College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University
Volume 18 Number 2 â€˘ Summer/Fall 2016
OCES, 4-H prepare for future drone usage
Alumni create farming legacy in Oklahoma
Entrepreneurs develop trendy ice cream
Honoring Damron for his CASNR service n 1988, Steve Damron began his teaching career in the Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science. “I started teaching introduction to animal science, principles of nutrition and agricultural animals of the world,” Damron said. In July 2016, Damron will leave OSU to serve as dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tarleton State University. During his nearly three decades at OSU, he influenced students and faculty members on campus, including Amy Gazaway, career coordinator in CASNR. “He was a faculty member I connected with,” Gazaway said. “His openness and welcoming attitude of people from diverse backgrounds made me feel like I had a place. “I had high expectations for myself, and I liked that he had high expectations for me,” Gazaway said. “He also has a genuine care for the students.” Gazaway has worked with Damron as a student and a colleague, she said. “He is a faculty champion,” she said. “He is able to see faculty members’ and students’ goals and is always a supporter of 4 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Steve Damron has dedicated the past 28 years to educating students at OSU. Photo by Todd Johnson.
those efforts. He understands what it takes to graduate the highest quality students and wants to provide them with the best opportunity for success.” Damron has helped students transition into college and worked to build relationships once they arrived on campus, Gazaway said. “As a teacher, he didn’t make you feel awkward because you didn’t know the difference between a heifer and cow,” Gazaway said. Damron said students are his favorite part of the university. “I like their openness,” he said. “I like the fact that we have students from such varied backgrounds and states. There is no such thing as a typical CASNR student.” Damron has impacted CASNR for the better, Gazaway said. “From an external perspective, I think about the work he has done as a faculty member and as an assistant dean,” she said. “He has nurtured relationships with donors and alumni and sees the importance of those relationships. “From an internal standpoint, he has focused on student success and setting a firm foundation for helping students be successful,” she said.
Gazaway said she is sad to see Damron leave OSU. “He has been such a big part of my experience,” she said. “He is a part of our family, and it is hard to see a family member go.” Damron leaves a strong legacy at OSU, Gazaway said. “Dr. Damron’s career in animal science and as an administrator for CASNR is exemplary,” said Tom Coon, vice president for agricultural programs. “He is an outstanding scholar and leader, and Tarleton State is fortunate to benefit from his vision and leadership.” Although leaving, Damron said he will cherish his time as an OSU Cowboy. “My family is a total OSU family,” Damron said. “My wife directs the OSU Writing Center and is a professor in the English department. Our children grew up in Stillwater and graduated from OSU. Our lives for the past 28 years have revolved around OSU. “I will stay forever orange,” Damron said, “but don’t tell the people in Texas.” Dr. Damron: Thanks for dedicating yourself to CASNR. Best wishes in Texas. — The Cowboy Journal Staff
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS As the spring semester comes to a close and we make final edits to send the latest issue of Cowboy Journal off to print, we express our deepest gratitude to the Cowboy Journal staff and to everyone who committed time and effort to this issue. To the Cowboy Journal staff, thank you for your hard work and perseverance this semester. It has been a privilege to help put this magazine together, and it would not have been possible without your incredible work ethic and constant willingness to help. We also would like to thank Melissa Mourer, Ruth Inman, Jacy Bradford, Todd Johnson, Dustin Mielke, Mandy Gross, Robert Banayote, Derinda Blakeney, Angel Riggs, Dwayne Cartmell and Traci Naile. Without all of you, our magazine would not be possible. Finally, we would like to thank our second mom and our rock in times of crisis, Shelly Sitton. You have taught us more than we ever thought possible, both in communications and in life, and for that, we are forever grateful. — Kaylen, Melanie and Rachel
Kaylen Baker | Melanie Jackson | Rachel Metzger
Shelly Peper Sitton, Ph.D.
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS
Dwayne Cartmell, Ph.D. | Traci Naile, Ph.D. Angel Riggs, Ph.D.
Amber McGee | Aimee Shaner
SPONSORSHIP RELATIONS COORDINATORS
08 Fields of Dreams TWO YOUNG ALUMNI BUILD A PROGRESSIVE ENTERPRISE IN NORTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA 31 An Innovative Scoop OSU GRADUATES DEVELOP UNIQUE ICE CREAM PRODUCT 64 The Sky is the Limit OCES, 4-H PREPARE FUTURE APPLICATIONS OF DRONES
Katy Holdener | Jimmy Hutson
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University
Volume 18 Number 2 • Summer/Fall 2016
OCES, 4-H prepare for future drone usage
Alumni create farming legacy in Oklahoma
Entrepreneurs develop trendy ice cream
ON THE COVER
Amanda Bacon | Brittani Baldner-Hill Trent Cleary | Peter Cohen | Micaela Danker Sarah Davis | Brittany Gilbert | Meg Johnson Abbey Martin | Callie McCarthy | Jenna Murray Sabrina Wilber
Limousin World | Oklahoma Farm Bureau QuadGraphics
The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service prepares to implement the use of drones in Oklahoma 4-H curriculum. Story on page 64. Photo by Rachel Metzger 01_cj_cover_drone.indd 1
5/10/16 2:33 PM
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.
COWBOY JOURNAL | 5
W h at e v e r i s h a p p e n i n g i n y o u r l i f e ,
th ere’s a go o d ch ance your
col le ge ex pe r i e n ce h e l p e d yo u get to wh ere yo u are to day. W h en yo u refle ct on tha t time , you m ay b e ove r w h e l med by fo n d mem o r i es — m eeti n g yo u r s pous e , cele bra ting a bi g fo o t ba l l w i n , p u l l i n g an al l - n i gh ter to s tu dy o r l au gh i ng w it h people w ho b e c a m e yo u r l i fe l o n g f r i en ds . To day ’s O k l a h o m a St a te Un iversi ty st ude nts a re h av i n g t h e sa m e ex per i en ces as th ey pu rs u e b r i gh t o ran ge fut ure s . Vi s it OSUgivin g.co m to l e a r n h ow yo u can b e a par t o f th ei r j o u r n ey.
CONTENTS 12 Caught Up & Called Out
AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP STUDENT INSPIRES OTHERS WITH NEW BOOK
16 Creatures Below
BLACK CUTWORM RESEARCH OFFERS ALTERNATIVE CONTROL
18 Preserving Mali
OSU STUDENT PLANS TO START FOOD-PROCESSING CENTER IN WEST AFRICA
22 The Honorary Cowboy
GARRISON ACCEPTS HONORARY DOCTORAL DEGREE FROM OSU
26 30 Years of CASNR
STUDENT DEMOGRAPHICS CHANGE ACROSS DECADES
28 Combining Passions
CASNR STUDENTS DESIGN LANDSCAPE FOR NEW EQUINE CENTER
35 Driven with a Cowboy Passion MCKIBBEN RECEIVES TOP SENIOR AWARD
38 Discovering the Real Mexico
OCES FACULTY GAIN INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE IN PUEBLA, MEXICO
42 Bridging the Gap
URBAN STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT AGRICULTURE THROUGH SCHOOL GARDEN
46 The Dow Factor
CASNR ALUMNA EXCELS IN CORPORATE AGRICULTURE
50 Lending a Helping Hand
FORMER OKLAHOMA 4-Hâ€™ER ASSISTS INDIVIDUALS ON THE REFUGEE HIGHWAY
54 Becoming Life-giving Leaders
OSU PROGRAM GIVES STUDENTS TOOLS TO CHANGE THE WORLD
57 Double Threat
TWINS LEAD OSU HORSE JUDGING TEAM TO SEVENTH WORLD TITLE
60 Welcome to the Market
LOCAL PRODUCERS OFFER HEALTHY FOOD OPTIONS TO THEIR COMMUNITIES
66 To Africa and Back
MIAP STUDENT TAKES SECOND TRIP TO AFRICA
69 The Gene Dream
1952 ALUMNUS CREATES SYSTEM TO ADVANCE ANIMAL BREEDING
73 Millon-dollar Difference
GAYLORD FOUNDATION GIFT ADVANCES EQUINE CARE FACILITIES
74 A Family Legacy
THREE GENERATIONS OF JOHNSONS CALL OSU HOME
78 Firing Up the Mesonet
OK-FIRE HELPS FIRE PROFESSIONALS CONDUCT PRESCRIBED BURNS AND CONTROL WILDFIRES
66 COWBOY JOURNAL | 7
Two young alumni build a progressive enterprise in north central Oklahoma
n early love of farming and machinery led to the development of a legacy for Marty Williams of Red Rock, Okla. Growing up on a wheat and cattle operation about 30 miles north of Stillwater, the Oklahoma State University alumnus knew from childhood he wanted to be a lifetime farmer, he said. “From an early age, I wanted to be out in the field as much as I could,” Williams said. “I loved driving equipment. I loved messing with cattle. I just loved farming.” When the time came for college, expectations from his parents and his love of farming took him to the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, he said. “In a way, college was expected by my parents,” he said. “I had scholarships to go, and after I got there, I realized the value of expanding my horizons.” Williams was a member of the President’s Leadership Council during his freshman year and a member of the Agronomy Club throughout college. Unlike many students, Williams lived at home during college to be closer to his parents’ farm, he said. “I thrived on working,” Williams said. “At the time, I didn’t know it, but I was building my future. I was renting farms and helping Dad. In exchange for helping him, I was able to use his equipment to farm my own farms.” Williams managed 160 acres in high school, but he bought his first 350-acre farm when he was a junior in college.
Today, Williams and his wife, Crystal, farm several thousand acres of cropland near Red Rock. The couple met at OSU in 2001. “We met in biology class my sophomore year, and she had just transferred in,” he said. “We were lab partners.” Crystal Briggs Williams grew up in Adair, Okla., but did not come from an agricultural background. Her uncle owned cows, and she had always loved the agricultural industry, she said. “I had some friends who showed cattle, and I just thought that was the coolest thing,” she said. She played basketball at Bacone College before transferring to OSU to pursue a degree in elementary education. The couple married May 15, 2004, outside the OSU Student Union in the formal gardens. “My uncle was the groundskeeper at the time, so he planted the flowers [in the gardens] for us,” he said. “We got to pick what we wanted that year.” After graduation, Williams began farming full time, and his wife began teaching in Ponca City, Okla. “We started with mainly wheat and cattle like I grew up doing,” Williams said. “In college, I learned a lot about no-till farming and the benefits of crop rotation. I saw it applied by other farmers in the area and decided that was the way I wanted to go.” In the beginning, Williams rented most of the land he farmed, he said.
