I got to start all over.” whom he interacts. As a deacon in his church, Kubicek taught Kubicek’s dedication and success with the company did not adult Sunday school. leave him empty-handed. The president of the fertilizer company “I have a heart for mentoring people,” Kubicek said. encouraged Freeport to keep Kubicek as an employee and transfer Friends approached him and encouraged Kubicek to write a him to the metals division, where their capital was going. book about negotiating. He had made a career selling and bartering, “I knew nothing about the metals industry,” Kubicek said. so it only seemed natural, he said. But when he sat down to write, “I knew nothing about the customers, knew nothing about the negotiations are not what flowed on the page. product. I got to start a career all over.” “I needed a sabbatical,” Kubicek said. “I was too close to it.” Kubicek was put in charge of marketing development and Instead of writing tips and ways to negotiate, Kubicek said he in 1999 was named vice president of marketing for Freeport. He found himself writing a book to encourage and motivate people. helped sell 2.5 million tons of copper concentrate annually, but the “I can assure you it wasn’t like bread flying out of a toaster,” product offered more than just copper. Kubicek said, “but what popped out was Up and In: Seven Keys to “Each ton contained an ounce of gold and two ounces of Unlocking Your Potential. I really believe we all have more potential silver,” Kubicek said. “Every year, we were selling approximately than we can ever imagine or conceive.” 2.5 million ounces of gold and 5 million ounces of silver and that In his book, Kubicek presents a collection of 42 daily readings, was just the byproduct.” designed to encourage, challenge, renew and uplift. The book Throughout Kubicek’s management positions, he worked serves as a resource with daily exercises for the reader, he said. He with people to influence their lives. Eric Bourgeois was part of said no matter how high individuals set their goals, their potential Kubicek’s team at Freeport and remains with the company. is much greater. COWBOY JOURNAL | 67

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“I deal a lot in change and how change is beneficial,” Kubicek said. “We’re actually designed for change. Instead of treating change as a burden to be avoided, look at change as an opportunity to seek.” Although Kubicek has traveled the world and impacted those he met, he said he does not view himself as someone extraordinary. “Here’s the deal,” Kubicek said, “I’m just an ordinary guy, just a farm kid. But, I have a secret sauce, and that is I have an extraordinary God.” Kubicek’s readers will see his faith throughout the book, which hits the shelves in May 2013. Those who worked with him said they also saw his faith shine through in everything he did. “He had a servant’s heart,” Bourgeois said. “His religious convictions were evident in everything he did.” Although retired, Kubicek said he is still going strong. He is set to release his second book, a novel, in November 2013. He still lives life to the fullest and always looks to help others, he said. “When you begin to touch the heart and life of somebody else, that’s when you begin to feel the significance for your own life,” Kubicek said. “Maybe I can help some folks like that.” CJ

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Steve Kubicek’s first book arrives on bookstore shelves May 14, 2013. His second will be released November 2013. Photo by Craig Mason.

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4/25/13 12:26 PM

A horticultural extension program brings gardening inside public school classrooms.


Connie Thompson, a fifth-grade teacher from Anadarko, Okla., prepares her self-watering planter during a workshop. Photo by Sidney Worrell.

eing a 10th-grade biology teacher taught Shelley Mitchell a startling fact: Adolescents in Oklahoma often are uneducated when it comes to agriculture. “I am amazed at the lack of knowledge many Oklahoma kids have when it comes to agriculture,” said Mitchell, extension associate for 4-H and youth programs in Oklahoma State University’s horticulture and landscape architecture department. “Many students are unaware that their food did not start out in the grocery store.” Mitchell said she is passionate about teaching students of all ages the importance of agriculture, and the best way to do this is to take gardening into the classroom. Gardening can help educate students about agriculture and provide life lessons, Mitchell said. “Gardening teaches many things, like responsibility, hard work and dedication,” Mitchell said. When she left the classroom to begin her new position at OSU, Mitchell shared information with teachers about different ways they could use gardening in the classroom and expressed its importance. In return, educators expressed their concerns for the time, space and money involved with gardening, Mitchell said. Mitchell decided “telling” the teachers of the opportunities involved with gardening in the classroom was not achieving the results she wanted, she said. “Showing” them was the only way she was going to make a difference, she said. Many teachers think gardening will need to be taught as its own subject, taking time away from the core subjects, Mitchell said. She said she wanted to show teachers ways to use gardening as a teaching tool, not as a separate subject. “The idea is to incorporate gardening into every subject in school,” Mitchell said. “That way, students are not only learning about math or history, but also they are getting hands-on experience with the subject.” When faced with the perceived amount of space gardening requires, Mitchell said she shows people ways to garden other than the traditional large plot of land.