“It came at a time when there were a lot of older farmers getting out, so I was able to rent ground,” he said. “I took on those farms and put them in a crop rotation system.” Williams’ no-till farming and crop rotations comprise the progressive practices that make Williams’ operation unique to his area, said Brian Arnall, OSU plant and soil sciences associate professor. “Marty is an early adopter,” Arnall said. “He has a lot of progressive nature in what he does. He is always willing to try new and innovative things.” Williams said success never came easily, especially in the beginning. “At first, we were growing so fast I couldn’t pay the bills,” Williams said. “So, I went and got a job at the local power plant pushing coal.” Today, Williams has diversified his operation to span a few thousand acres, where he plants corn, canola, soybeans, grain sorghum and barley, in addition to raising wheat and cattle. “We continue to practice no-till and try to do a lot of soil sampling,” Williams said. “We try to be good stewards of the land we rent and buy.” Jana Slaughter, Williams’ crop consultant and college friend, said Williams is always willing to try new things to benefit his farming operation. “He’s had a lot of success in adapting some of the innovations to his farm,” Slaughter said. “He is a good example of how we can use the things we learned as
OSU alumni Marty (right) and Crystal Williams operate a few thousand acres of no-till farmland near Red Rock, Okla. Photo by Dustin Mielke. COWBOY JOURNAL | 9
Marty (left) and Crystal Williams make farming a family affair with their daughter, Ava (top), 8, and son, Morgan, 4. Photo by Dustin Mielke. 10 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
scientists to help his farming practice and make him more successful.” As Williams works toward the future, he would like to own a majority of his land, he said. “I’ve got really good landlords, but I would rather buy land and invest in my future and my kids’ future, rather than rent all the time,” Williams said. “I’ve had a couple of farms taken away from me that I had farmed for years, and it just hurts because you’ve put your life into that land,” he said. Many of Williams’ landlords appreciate the work he does so much they fight for him to rent their land, Arnall said. “Last year, Marty ended up farming a lot of acres because the landlords just wanted him,” Arnall said. “It wasn’t about the price or them making money — they wanted Marty to farm their land because he did such a good job.” Having a good team of employees is essential to his operation’s success, Williams said. “Our farm is only as good as the team we create,” he said. “You have to treat people really well. Every one of them has a unique part in how they fit in, from my employees to my parents.” Williams’ family plays a big role in the farm, he said. His wife home-schools their 8-year-old daughter, Ava, and their 4-yearold son, Morgan. She also helps directly with the farm, he said. Last summer, she helped full time and ran the combines during harvest. “[Crystal] is not afraid to get up there and work with me,” Williams said. “She is always interested in what I do.” In her spare time, Crystal Williams blogs about her time on the farm, she said. “I’ve always wanted to write about my experiences on the farm because they are different than other women,” she said. “I feel like I can make a connection to other girls out there who married into it.” Williams said he likes to give back to OSU in any way he can, including donating farm acres to OSU’s research and extension efforts. “By the time he got established at the farm, I became a faculty member, and I needed research,” Arnall said. “Basically, from my first year on, I have been putting research plots on Marty’s place.” Chad Webb, Noble County extension
educator, works with Williams and the for the sacrifices he and his family make research plots on his farm. for their farm. “Marty is the first to help me with any “Being a farm family, they have to type of research project,” Webb said. “He sacrifice a lot to be in the position they is one of the people who, when you come are,” Slaughter said. “Being a farmer takes into the county, you need to meet because a lot of risks. It is not something you do to he has a lot of knowledge of farming and be wealthy. You really have to have a heart OSU in general.” in it. You really have to be driven to feed Williams received the world. Farming is a the title of OSU Plant selfless occupation.” and Soil Sciences Master Williams’ wife said BEING A FARMER TAKES Agronomist in he is one of the most Spring 2014. A LOT OF RISKS. IT’S influential individuals in Arnall and Webb her life. NOT SOMETHING YOU nominated Williams for “I’ve always had a this award because of his deep respect for anyone DO TO BE WEALTHY. aid to OSU’s extension in agriculture, and now Jana Slaughter and research, Arnall said. even more so because I see Crop Consultant Williams often is what Marty does on a daiasked to speak at profesly basis,” she said. “I feel sional conferences, where like it’s our responsibility he shares his farming knowledge with to do our best with the land and also raise others, Arnall said. our kids to appreciate it and, hopefully, “A lot of producers in Marty’s realm have some part in it in the future.” don’t feel like they can get outside the Although Williams’ school days at farm,” Arnall said. “They get very focused OSU are finished, he is appreciative of on what is going on at the farm and don’t his education and has benefited from it in feel like they can leave. Marty is one of the more ways than one, he said. few who has seen the capability of being a “The resources I gained at OSU and leader in his farming community.” the relationships I built with professors Slaughter said she admires Williams really shaped and molded how I came back
Marty Williams, plant and soil sciences alumnus, uses his OSU education in his day-to-day farm work. Photo by Dustin Mielke.
and applied farming techniques,” he said. “It opened my mind toward better techniques, and I am able to use [my mentors] to this day.” Rachel
Continuing the Legacy ... In addition to Marty Williams’ day-to-day work on the farm, he and his family hosted Corey Holman, a freshman at East Central University from Asher, Okla., to teach him more about farming and machinery. Holman did not come from a farming background, but he had an interest in agronomy and farming, Williams said. “Corey always expressed that he wanted to farm,” Williams said. “[His parents] reached out to me, and I let him come. It has been great.” Holman came for days or weeks at a time and helped around the farm, working alongside Williams and his crew. Holman said he initially expected Williams to tell him a thing or two about farming and then get back to his work, but the opposite was true. “I was there from dawn to dusk while Marty filled me full of all the information and tips he could,” Holman said. “I have been back up to visit four or five times, and each time, I leave with more knowledge about agriculture and life than when I first came.”
Williams said he and Holman became good friends during the time they spent together. “He asked really good questions, and he is just a smart kid,” Williams said. Holman said he knows he can use the knowledge Williams gave him on his own operation now and in the future. “I am extremely blessed to have Marty’s advice behind me when I make decisions on my own farm,” Holman said. “I also know I can call him with questions about farming, trucks, equipment and many other things, and he will set aside time to give me advice or talk me through a process.” Holman said he plans to attend OSU when he finishes at ECU and wants to major in plant and soil sciences, following in Williams’ footsteps. “I want to come to OSU because I know how much it is geared to educate the next generation of farmers and ranchers,” Holman said. “When I graduate, the education I receive at OSU will have me ready to put the latest technology, engineering and science to work for me on the farm.” COWBOY JOURNAL | 11
CAUGHT UP & S
Agricultural leadership student inspires others with new book
on. Friend. Former Oklahoma FFA Association officer. Student. OSU Cowboy. Leadership coach. Motivational speaker. These titles describe Oklahoma State University agricultural leadership senior Brandon Baumgarten. Now, he can add published author to the list. Rooted in humble beginnings in the small town of Oilton, Okla., Baumgarten has dedicated his life to empowering others to be the best they can be, and his new book, “Caught Up & Called Out,” is dedicated to helping readers discover their inner leader, he said. “My hope is that ‘Caught Up & Called Out’ helps readers understand leadership is not a title, but a state of mind,” Baumgarten said. “Everyone has potential, a calling and a chance to lead.” Baumgarten found his passion for leadership while participating in FFA events in high school, he said. “My passion for FFA started when I was a freshman in high school,” Baumgarten said. “It was the first time I ever felt like I was a part of something. My agricultural education teacher motivated me to be my best and get involved early.” After getting involved in public speaking, leadership and showing livestock, Baumgarten said he decided to run for a state FFA officer position because he wanted to give back to the organization. “I developed a desire to get more involved in the organization and reach out to others,” Baumgarten said. “My motivation for running for state office was to reach the unreachable students and empower them to see their worth and value.”
12 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
because it took every ounce of free time I Baumgarten ran and was elected as had to get it done.” state FFA secretary in April 2011. After Setting aside two hours each day and a year of traveling the state and teaching designing a timeline to get the book finleadership material, he was elected state ished helped Baumgarten reach his goal of FFA president in April 2012. finishing “Caught Up & Called Out” by “Brandon has a big heart and is the end of 2015, he said. extremely down-to-earth,” said Steven Baumgarten also said one of his Vekony, past state FFA officer and former greatest motivating factors in finishing teammate to Baumgarten. “One trait the book was Rhett Laubach, owner of that made him such a great leader was his mind was focused on big-picture goals. We YourNextSpeaker, a motivational speaking and leadership training business. accomplished many things as a team I feel “As I was putting the book together, we would not have if Brandon was not on Rhett was very instrumental in motivatour team.” ing me to get the book Baumgarten said he finished and distributed,” felt his time serving the FFA organization was not I LOVE THE CHANCE TO Baumgarten said. “He also was really great about finished after his term as SPEAK LIFE, VALUE AND helping me get the word state FFA president, so he WORTH INTO PEOPLE. out about the book to ran for an officer position youth across the state.” with the National FFA Brandon Baumgarten Laubach said he knew Organization. After losing Author how important it was for the national election, Baumgarten’s career to Baumgarten said he finish the book and wantturned to writing. ed to help him along the way. “After I didn’t get elected to nation“I knew he wanted to do it, and it al office, I sat down and began putting is something that can be easily delayed together some leadership-based blogs,” because writing a book is tedious work,” Baumgarten said. “In June 2014, I started looking at getting published. I visited with Laubach said. “This book is a way for Brandon to shout even louder and reach some companies and landed with a commore people with his message, and I really pany called AuthorHouse last summer.” wanted him to have that tool in his profesBeing a full-time college student and sional toolkit.” writing a book did pose some difficulties, For those who know Baumgarten, Baumgarten said. hearing about his success is no surprise, “The biggest challenge in writing the book was being a college student while Laubach said. trying to become a published author,” “Brandon is real,” Laubach said. “He Baumgarten said. “It took over two years listens, asks questions, and is genuinely into write ‘Caught Up & Called Out’ terested in other people. He makes a point
More than 1,000 copies of “Caught Up and Called Out” have been sold since the book’s release in November 2015. Photo by Kaylen Baker.
COWBOY JOURNAL | 13
A May 2016 graduate, Brandon Baumgarten spent more than two years of his college career writing “Caught Up & Called Out.” Photo by Kaylen Baker.
to lift others up with encouragement, and people are drawn to him because of that.” Laubach wrote the foreword for “Caught Up & Called Out.” “When Brandon called me and asked me to write the foreword, I said ‘Yeah, send it to me!’” Laubach said. “I wanted to read it, get involved, and help in any way I could.” Laubach said he felt the book was something of which Baumgarten should be proud. “He really put together a piece that will challenge anyone who spends time reading it,” Laubach said. “It’s a great read because he tells personal stories throughout the book, and he explains common ideas in an uncommon way.” Baumgarten said his goal for each person who reads “Caught Up & Called Out” is to walk away with a new outlook on servant leadership. Laubach said a message that will stick with readers is about availability to serve. “There’s a line in the book asking the readers if they are available to serve, and if they are, are they making it a priority,” Laubach said. “It is powerful and really 14 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
makes the readers stop and think, and it is a moment in the book that really stuck out to me.” Vekony said he believes adding “author” to Baumgarten’s résumé is unique. “To my knowledge, very few past state FFA officers from Oklahoma have written a book,” Vekony said. “Brandon’s book has already reached a large number of people. It is doing big work in FFA and in other organizations by inspiring current, past and future members.” Since the release of the book in November 2015, “Caught Up & Called Out” has sold more than 1,000 copies nationwide, Baumgarten said. Aside from writing a book and going to school, Baumgarten also runs a successful motivational speaking and leadership training business, Brandon Baumgarten: Engage. Encourage. Empower. “I love the chance to speak life, value and worth into people,” Baumgarten said. “There’s a thrill that comes with motivating people of all ages. Seeing them want to make an impact, and then doing it, is why I do what I do.” Laubach said he believes Baumgarten
will continue to be successful in the motivational speaking and coaching business. “Brandon is real, and he doesn’t have a pretense,” Laubach said. “That authenticity is necessary for everyday life, but especially in the motivational speaking and leadership training business. It’s easy to talk the talk, but he also walks the walk.” Baumgarten said another book may be in his future, but for now, he plans to continue his motivational speaking business and finishing his agricultural leadership degree in May 2016. “I’ve been to a lot of college campuses doing leadership training, and nothing compares to the family environment we have here at OSU,” Baumgarten said. “I’m definitely thankful for my agricultural leadership training from OSU. It has helped me get far!”
Not in it for the income ... but for the
Discover your passion teaching agricultural education. okffa.org
Black cutworms can cause divots in the turf, making a golf ball veer off course. Photo illustration by Brittani Baldner-Hill and Abbey Martin.
16 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Black cutworm research offers alternative control ou line up the perfect putt at the 18th hole. You tap the golf ball straight toward the hole. Then, for no apparent reason, your ball rolls off course. You add an unwanted stroke to your game. Why did the ball detour? Black cutworms might be the culprit. “Cutworms are the larvae of certain moth species that behave in a destructive manner,” said Eric Rebek, associate professor and state extension specialist of horticultural insects in the Oklahoma State University Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. “Cutworms cut down a host plant and drag it into subterranean tunnels where they feed on the plant material.” This feeding and tunneling behavior damages the turf and interferes with ball roll, Rebek said. “Black cutworms are among the worst pests on putting greens,” he said. Rebek conducts research funded by the Oklahoma Turfgrass Research Foundation on a microbial control for the insects, he said. The research began in the spring of 2014. The initial step was surveying for naturally occurring insect pathogens in Oklahoma soil, which was done by Jose Rodriguez-Contreras, a former student of Sergio Sanchez-Pena, Rebek’s collaborator at Universidad Autonoma Agraria Antonio Narro in Saltillo, Mexico. Rodriguez-Contreras’ work led to Rebek and Stephen Marek, associate professor in the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, choosing to work with entomopathogenic fungi, Rebek said. “Ento means insect,” Marek said. “Pathogen means microbe that can cause a disease, so entomopathogenic means causing disease to insects.” Before molecular methods, all fungi were classified by the morphology of fruiting spores and bodies, Rebek said.
efficient and cheap,” Rebek said. The only way scientists could differentiate The DIY application would allow golf among species was to look at them. This course superintendents and homeowners was a problem because many strains of to eliminate the problem on their own fungi look identical, so two or more spewithout spending a ton of money on procies were classified as being one, he said. “Today, fungi and other organisms are fessional pesticide application, Rebek said. “Because black cutworms are so more reliably distinguished genetically by prolific, golf courses spend a lot of money comparing various regions of their DNA managing them,” Rebek said. across taxa,” Rebek said. Lakeside Memorial Golf Course in The internal transcribed spacer region is the section of DNA used to differentiate Stillwater spends $500 to $600 annually controlling cutworms but would have to the species of fungi, Rebek said. spend a lot more for turf replacement, said “The ITS region is commonly called Mike Buxton, golf course superintendent. the DNA barcode of fungi,” Marek said. Most of the cost associated with conScientists use different regions of trolling black cutworms DNA to distinguish is spent on pesticide among individual spebut if the cies, Marek said. BLACK CUTWORMS ARE application, cutworms take over, “We tested the efficacy of the five most AMONG THE WORST PESTS golf courses may have to pathogenic isolates ON PUTTING GREENS. replace entire sections of turf, Rebek said. against black cutworm,” Eric Rebek Also, creating a Rebek said. “These Associate Professor biological control would isolates show promise be much safer for golfers for biological control of and more environmenblack cutworms infesttally friendly, he said. When golfers are ing turfgrass, and results will be used to on the course, they sometimes put their determine the optimal concentration of golf balls into their mouths while setting viable spores for effective management of up shots, Rebek said. This means they black cutworms at field-realistic applicaput pesticide-covered golf balls into their tion rates.” mouths, giving them a much greater expoThese five isolates were tested at sure to the chemicals, Rebek added. OSU’s Turfgrass Research Center during “Even if they don’t put the golf balls summer 2015, Rebek said. The fungi’s in their mouths, golfers are still exposed to effectiveness against black cutworms was a lot of pesticides,” Rebek said. compared to the effectiveness of insectiMuch work must be done before a cides used against the pest. fungus could be commercialized to In summer 2016, the most effective decrease pesticide use, but so far, the rates will be re-evaluated, Rebek said. results are favorable, Rebek said. “We are looking for something as or more effective than current commercial products,” Rebek said. Brittani The end goal of the research is to commercialize the fungi as a biological BALDNER-HILL control, Rebek said. Jeromesville, Ohio “The pie-in-the-sky idea is to create a do-it-yourself application that is simple, COWBOY JOURNAL | 17
OSU student plans to start food-processing center in West Africa hile some entrepreneurs are driven by hobbies or money, Korotoumou Sidibe, Oklahoma State University agribusiness senior, said she is driven by the hunger of her fellow countrymen. In 2015, Nescafé awarded $30,000 to one finalist as part of its Get Africa Started small business initiative. The finalist was 21-year-old Sidibe. Nescafé’s Get Africa Started program is a competition for young people from West Africa to fund a business idea benefiting the people of their countries. During her internship last summer in Mali with the Food and Agriculture Organization, Sidibe developed an idea to reduce post-harvest loss as a way to address her country’s hunger issue, she said. “In Africa, not everyone can afford to have a fridge or cold storage,” Sidibe said. Many produce farmers see their products go bad in just three days, she said. In Mali, this has become a large-scale issue. Many factors plague Mali’s agricultural sector, said Assoumane Maiga, business adviser at the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade and Development and a native Malian. Post-harvest loss is at the forefront of those issues, he said. Mali’s weather patterns differ from the United States in that they have a rainy sea18 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Sidibe said her strategy does not stop son and dry season. From June to October, with the business. Mali experiences rain. But from October The second part of the model is to to the next June, Mali has a dry climate build an educational institute to complethat creates challenges for maintaining a ment her food-processing facility. She said suitable food supply, Maiga said. Sidibe’s she plans to teach improved food producbusiness will play a key role in addressing tion and preservation techniques to local these issues, he said. farmers and hopes this will create higher Sidibe said she wants to create a profits for them and their families when facility so she can buy farmers’ products they go to market. and create something better. Through a Sidibe does not have an extensive food-processing center, she will take the background in food raw goods she buys processing, she said. from farmers to create she is develvalue-added products, IN AFRICA, NOT EVERYONE However, oping her knowledge she said. CAN AFFORD TO HAVE A and skills while at OSU. Fruits could be currently converted to jellies, jams FRIDGE OR COLD STORAGE. worksSidibe with Timothy or juice, Sidibe said. Korotoumou Sidibe Bowser, professor and Even products, which OSU Agribusiness Senior food process engineer at in any other circumOSU’s Robert M. Kerr stance would be deemed Food & Agricultural unusable, can be used Products Center. Together, the two of through her business, she said. them are developing value-added products “I can still purchase spoiled products in FAPC for Sidibe to replicate at her and make compost for agricultural use future facility in Mali, Bowser said. and, in some cases, make feed for cattle,” “Jams and jellies are a great way to Sidibe said. preserve fruits because you can take advanSidibe’s facility has the potential to tage of the naturally high acid content of bring employment opportunities to Mali, the fruit,” Bowser said. Maiga said. Sidibe has learned how to use the “A main focus of the Malian governFAPC equipment to create a jelly made ment is job creation,” Maiga said.