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“People believe you need all kinds of space to garden,” Mitchell talented from Mission Elementary in Anadarko, said she also said. “In actuality, all you need is a Dixie cup and a seed.” learned different ways to bring gardening into her classroom. Knowing the concern many teachers have for the cost of “Connie told me about [Mitchell’s workshop],” Coble said, gardening in the classroom, Mitchell applied for and received a “and I thought it would work great with my fourth-grade through grant that allowed her to purchase 15 self-watering planters, plenty eighth-grade gifted and talented students.” of soil and lots of seeds to place in 15 Oklahoma classrooms as well At the end of the workshop, every participant left with a selfas one planter for research. watering planter filled with soil and seeds To garden … all you need is a already planted. All they had to do was On March 4, 2013, Mitchell invited 15 teachers to OSU to receive one of the Dixie cup and a seed. add water once they were back in their — Shelley Mitchell self-watering planters. While there, they Extension Associate, 4-H and Youth Programs, classrooms. The only requirement teachers in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture are expected to fulfill after returning home received training along with ideas of how to incorporate gardening into their classrooms. During the workshop, with their planters is to post photos of their students using them. teachers participated in hands-on activities to learn ways to use Mitchell said by eliminating the stresses of time, space and their planters in subjects such as math and history. money from gardening, many teachers will be more likely to Connie Thompson, fifth-grade teacher at Mission Elementary incorporate it into their core curricula. Using gardening as a School in Anadarko, Okla., took advantage of this training teaching tool helps educate adolescents about the importance of opportunity. She said using gardening in the classroom helps fulfill agriculture, she said. new state requirements. “This grant has given me the opportunity to take the excuses “With all of the new core curriculum,” Thompson said, “we out of gardening in the classroom,” Mitchell said. CJ need something we can use not only for them to actually see it but also hands-on so they can observe it and write about it.” Thompson said this was not the first time she has used gardening as a teaching tool. Sidney Worrell “I have done a little bit of [gardening] through ‘Ag in the Altus, Okla. Classroom,’” Thompson said. “I am the 4-H leader in my building.” Marketing and Public Relations Beth Coble, a teacher for students identified as gifted and

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The Cowboy Journal staff thanks its sponsors for their continued support. With your help, we are proud to produce and share with you the 30th issue of Cowboy Journal.


Have a story idea? Interested in sponsoring an issue of Cowboy Journal? Email Shelly Sitton at shelly.sitton@okstate.edu.

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University

Volume 14 Number 1 • Winter/Spring 2012

Oklahoma State University and Natural Resources at College of Agricultural Sciences

Volume 15 Number 1 • Winter/Spring 2013

2012 Volume 14 Number 2 • Summer/Fall

Milking History

A Closer Look at OSU Dairy Science

Passport to Service

CASNR Students Assist in Africa

Living the Dream

Alumni Return to Family Farms

‘Extreme Makeover’ visits Cowboy Country

OSU’s African roots

produce World Food Prize winner

High-tech lab rolls onto campus

Hats Off: New Cowboy Hat Supports OSU Rodeo Going Social: CASNR Connects with Students, Alumni

Burning Success • Passing

Fighting Mother Nature: OSU Helps Producers Survive Drought the Ph.D. Pepper • Listenin’

to the Whisper

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Aiding Agriculture in Afghanistan •

4/11/2008 9:26:07 AM

Cowboys on Capitol Hill • Painting in

4/27/2007 1:14:41 PM

the Dirt

Becoming an Agvocate 150 Years and Counting Leaving a Legacy

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11/23/09 3:42 PM

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Your source for

agricultural loans & services. 1-800-299-3465 Serving farmers, ranchers, co-ops and agribusinesses in Woodward, Clinton, Guymon, Alva and Elk City.