Korotoumou Sidibe, an agribusiness senior from Mali, plans to start her own food-processing business in her home country. Photo by Peter Cohen. COWBOY JOURNAL | 19
from grapes. The next step was deciding how to package the product, Bowser said. “At first, she was considering glass jars, but I encouraged her to look at inexpensive lightweight plastic pouches, which are rugged and easy to fill,” Bowser said. Dehydration was among the other possible technologies they explored to implement in Sidibe’s facility, Bowser said. She showcased her newly developed products as part of her Get Africa Started proposal presentation. As Sidibe waits to receive her prize money, she knows her facility will not start overnight. Constructing the building, buying equipment, and hiring employees requires more investment, Sidibe said. Bowser said Sidibe’s goal of developing a food-processing center is attainable as long as she can find access to a suitable workforce, clean water and energy. Sidibe has explored bioenergy as well as propane to power her machines. Much of the other work can be done by hand, Bowser said. For the food-processing center to reach its full potential, Sidibe said she plans to pursue a master’s degree in food science at OSU. Drive is not something she lacks, said Rodney Jones, agricultural economics professor and Sidibe’s academic adviser. “Korotoumou is a very hardworking,
very driven student who performs very well academically,” Jones said. Sidibe said her biggest concern is receiving enough scholarship funds to allow her to stay at OSU to complete an advanced degree. “I’m trying to find a scholarship, but it’s not really easy for international students,” she said. The oldest of eight sisters, Sidibe said she has always felt pressure to succeed to be a role model for her younger siblings. As the daughter of the architect who built one of the first greenhouses in Mali, agriculture has played a foundational role in Sidibe’s dreams, she said. Mali and many other African countries need projects like Sidibe’s, Maiga said. The high demand for this type of facility will help Sidibe to succeed. “Post-harvest loss is an issue in almost every African country,” Maiga said. “Since she has technologies, initiative and proposals for this issue, I believe that she has something good.”
Opportunities to Improve According to the CIA World Factbook, 34 percent of Mali’s land is for agricultural use and 80 percent of the country’s labor force is involved with the agricultural industry. Malians produce corn and other vegetables, rice, cotton, millet and peanuts as well as livestock, including sheep, goats and cattle. While many citizens are involved in agriculture, as recent as 2012, 75 percent of northern Malian households were food insecure, according to the U.S. Agency of International Development.
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Walt Garrison, former OSU and Dallas Cowboys football player, earned his honorary doctoral degree in 2015. Photo by Todd Johnson. 22 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Garrison accepts honorary doctoral degree from OSU
ften called a true “cowboy’s cowboy” A student with a love for rodeo, and a genuine friend, Walt Garrison Garrison was an animal husbandry major is a “small-town boy made good.” and received an Academic All-Star award Born in July 1944, Garrison grew up through the college football program. in Lewisville, Texas. He spent his childAs an OSU senior, Garrison lived hood helping on his uncle’s farm and across the breezeway from fellow Texan breaking horses for a local cowboy. Bob Kropp, a freshman, who later became When Garrison was not working in an OSU animal science professor. the agricultural industry, he was playing Kropp said he and Garrison enjoyed football for his high school’s team. their time together. Garrison said he was not a superstar “Walt was just a regular guy made during his high famous,” Kropp said. school football career, “Although he was a footbut as a senior, superstar, he would I TRY TO DO EVERYTHING I ball Garrison accepted walk down the halls like CAN FOR OSU BECAUSE THEY any other student.” a scholarship from Oklahoma State In the spring of GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY University to play for 1966, which would have TO DO WHAT I DID. the Cowboys. been Garrison’s final “I started at linesemester at OSU, the Walt Garrison backer my freshman Dallas Cowboys of the Former Dallas Cowboys Fullback year,” Garrison said. NFL drafted Garrison in “Then, they moved the fifth round. me to running back.” “Most signing boGarrison said the running back posinuses in the NFL involve money,” Kropp tion proved to be a good spot for him. He said. “Walt’s signing bonus was a Grand earned multiple honors in this position Prix and a two-horse in-line trailer.” during his college career, including being When Garrison accepted the offer chosen for multiple All-Star games and as from the Dallas Cowboys, he planned to an All-American. return to school the next semester to finish Longtime friend and OSU teammate his degree because he “knew he wasn’t Jerry Gill said he and Garrison were survigoing to make the team in Dallas.” vors of Coach Phil Cutchin’s tough footNine years, a Super Bowl ring and a ball regime. Today, they call themselves the successful career later, Garrison did not Cutchin Cowboys. return to Stillwater to complete his bache“During Walt’s freshman year, about lor’s degree. 100 boys went out for the team,” Gill said. After his tenure with the National “At the end of the season, 30 finished, and Football League, Garrison worked as the my freshman year, 10 or 11 finished.” vice president of promotions for U.S. ToToday, the Cutchin Cowboys remain bacco for 30 years before his retirement. a tight-knit group, Gill said. It’s nice to see Along with football and rodeo, Garhow successful each of the team members rison is passionate about OSU. He said has been off the field, he added. he continues to be loyal to the university, “He was all lean, all mean on the field especially its rodeo program. Each year, and a funny guy off the field,” Gill said. Garrison donates money as well as his Garrison not only excelled on the hand-crafted wood carvings to the OSU Rodeo Team. football field, but also in the classroom.
“I try to do everything I can for OSU,” Garrison said, “because they gave me the opportunity to do what I did.” Garrison said he knows the students on the rodeo team have numerous expenses related to entry fees and travel and wants to help as much as possible. “Walt is a wonderful individual,” said Cody Hollingsworth, OSU rodeo program and facilities coordinator. “He attracts support for OSU. When alumni know Walt is behind it, they want to support it, too.” Although Garrison has seen much success in his lifetime, he said if he could change one thing about his college experience, it would be to earn an OSU degree. Knowing Garrison’s desire, the OSU Department of Animal Science worked to secure an honorary doctorate for him, said Clint Rusk, department head. “Honoring Walt Garrison with the honorary doctoral degree seems only fitting for a man who set records while attending OSU, excelled in his professional career, and has given back to the university again and again,” Rusk said. Honorary doctoral degrees are presented in “recognition of a career of extraordinary accomplishment that has benefited society through intellectual, artistic, scientific, professional, or public service contributions,” according to OSU. Once the OSU/A&M Board of Regents approved Garrison’s honorary degree, OSU honored him at the Fall 2015 commencement ceremony. From American cowboy to OSU Cowboy to Dallas Cowboy, Garrison has come full circle and continues to influence those who share his passion. Kylie
Marysville, Calif. COWBOY JOURNAL | 23
Did you know … appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in September 1972? … was a member of the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys? … published an autobiography in 1988, titled “Once a Cowboy”? … displays his ranch and rodeo equipment in the Walt Garrison Bar & Grill in Dallas? … has a line of dipping sauce, salsa, barbecue sauce and meat rub? … loves wood carving and carves every day? … was a bulldogger on the OSU Rodeo Team? … was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2012? … is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame?
Top: Ernie Roberts (left), Walt Garrison and Doug Hicks at a 1976 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association event. Photo by Bern Gregory/Dickinson Research Center. Middle and Bottom Right: Walt Garrison wore No. 32. Photos courtesy of OSU Athletics. Bottom Left: Walt Garrison admires Boone Pickens Stadium after the December 2015 commencement ceremonies. Photo by Todd Johnson. 24 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
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CASNR Student demographics change across decades
hirty years ago, 171 new freshmen students enrolled in Oklahoma State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Last fall, 518 new freshmen students enrolled in the college. With this growth has come a change in the typical CASNR student. CASNR’s student body demographics today are much different than in the 1980s, said Scott Carter, who received a Bachelor of Science in animal science from OSU in December 1989 and returned to OSU in 1997 as an animal science assistant professor. “When I was in school, typical students were small-town, rural, country boys and a few country girls who had a knowledge of animal agriculture,” Carter said. Today, CASNR’s 1,450 women students outnumber the men, whose enrollment in the college last year stood at 1,085, according to CASNR. Increasingly, the students are from a variety of backgrounds, said Cynda Clary, CASNR associate dean. Joe Schatzer, OSU agricultural economics professor and CASNR faculty member since 1983, said he has noticed a change in the number of students from farming backgrounds. “My perception is we have more nonfarm students in the college today than we did when I first started teaching at OSU,” Schatzer said. Clary said the trends in student demographics at OSU are similar to changes happening at other land-grant institutions across the nation. As fewer people have firsthand knowl-
edge of agriculture, fewer students come to CASNR with traditional agricultural backgrounds or experiences. This changing demographic brings unique perspectives to the classroom and to student organizations, Clary said. “The more diversity we can get in an undergraduate population, the more experiences and knowledge our students can gain,” Carter said. “As faculty, we need to adapt to the changes but still hold true to what our department was founded on as we reach the changing demographics,” he added. In the past four years, CASNR has set new records for the largest freshman class each fall and is on target to set another record in Fall 2016, Clary said. In the middle of record-setting enrollment, Clary said the college must keep in mind why students choose an education in CASNR at OSU. “The strength of our programs is that we still have a very hands-on approach to education,” Clary said. While other land-grant universities have dealt with increasing student enrollment by providing fewer applied-learning classes, OSU has kept its hands-on approach, she said. Clary said CASNR is fortunate to have animal and plant teaching units as well as the biosystems and agricultural engineering labs. “We have facilities close enough to campus that students can be on those facilities as part of their regular class time,” she said. Clary said faculty who are committed
to being excellent in the classroom are a major draw to prospective students. In fact, CASNR has two faculty members, Shida Henneberry and Garey Fox, who have won the national U.S. Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Teaching Award for Food and Agricultural Sciences in the last two years, Clary said. “That says a lot about the quality of faculty we have in the college and how committed they are to connecting with students inside and outside of the classroom,” Clary said. “That is why we see growth in enrollment.” Students also use their CASNR education in an assortment of jobs, both in and out of the agricultural industry, Clary said. “People have an image they associate with what they think agriculture involves,” Clary said. “While there are career paths that are in the things they associate with agriculture, a lot of other career paths exist for CASNR graduates.” Clary said CASNR educates students about what their career paths can be, showcasing the many options for majors and even more options for potential jobs. “The pride the students have in the education they get at OSU is exciting,” Clary said. “That has not changed.”
Siloam Springs, Ark. COWBOY JOURNAL | 27
Horticulture and landscape architecture students designed the pebble garden in front of the new Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center. Photo by Sabrina Wilber. 28 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
CASNR students design landscape for new equine center orses grazing. Flowers blooming. “Don’t fall into analysis paralysis and Grasses growing. Seasons changjust stare at the problem,” Jordan said. ing. These scenes are created by “Keep moving the pen on the paper, and landscape architecture students helping eventually, you will have a solution.” other students the Cowboy way. Capturing ideas down on paper and The Charles and Linda Cline Equine running with them is a takeaway for stuTeaching Center’s grand opening was Feb. dents and a life lesson in any career path, 16, showcasing facilities and recognizing Jordan said. those involved in creating the new facility. “Because this was a real-world opporEight landscape architecture students tunity and students would get to see their aided in the aesthetics of the Charles and design ideas incorporated into the new Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center by setting, it was not difficult to get participadesigning a low-maintenance landscape. tion,” Mihalko said. “It is a student place,” said Cheryl At the time of the charrette, introducMihalko, assistant professor of hortition to landscape architecture and landculture and landscape architecture. “Dr. scape management classes were offered. Cynda Clary, associate “I encouraged dean of the College of them to attend even Agricultural Sciences though they had not WE HAVE A GREAT TEAM yet taken design or and Natural Resources, wanted students to be the graphic presentaTHAT HAS A BROAD involved in developing tion course,” Mihalko the landscape setting.” SPECTRUM OF KNOWLEDGE said. “I told them they Mihalko coordiTHAT HELPS US GET THERE. would be put on a team nated with Janna with more advanced Dave Brown Beck-Williams, students who would Landscape Design Coordinator facilities and project take the lead. manager for the OSU “This project Division of Agricultural let them be a part of Sciences and Natural Resources, to arrange something that was actually going to be for students to design the landscape. built,” Mihalko said. “They viewed it as an As a co-adviser of OSU’s student opportunity to make a legacy on campus.” chapter of the American Society of LandMihalko provided the base map mascape Architects, Mihalko told students of terial and site photographs for students as the opportunity to help at the new center. they worked in groups of four to complete “My role was participating in a design a preliminary plan. charette,” said Daniel Jordan, landscape They offered ideas on how to create architecture senior, “which is basically a a functional area for students to make the brainstorming session where any ideas go most of the landscaping, she said. on the paper to keep refining them until “A couple of teams proposed pulling you have a couple concepts.” the outdoor seating space slightly away Landscape architecture students’ class from the building to capture more sunassignments are mostly theoretical projlight and have higher visibility,” said Dave ects, but they always appreciate a real site Brown, landscape design coordinator for and actual client, Mihalko said. the department. “There was a proposal to They started the project with the have a hitching post or two.” creativity and a yearning for hands-on Brown often is asked to take part in experience for their career paths, she said. assisting in the program’s projects, includA challenge for many students is the ing working with students, he said. creativity brain block, Jordan said. “My group worked to come up with COWBOY JOURNAL | 29
collected and students had explained their a design and plant list that we felt met concepts, Brown consolidated the ideas the needs of the users while increasing the into one plan. outdoor aesthetic value,” Jordan said. “I took elements of some of the Students developed design plans with low-maintenance materials and high-quali- designs and began to develop the final plans for the area,” ty visuals, Jordan said. Brown said. “I did the Jordan said the planning under the biggest challenge the DON’T FALL INTO of leadership group faced was choosANALYSIS PARALYSIS AND direction from the equine center ing drought-tolerant plant material that was STARE AT THE PROBLEM. and the college to make sure there was a good maintained easily and fit Daniel Jordan marriage between the with the design vision. Landscape Architecture Senior student concepts, the “We used several developing plan and the native grasses,” Jordan needs of the school. said. “My favorite plant “The best results come from an open we used is Salvia greggii, a small perennial mind, taking input and advice from othshrub that has bright blooms. We used it ers, and remaining fluid throughout the for the color and texture change.” process,” Brown said. The design charrette produced ideas With proposals for an outdoor seatand plans that could be taken to the next ing space, students had different initial level of design, Brown said. concepts, but with compromise, the final The final design incorporated a design came together, he said. seating area centered in the front of the “The final design has the seating area building with hitching posts framing the connecting three building entrances and pebble garden, Brown said. centered in the crook of the building,” When the preliminary drawings were
Brown said. “We used the hitching posts similar to ornamental fencing to help us frame the area.” Challenges of designing an outdoor space for the new center included working in the budget and creating a simple but enhancing outdoor design for the facility. The price and function, hardscape and plant material choices were vital, he said. “We have a great team that has a broad spectrum of knowledge that helps us get there,” Brown said. To assist in the budget, facilities management donated items such as benches and flowerpots, Beck-Williams said. “This was a great experience and success that we will repeat in future DASNR projects,” Beck-Williams said.
Landscape architecture senior Daniel Jordan works at the classroom design studio to finalize details on design layouts. Photo by Sabrina Wilber. 30 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
OSU graduates develop unique ice cream product
hot summer day and cold, sweet ice cream. The treat is the perfect taste combination to make any day better. In 2015, Stillwater became home to a unique version of the tasty treat — goat milk ice cream. RaShaun Robinson and his business
partner, Caleb Neil, founded Billy Goat Ice Cream Co. in April 2015. It began with a simple idea for an Oklahoma State University class project and turned into one of Stillwater’s newest businesses. Robinson and Neil each graduated with a master’s degree in entrepreneurship
Billy Goat Ice Cream is low in fat and low in lactose, allowing individuals with a lactose intolerance to consume the sweet treat. Photo by Brianne Schwabauer.
COWBOY JOURNAL | 31
from OSU in May 2015. During one of their classes, Robinson came up with the goat milk ice cream idea in hopes of helping local agriculture, he said. Robinson and Neil met during a class in Fall 2013. Their job in the class was to work together to create a business plan and market a product. Luckily for them, Robinson said, he had thought of a unique idea almost four years prior during his undergraduate program at Langston University. Robinson had no idea a simple class project could turn into his career, he said. “We were kind of just doing it for the sake of the class,” Robinson said. “To our surprise, we ended up winning that competition and received an award to help start our business.” It took more than six months for the duo to come up with a formula for ice cream to meet their requirements, Robinson said. “We spent many hours testing everything from sugar to eggs,” Robinson said. “We had to find the right combination while sticking to our product goal of remaining all natural and preservative free.” Starting a business has more to it than one would think, especially when developing a food product, Robinson said. “We spent a lot of hours in and around supermarkets asking customers why they were choosing the ice cream they bought,” Robinson said. “We also would ask
Owners RaShaun Robinson (left) and Caleb Neil had the idea for Billy Goat Ice Cream Co. while at OSU. Photo illustration by Jimmy Hutson.
Cream Co. is located in the Meridian clients if goat milk ice cream would be Technology Center’s small-business develsomething they would be interested in. opment center. It was a lot of work, but we gained a lot “It has been really great to be in this from it.” facility,” Robinson said. “Meridian has The pair wanted to create goat milk been very supportive during this process. ice cream because of the health benefits. They are even able to focus group new They wanted to create a product that was products as we develop new flavors.” not only healthy but also was something FAPC has been a great resource, as people could enjoy, Robinson said. well, Robinson said. “Thirty-three percent of Americans “We have been able to ask any quesare lactose intolerant or have some form tions we may have,” Robinson said. “For of digestive sensitivities,” Robinson said. guys who don’t have a background in food “Many of that 33 percent can consume science, we wouldn’t be able to make it goat milk because it is low in lactose and without the people at FAPC.” low in fat.” Erin Johnson, Robinson said FAPC client coordinahe and Neil knew tor, serves on the adthey could not do this alone. They both THEY HAVE AN ATTRACTIVELY visory board for Billy Goat Ice Cream Co. knew they needed PRICED PRODUCT THAT “I have the opporhelp from other enWILL CAPTURE THE tunity to assist with all tities if they actually wanted to create a MILLENNIAL GENERATION. entrepreneur students who come through,” product people would Barbara Charlet Johnson said. “I have want, he said. Made in Oklahoma been able to help They contacted Market Development Coordinator Billy Goat Ice Cream three different agenspecifically with their cies for help during operations and the the process: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Robert M. policies they need to follow.” FAPC has worked with Billy Goat Ice Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center Cream Co. for almost two years, Johnson in the OSU Division of Agricultural said. They assist with anything from label Sciences and Natural Resources, and requirements to testing new flavor combiMeridian Technology Center in nations such as roasted strawberry balsamStillwater, Okla. ic, coffee cacao chip and garden mint. Now, Billy Goat Ice
Billy Goat Ice Cream Co. offers unique all-natural flavors, including roasted strawberry balsamic and coffee cacao chip. Photo by Brianne Schwabauer.