ANGUSBEEF BEEF Bob & Janet Vincent

Farm Credit

of Western Oklahoma www.fcwestok.com


Morrison, OK | 405.880.4500 free





Kropp Cattle Co. 10701 Deer Ridge Perry, OK 73077 home 580-336-0220 office 405-744-8868

Null Seed Farm Your source for registered, certified wheat and canola seed.

13919 N. 2180 Road Hobart, OK 73651 Larry: 580-726-3220 Scott: 580-726-5882 Tom: 580-482-4601

PRODUCTS YOU CAN STEP ON Carpet • Hardwood • Laminate • Vinyl • Tile

708 S. Main Street • Downtown Stillwater 405-372-3041 • www.leonardjewelry.com COWBOY JOURNAL | 71

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of the CASNR Alumni Board

Dana Bessinger ’10 • • • • • •

A third-generation Cowboy from Cordell, Okla. Earned a Bachelor of Science in education from OSU in 1985. Earned a Master in Agriculture from OSU in 2010. Serves as coordinator of Ag in the Classroom for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Market Development Division. Dana’s son Jay graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness the same day she did with her master’s. Has served on the CASNR Alumni Board for five years.

Mechelle Hampton ’98 • • • • • • •

From Hartshorne, Okla. Earned a Bachelor of Science in horticulture from OSU in 1991. Earned a Master of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Completed Crime and Intelligence Analyst certification. Has served with the Tulsa Police Department since 2003. Was member of Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program Class XIV. Has served on the CASNR Alumni Board for three years.

Tresa Runyan ’90 • • • • • •

From Madill, Okla. Earned a Bachelor of Science in animal science from OSU in 1990. Raised on a ranch that has been in her family for four generations. Has worked at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation for 20 years. Serves now as a field mapping and tracking specialist at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. Has served on the CASNR Alumni Board for two years.

72 | SUMMER/FALL 2013

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CASNR Alumni News Summer/Fall 2013

Thank you, sponsors! Gold Level Express Ranches • Greg & Kristen Hart Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma

Silver Level American Farmers & Ranchers • BancCentral N.A. BancFirst–Stillwater • Bank of Kremlin Chisolm Trail Credit • Grissoms LLC P&K Equipment • Persimmon Creek Investments Shattuck National Bank • The Bank N.A. Oklahoma Farm Bureau

Bronze Level The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation REI Oklahoma • Hopeton State Bank

HOMECOMING 2013 Branding a Brighter

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumni Association Board of Directors Ky l e H u g h b a n k s P re s i d e n t Alva, Okla. J a m e s F e r re l l V i c e P re s i d e n t Yu ko n , O k l a . B r i a n Vowe l l S e c re t a r y S t i l l w a t e r, O k l a . S t eve D a m ro n E xe c u t i ve S e c re t a r y S t i l l w a t e r, O k l a . Mechelle Hampton Tu l s a , O k l a . Ke n t G a rd n e r Oklahoma City Glen Winters Altus, Okla. Coleman Hickman Sapulpa, Okla.

CASNR Alumni Reception

Honoring Graduates from 2003, 1988 & 1963

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 Time and Place TBA

Mark your calendars for the newest alumni event! CASNR Alumni Gala • April 19, 2014 • Conoco Phillips Alumni Center

D o n Ro b e r t s Enid, Okla. Tre s a Ru ny a n A rd m o re , O k l a . J o h n C o t h re n S t r a t f o rd , O k l a . Ke n S p ad y Hinton, Okla. Dana Bessinger Wa t o n g a , O k l a .

Visit orangeconnection.org for updates. COWBOY JOURNAL | 73

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made in




w w w. b l u e a n d g o l d s a u s a g e . c o m | 4 0 5 - 3 9 9 - 2 9 5 4

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Feeding and clothing the world ...

one farmer at a time.

Ricky Longshore will be the first person to tell you his chickens live better than he does. With heated and cooled housing, computer-controlled feeding and watering, and even an alert system that sends notices to his cell phone, this eastern Oklahoma farmer raises chickens with technology and compassion. Caring for animals, being a careful steward of the land and producing the world’s safest food begins with Ricky, and thousands of Oklahoma Farm Bureau members across our state.

ÂŽ Oklahoma

Farm Bureau



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

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4/15/13 7:49 PM

Profile for Cowboy Journal

Cowboy Journal v15n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 15, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2013 College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University

Cowboy Journal v15n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 15, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2013 College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University


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