The purpose of FAPC is to help develop successful value-added enterprises in Oklahoma — to bring the products, the jobs and the dollars home, Johnson said. “We offer many different types of services to help businesses get a jump start,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to help food businesses put the best product out there for the consumers to enjoy.” The Made in Oklahoma Coalition has played an important role during the last year, as well, Robinson said. MIO is a marketing cooperative whose mission is to create brand awareness and consumer loyalty for locally sourced and produced food products, said Barbara Charlet, market development coordinator for the cooperative. “We work with Oklahoma food manufacturers, helping them with everything from marketing to distribution,” Charlet said. “Our goal is to help them achieve sales growth within the state as well as the surrounding region. The Dallas-Fort Worth market, for example, has a greater population than all of Oklahoma, so it is a natural target market.” Along with all members of MIO, Billy Goat Ice Cream Co. receives a multitude
of marketing opportunities, everything from in-store promotional events to participation in retail and food service shows, Charlet said. In addition, they receive timely industry information and the expertise of their fellow MIO members, some of whom have 20 to 40 years of experience in the food industry, she said. “The coalition has enabled Billy Goat to gain access to distribution channels and retail and food service accounts that would be difficult to approach on their own,” Charlet said. “The coalition, operating as a marketing cooperative, continues to mentor emerging companies as they navigate the inhibiting process of securing shelf space in warehouse distribution centers and retail stores.” Billy Goat Ice Cream slowly is making its way into stores around Oklahoma and surrounding states. Food Pyramid in Stillwater, Okla., Reasor’s Foods in Tulsa, Okla., and the Green Acres Market in Wichita, Kan., are just some of the places people can find Billy Goat Ice Cream. Recently, the Odyssey newspaper for OSU featured Billy Goat Ice Cream. The article described 11 rules all OSU students
broke at least once, and No. 8 was eating an entire pint of Billy Goat Ice Cream in one sitting. “We couldn’t believe we got added to that list,” Robinson said. “We have seen an increase in brand awareness on campus because of it, so we are definitely thankful.” Both Johnson and Charlet said they believe the buzz about the Billy Goat Ice Cream should result in continued success. Johnson said she believes Billy Goat Ice Cream will become a nationally known product sold throughout the country in the next 10 years. “With their uniqueness and taste profile, it appears they have unlimited potential to grow and expand their operations,” Charlet said. “They have an attractively priced product that will capture the millennial generation, a market segment with the resources and interest in non-traditional products.” Jimmy
Burns Flat, Okla. COWBOY JOURNAL | 33
Growing up on a commercial cattle ranch, Kalyn McKibben developed a passion to advocate for the cattle industry. Photo courtesy of Kalyn McKibben.
McKibben receives top senior award fifth-generation rancher from Wyandotte, Okla., with a passion for production agriculture, Kalyn McKibben has spent time in orange and black to help define who she is both personally and professionally. “People may not remember your title, but they will never forget the impact you had on them,” she said. To recognize McKibben’s accomplishments in academics and research as well as her involvement with Oklahoma State University, McKibben received the 2016 College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Louis and Betty Gardner Outstanding Senior Award. “Beginning my undergraduate career at OSU, I wanted to challenge myself,” McKibben said. “I realized the only thing keeping us from accomplishing our wildest dreams is ourselves.” Dan Stein, animal science associate professor and McKibben’s academic adviser, said McKibben is passionate, energetic and driven. “She is a gal who has a mission in life
to be the next spokesperson for the beef industry,” Stein said. “If you tag along behind her, you better get your tennis shoes on,” Stein said. “She is constantly on the go.” McKibben said her most memorable experience was walking with friends in OSU’s Homecoming celebration. “As we began to inch along in the parade procession, I stood proudly with my closest friends and fellow students as we shouted and jumped with excitement, cheering on our beloved Cowboys,” McKibben said. “In that moment, my pride was unexplainable. “Not only was I a cattle producer promoting my family’s business, but I was also a part of the CASNR and Cowboy families,” she said. “The comradery and school spirit was incredible.” McKibben was an OSU Senior of Significance and a Top 20 Freshmen Woman. She also served as president of the Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen and as a collegiate representative on the American National Cattlewomen Board of Directors.
She was a Hagan Scholar, Hunter Stone Endowed Scholarship recipient, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society initiate and a Lloyd Noble Scholar. McKibben said she has been blessed with amazing opportunities, allowing her to share her passion for OSU with people all across the country. “Receiving this award, I hope to set an inspiring example of what students can accomplish and achieve as a product and representative of CASNR,” she said. “I am fortunate to have been raised in an environment that allowed me to recognize and foster my passion for beef production very early in life,” she added. McKibben said she plans to dedicate her career to shining a positive light on production agriculture and bridging the ever-increasing gap between consumers and producers. Meg
Beaver, Okla. COWBOY JOURNAL | 35
36 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Childhood dreams of becoming a veterinarian quickly changed when spreading the stories of agriculture became Kaylen Baker’s true passion. Baker, an agricultural communications and animal science double major from Yukon, Okla., has been involved in campus clubs, national conferences and internships since she was a freshman. “I found my passion for agriculture when I joined FFA in high school and was led to OSU when I was elected the state reporter for the Oklahoma FFA Association,” she said. “Every year I have spent here has left a significant impact on my life,” Baker said. “I believe I have left a significant impact on the lives of others through service and pushing others to become the best version of themselves, just like OSU has pushed me.” Baker said her career goal is to work for an industry group as a communications specialist to spread the story of agriculture to producers and consumers.
A small-town, home-schooled girl from Oakland, Neb., Lindsay King moved south to become a Cowboy. King, an animal science and agricultural communications double major, said her involvement with the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference helped define who she is today. “On a whim, I applied to attend the AFALC and was selected for sponsorship,” King said. “Little did I know what the long weekend had in store for me. “At the first conference, I was selected as a 40 Chances Fellow, which turned out to be the single-most challenging but meaningful experience for me as an OSU student,” she said. “The outpouring of support, encouragement and opportunities presented to me as I grew up and while at OSU inspired me to do the same for those around me,” King said. “I aspire to work as a communications specialist for an agricultural organization or publication and advocate for the industry.”
Julia Matera, an animal science and biochemistry senior from Columbia, Mo., is passionate about research. “Research is an area that became a blossoming passion of mine because it requires not simply an education and a knowledge base but also a progression of that knowledge,” Matera said. “Research explores, discovers, relates, and expands,” Matera said. “It pushed my preconceptions and allowed me to explore areas that are unknown to a textbook.” Matera said as she approached the end of her undergraduate career, her experiences at OSU culminated her past, shaped her current successes, and prepared her for the future. Matera said she plans to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a physician.
From resident to mentor, living in Stout Hall helped biochemistry and molecular biology and microbiology senior Gretchan Moore of Muldrow, Okla., make the most of her time at OSU. “Since beginning my senior year in Stout, the residents often come to me for advice,” Moore said. “In the end, relationships and community encompass the most memorable experiences students will ever have in college.” Moore’s interests in medicine and the human body led her to be named a Tylenol Future Care Scholar, she said. Moore has dedicated her personal time to promoting health care careers to her peers and the community. After graduation, she plans to attend the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa, she said.
Thomas Coon (back row left), vice president of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, along with Cynda Clary (back row second from right), associate dean of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and Brian Vowell (back row right), CASNR Alumni Board of Directors president, congratulate the 15 recipients of the CASNR Seniors of Distinction Award: Kalyn McKibben (back row second from left), Kyle Hilbert, Lindsay King, Daniel Jordan, James â€œNolanâ€? Craun, Julia Matera, Shanlyn Hefley, Gretchan Moore (front row left), Rebekah Sook, Katherine Schwartz, Mandy Jo Schroeder, Jena Kellum and Mary Temple-Lee. Not pictured: Kaylen Baker and Andres Guerrero Criado. Photo by Todd Johnson.
T homas Kuzmic
Professor Natural resource ecology & management Award for Excellence in Teaching
Regents Professor Plant & Soil Sciences Excellence in Graduate Advising & Mentoring Award
Professor Animal science Excellence in Undergraduate Student Advising and Mentoring Award
Assistant Professor Plant and Soil Sciences CASNR Outstanding Adviser Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching
Department Head Horticulture & Landscape Architecture Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teacher
Student Services Specialist Agricultural Economics CASNR Outstanding Staff Award
Courtney Mapes, an animal science and biochemistry major from Alva, Okla., was the recipient of the Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman Award at the 2016 CASNR Scholarships and Awards Banquet. Photo by Todd Johnson. COWBOY JOURNAL | 37
The Nuestra SeĂąora de los Remedios sanctuary sits upon the Great Pyramid in Cholula, Mexico. Photo by Lynn Brandenberger.
38 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
he United States of America is a melting pot for people who come from an array of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in eight U.S. residents is an immigrant and one in five of those immigrants are of Latino or Asian descent. Of the 41.3 million immigrants in the country, more than a quarter originate from Mexico. To provide the training necessary to improve extension educators’ ability to work with people stemming from different cultures, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service began assessing cultural competency of extension personnel in 2013, said Lupita Fabregas, former Oklahoma State University clinical assistant professor and multicultural and community engagement specialist. Fabregas said this inspired her to show extension educators “the real Mexico” to better their understanding of Hispanics residing in Oklahoma. To build cultural awareness, the OCES sent 12 faculty and staff on an 11day trip to Puebla, Mexico, in December 2015. OSU has a long-standing partnership with Universidad Popular Autónoma Del Estado De Puebla, Fabregas said. UPAEP hosted the 12 participants and their two coordinators during the trip. The nine family and consumer science faculty members, two horticulture and landscape architecture representatives, and one state 4-H extension specialist had an intercultural experience of a lifetime, Fabregas said. Fabregas worked with Jorge Atiles, the associate dean for extension and engagement in the College of Human Sciences and OCES, to show participants
OCES faculty gain intercultural experience in Puebla, Mexico the health, education, economic, culturthe day, participants used a taxi or public al, agricultural and religious aspects of bus to return to their host families. Mexico. The experience was funded by a “We were all in the same city, but the grant from OCES ambassadors. The grant city of Puebla is huge,” Atiles said. “They allowed the participants all had to learn how to have to pay only for a to use public transsmall portion of the trip, portation and how Fabregas said. WE ARE NEIGHBORS WITH to manage money as who lives “We did a lot of MEXICO, AND WE ARE GOING someone there. It was, overall, different things to better understand the Mexican TO BE NEIGHBORS FOREVER. a very good learning experience which culture,” Atiles said. Lupita Fabregas allowed the county “We stayed in the city of Former OSU Multicultural and educators and the Puebla, which is almost Community Engagement Specialist faculty to come back as big as Oklahoma in and reflect on how terms of population.” they are developing Each participant programs. The trip allowed them to overstayed with an individual host family in come some of the misconceptions they Puebla for the entirety of the trip. “They lived with families instead of in had about the Mexican population.” hotels, so they had to ride public transpor- The group visited hospitals and tation in Mexico,” Fabregas said. “They schools to better understand the differvisited the real Mexico that they would ences in private and public education and have never had a chance to see as tourists.” health care systems, Atiles said. Most of the host families spoke little “We also did tours in agriculture by to no English, said Shelley Mitchell, asvisiting several establishments,” Atiles said. sistant extension specialist in horticulture “We visited horticulture farms and a pig and landscape architecture. farm, and that was wonderful. They were one of the largest pig producers in the “The language barrier was a challenge area. We learned a lot about how the farm at first,” she said, “but my host family was was managed.” great. You became one of their family by When the group traveled to Mexico the end of the trip. I had a blast, and I City, they witnessed the Dia de la Virgen would go back in a heartbeat.” de Guadalupe pilgrimage. In addition to Each day began by attending a mornthe 22 million already residing in Mexico ing lecture at UPAEP. How to conduct business in Mexico, the health care system, City, about 9 million pilgrims from across the country travel to Mexico City on the the education system, the meaning of religious holiday, Atiles said. culture and ethnicity, and immigration “We saw people on bikes traveling were discussed by various Mexican faculty miles and miles to pay their respects to in the morning lectures. the [Blessed] Virgin in the City of Mex The group then traveled across southico,” Atiles said. “They would bike or ern Mexico to locations corresponding walk for days to get there. We learned a with the morning lectures. At the end of COWBOY JOURNAL | 39
lot about their faith and what it means in their culture.” Mitchell said one of the main lessons she learned on the trip is how to schedule cooperative extension events in relation to prominent Mexican holidays. After seeing the impact of Dia de la Virgen Guatalupe, she understands how important holidays are in their culture, she said. Mitchell, one of a team of extension faculty who helped start a school garden at Santa Fe South schools in Oklahoma City, teaches sixth-graders about gardening and also works with teachers to integrate horticulture into the classroom. “I’m the state Junior Master Gardener coordinator, and I am trying to build school gardens,” Mitchell said. “Most of the Santa Fe South students are Hispanic. We’re realizing there is more to it than just the language barrier. Their culture is completely different than ours.” The school consists of 99 percent first-generation students whose parents migrated from Hispanic countries, mainly Mexico. She will apply what she learned on the trip to her work at the Santa Fe South schools, she said. 40 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
“They are very family-centered, so we learned that anything we do with the kids needs to include the family,” Mitchell said. “I learned more about the logistics of running things geared toward Hispanics and what to expect with their culture and religion when it comes to planning.” One of the last days of the trip was one of the most influential and eye opening, she said. Participants traveled an hour north of Puebla to La Preciosita, a migrant community, and were greeted with lunch from women in the community. The women told them about the challenge of crossing the border, the struggle to find employment and the risks it takes to even begin the task, Mitchell said. “One woman told us she tried to get across the border 12 times,” Mitchell said. “She was caught by coyotes or caught by border patrol. The women’s husbands are trying to make money in the U.S. and return home because their family is back in Mexico.” After hearing the stories of trial and challenge, Mitchell said she has a lot more respect for the Mexican culture, knowing the country’s financial situation, she said.
“The best part was the participants had a chance to hear about immigration from these women,” Fabregas said. “All of the extension educators, myself included, were crying because it was such a powerful experience. Hearing the women talk about their husbands and sons was incredible.” Horticulture and landscape architecture professor Lynn Brandenberger said the participants learned about Mexico’s social aspects and cultural organization on the excursion. “One of the main things we learned that will help us when working with people, particularly first-generation Hispanic immigrants, is that we got a little taste of what they go through when they come to the United States,” Brandenberger said. “We weren’t fluent in the language, and then, all of a sudden, we have to navigate through cities and know how to get places and do things. “You never really understand the frustration or fright they go through until you experience it yourself,” he said. OCES personnel can use this immersion into the Mexican culture to better understand the society, which they then
can use to adapt programming to the growing Hispanic population in the U.S., Brandenberger said. “When you immerse yourself, you really begin to understand what immigrants go through when they come to this country,” Brandenberger said. “If you’re going to work with immigrant groups, no matter where in the world they came from, it really gives you an idea of what they go through when they come here. Now, we can relate better.” OSU and UPAEP need to maintain their relationship because OCES faculty and educators will need to know how to
help people from different cultures, Fabregas said. “I would really like other professors from the college to have the opportunity to go on this trip,” Fabregas said. “We are neighbors with Mexico, and we are going to be neighbors forever.”
EXPERIENCING THE SIGHTS OF MEXICO
For the OSU team traveling to Mexico, tour experiences included visits to (1) the city of Puebla, (2) the Pyramid of the Sun and (3) a statue in Cholula, Mexico; (4) Jorge Atiles sharing his Cowboy pride; (5) a skyline view of Puebla, Mexico; (6) the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary from below the Great Pyramid; (7) a ranch tour; (8) “OSU” colored pigs; and (9) Lynn Brandenberger and Jorge Atiles ready to experience the real Mexico. Photos by Lynn Brandenberger and Shelley Mitchell. COWBOY JOURNAL | 41
Urban students lear through school gard
Sixth-grade students at Santa Fe South planted and harvested radishes and spinach among a variety of other vegetables. Photo by Micaela Danker.
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rn about agriculture den
oday’s consumers are curious about of them grew in a straight line, some were everywhere, but they were growing, where their food and fiber comes Campbell said. from, not just where it is grown, While students spent time learning in but how it is grown. the garden through hands-on experiencConsumers look for information to make educated and healthy decisions when es, they also learned the science behind their practices. Oklahoma County Master it comes to purchasing food, according to Gardeners, a program of the Oklahoma the Oklahoma Farm Report. Cooperative Extension Service, provided Most Americans are three generations curriculum and resources for removed from the farm, which increases the students. the education gap between consumers and The Master Gardener volunteers farmers, according to the American Farm assisted Seth Stallings, Bureau Federation. the school gardener, With the hope of two to three times bridging the gap between each week. The farmers and consumers, IT’S A REALLY NEAT volunteers provided Santa Fe South Middle OPPORTUNITY ... IT technical assistance School in Oklahoma City EXPOSED THEM TO THE to the students and has introduced an urban agriculture program to BASICS OF HORTICULTURE. also answered any questions they had, sixth-grade students, said Joshua Campbell Stallings said. Chris Brewster, Santa Fe OSU Extension Associate Shelley Mitchell, South superintendent. assistant extension Through collabospecialist in horticulrative efforts between ture and landscape architecture, taught Oklahoma State University and Santa Fe teachers how to integrate gardening into South Schools, the program launched in their curriculum. September 2015. More than 200 students “Dr. Mitchell did some training for spent their fall semester learning about our sixth-grade teachers about different gardening and horticultural practices. On ways they can connect students with gara three-acre plot, the students planted, dening and food,” Stallings said. grew, and harvested a variety of plants, Brewster had a vision for the threesuch as radishes, spinach, kale, turnips, acre plot to become a vibrant learning mustard and lettuce. “Each kid had his or her own plot and farm as well as to partner with OSU and provide opportunities for his students. was able to see what seeds were doing and After Brewster met with OSU reprehow things were growing,” said Joshua sentatives in February 2015, the plan was Campbell, OSU extension associate. to apply for an environmental education “Each kid is a little different in attengrant through the Environmental Protection span and attention to detail,” Camption Agency, he said. bell said. “Some of them were throwing Justin Moss, horticulture and landseeds here, there and everywhere. Some of scape architecture associate professor, and them were really meticulous about placing Joshua Ringer, visiting assistant professor, them in a straight line.” teamed with Mitchell to submit the grant When the plants grew last fall, some
in March 2015. The EPA awarded the grant in March 2016, Moss said. “It’s been a slow process,” Campbell said. “We are hoping with some grant funding we will be able to see progress and see momentum building. “Brewster has a vision for something more than just a little school garden,” Campbell said. “His vision is for a functioning, living, learning space for students, where they could actually see agricultural production firsthand, see vegetables and flowers grow, work in the greenhouse, and perhaps work with animals.
“Brewster wanted something more for his students than just going out to a little raised-bed garden,” Campbell said. Brewster’s goal is to build a program where students gain hands-on experience and understand agriculture and horticulture more deeply by intertwining the two into the curriculum, including math, science, English and history, Campbell said. “It’s a really neat opportunity, at least with the starting group of sixth-graders,” Campbell said. “It exposed them to the basics of horticulture. “We hope every year to build a little
bit, so by the time these sixth-graders are seniors in high school, they have an interest in agriculture, and they’re prepared to come to OSU,” he said. The sixth-grade program will resume in fall 2016, Stallings said. Although a plan is not finalized, the primary emphasis will be middle school students, he said. Most students enrolled in the middle school are Hispanic, and their parents and grandparents have not had formal education past secondary education, Moss said. By teaching the students about agriculture at a young age, OCES educators can help them become informed about promising career options in agriculture, Moss said. The garden is a collaborative effort among three groups with the focus of having a quality horticulture program at Santa Fe South Middle School, Campbell said. “There’s a piece that OSU plays in providing opportunities for students as they go through high school,” Campbell said. “If they find that they are interested in agriculture or horticulture, there are opportunities hopefully here at OSU for those students. “It’s going to take all of us working collaboratively to see this happen and be impactful and successful,” he said. Micaela
Wellston, Okla. In Fall 2015, students spent four days each week working in the school garden. Photo by Joshua Campbell.
THE STUDENT PERSPECTIVE
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST IN THE GARDEN?
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
JOCELYN MARTINEZ We were able to plant stuff so we could eat in the sixth-grade center.
JOCELYN MARTINEZ I learned about the seasons everything could be planted in.
ALICIA GONZALEZ We got to plant a lot of vegetables and then eat them once they were done growing.
ALICIA GONZALEZ I learned that dirt is not the same as soil. Dirt is something you find in the ground, and soil helps the vegetables grow and be healthy.
JOSIAH MEDINA It was really fun because we got to learn how to plant and how to pick them out. We got to learn the best times to plant, when we could and couldn’t. The best part for me was getting dirty and getting to throw dirt all around.
JOSIAH MEDINA I learned if you put too much water on a plant then it could drown and it wouldn’t grow much. You have to be very careful with how much water you put so the plants will grow.
JOVANNA SANCHEZ I liked it because we got to pick plants that we have never eaten before. 44 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
JOVANNA SANCHEZ I learned you have to put [plants] at least 2 inches apart or else they wouldn’t have enough room to grow.
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Susanne Wasson, 1988 OSU agricultural economics alumna, is the senior-most female in the U.S. operations of Dow AgroSciences. Photo by Robert Banayote.
46 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
CASNR alumna excels in corporate agriculture
ard work, dedication and comA&M University to receive a master’s passion helped a small-town degree in agricultural economics in 1990. girl from Poteau, Okla., rise Then, Wasson began her 26-year career toward the top of the agricultural industry. with Dow AgroSciences. “I started as an accountant, then I was Susanne Wasson grew up raising Santa in a financial analyst role,” Wasson said. Gertrudis cattle and showing livestock. “That’s when I thought, ‘I don’t want to Her father, Bob Wasson, was an alumnus do this for a career.’ I always tell people it of Oklahoma State University, graduating is OK to take a step back to step forward with a bachelor’s degree in animal science in the future.” in 1964. Wasson changed “My dad told roles to work as a sales me I could go representative, where anywhere but the I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE IT IS OK she learned the funUniversity of OklaTO TAKE A STEP BACK TO STEP damentals of the Dow homa,” Wasson said with a laugh. FORWARD IN THE FUTURE. AgroSciences crop protection business, she Wasson folSusanne Wasson said. Although a great lowed her father’s OSU Agricultural Economics Alumna experience, this was request and carried not a long-term career, on the family traWasson said. dition by attending Wasson eventually OSU, originally to traveled overseas, where she served Dow pursue a degree in finance, she said. AgroSciences as the sales manager for the “Growing up, I always had an interest United Kingdom and Ireland. in numbers and math,” Wasson said. “I “It was a great opportunity,” Wasson thought getting a business degree would said. “It taught me, more than anything, be really good.” how good we have it here in the U.S.” Wasson said she soon decided she did Wasson also worked as a global businot want a degree in finance. After talking with advisers in the College of Agricultural ness leader in China, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia and Mexico. Sciences and Natural Resources, Wasson “When I was at OSU, I never imagchanged her major to agricultural economined being a world traveler,” Wasson said. ics and accounting, she said, graduating “It was a great experience.” from OSU in 1988. Wasson returned to the U.S. busiShe continued her education at Texas
ness at the end of 2012 as the marketing director for crop protection. In 2014, she became the senior-most female in the U.S. operations of Dow AgroSciences as the U.S. commercial leader of crop protection in Indianapolis. “At Dow, we’ve worked really hard on diversity, and we make conscious decisions about hiring and picking the best people,” Wasson said. “I’m proud of how far we’ve come from when I started my career. I was the only female in my work group, but that’s not the case anymore.” Becoming the senior-most female in the U.S. branch of Dow AgroSciences was not achieved without difficulty, Wasson said. “Given that agriculture tends to be, from our customer perspective, a male-dominated industry, I have to sell myself in terms of my capabilities and what I want to do,” Wasson said. “I probably have to work harder at that than my male colleagues. It has never been a barrier in my career, though.” Wasson’s success can be contributed to her perseverance, said Tim Hassinger, president and CEO of Dow AgroSciences. “She succeeded at a time when agriculture was even more male dominated than it is today and is a highly respected peer and mentor,” Hassinger said. Trent Inman, regional account manager for Dow AgroSciences and 1997 OSU agricultural economics alumnus, COWBOY JOURNAL | 47
mater stems from her father’s love for the said Wasson earned the respect of her university and the foundation she built for colleagues because of her ability to relate professional success while in Stillwater. to people. “Having some of the basic ag classes, “Susanne is a great person,” Inman such as agronomy, prepared me to deal said. “One thing Susanne does best is she with the world of crop protection,” Wasshows all of our new and existing employson said. ees that she’s a very real person. Wasson also cred“Her ability to its her success in the listen and to relate corporate world to her to the sales organizaWHEN I WAS AT OSU, involvement in student tion really gives her organizations. Wasson I NEVER IMAGINED BEING a unique perspecwas a member of Delta tive, a unique set of A WORLD TRAVELER. Delta Delta sorority, skills,” Inman said. Susanne Wasson Block and Bridle, Aggie “She walked in all of OSU Agricultural Economics Alumna X, Alpha Zeta and the our shoes. She cares CASNR Ambassadors, deeply, too, not just she said. for our needs, but “Having good grades is always imcustomers’ needs.” portant,” Wasson said, “but having those Wasson’s hard work paid off and her leadership opportunities is important, too. colleagues admire her, Inman said. “Having those opportunities really “We are all very proud of Susanne and helped me find a job in a time where there her accomplishments within Dow Agroweren’t a lot of ag companies hiring in the Sciences,” Inman said. “It is awesome to late ’80s and early ’90s,” she said. see one of us on the podium in front of a When Wasson started working with large crowd saying, ‘Go Pokes!’ She’s very Dow AgroSciences, she never imagined proud of her time at OSU.” she would remain there for the duration of Wasson said her pride in her alma
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Weekend mornings on OETA 48 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
her career, but she would not change her experience, she said. Exciting times also lie ahead as Dow and DuPont announced a merger of equals in late 2015. “After transition close, the combination of Dow and DuPont’s complementary portfolios will create a new U.S.-based entity,” Wasson said, “with the scale and balance of agricultural offerings allowing us to more fully meet growers’ needs. I hope I get the opportunity to help shape the new company. “If you find a place you really value, you can make a great career with one company,” Wasson said. “I love the people I work with. The people at Dow have always been great. If you’re passionate about what you’re working in and you like the people, it’s a great combination.”
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To track refugees, Caleb Glennie uses WhatsApp to mark their approximate locations. Photo by Brianne Schwabauer.
50 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Lending a Former Oklahoma 4-H’er assists individuals on the refugee highway rom desert sands to the Mediterranean heat, a former Oklahoma 4-H member is living a life uniquely different from his Cordell, Okla., roots. After becoming involved with Oklahoma 4-H’s science and technology programs, Caleb Glennie learned extensive hands-on knowledge regarding global positioning systems and geographic information systems. He now implements his knowledge by assisting refugees located in the Middle East and Europe. “I was not into the agricultural side of 4-H,” he said. “My family didn’t own any land or animals, so that wasn’t who I was. However, like most pre-teen boys, I loved computers, video games and technology.” Glennie said upon moving to Cordell during the third grade, he made friends who informed him about a 4-H meeting after school. At the time, all he wanted to do was make new friends, he said. Soon enough, he joined 4-H and had a wide array of projects, and the rest was history, he said. “I began my journey in woodworking,” Glennie said. “I have many great memories working on projects in the woodshop with my dad. We even had a couple things go to the state fair.” Mary Peck, Glennie’s extension educator in Washita County, met Glennie soon after he became active within Oklahoma 4-H, she said. “He was in the fifth or sixth grade when I noticed his special qualities,” said Peck, now retired from her career with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. After building robots for the Washita County Fair, Glennie, a group of several
Upon his arrival, Glennie realized he other 4-H members and Peck became was in close proximity to an encampment involved in two main projects using GPS of refugees, he said. With the assistance of and GIS, Peck said. Charles Scheffe, associate pastor at First “The two major projects we worked Baptist Edmond, Glennie contacted the on were mapping illegal trash sites in the non-governmental organization* with county and recording unmarked veteran whom he works to help the refugees, grave sites,” Glennie said. “We passed our Scheffe said. data to city and county officials who used Glennie worked with First Baptist our maps to help better our community.” At the time, Washita County was hav- Edmond in previous years, pioneering outreach programs for children from low-ining difficulties with illegal dumping sites, Peck said. After posting fliers around the come families, Scheffe said. community, Peck received calls notifying “Caleb developed a relationship for her of possible locareaching people,” tions, she said. Scheffe said. Using GPS and After working GIS, the team plotted TO PUT IT IN SIMPLE alongside the refugees 12 different illegal and hearing their stories, TERMS, I FELL IN LOVE dumping sites. After Glennie was recruited WITH THE REFUGEES WHILE to join a team conductcollecting and mapping the information, STUDYING THE LANGUAGE. ing research along the they presented their refugee highway. Their Caleb Glennie findings to the county research focused on refuFormer Washita County 4-H Member commissioner, which gee location, how many resulted in a recycling were in that location, program being creatwho was assisting them, ed, Peck said. how they were assisted, and what additionGlennie’s involvement with the Oklaal measures could be done to assist them, homa 4-H led to him receiving a firstGlennie said. place award in Oklahoma 4-H’s record “To put it in simple terms, I fell in book competition in 2008 and to being love with the refugees while studying the Washita County 4-H’er of the Year in language,” Glennie said. “I wanted to help 2009. Glennie also received a scholarship them however I could, and this was the for his first year of college. opportunity that presented itself to me.” After completing his degree in interPrior to entering the field, the research personal communication in December team contacted several NGOs to lead 2013 from the University of Central them in the right direction. To ensure the Oklahoma, Glennie packed his belongings team located as many refugees as possible, and journeyed to the Middle East to study they traveled by foot through neighborArabic in January 2015. hoods and asked if refugees were present. COWBOY JOURNAL | 51
Former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (left) and Celeste Nelson (right) present Caleb Glennie with his 2008 All Other Projects - Science and Technology award. Photo by Todd Johnson.
Some countries proved to be easier than others as a refugee highway already existed, Glennie said. Upon making contact with a refugee camp, a center helping refugees or a general location with a large population of refugees, Glennie would drop a pin on the iPhone app “maps.me.” Those locations also were recorded on his laptop on Google maps after returning to the team’s camp, he said. Their findings now are used as a visual aid to incoming volunteers from various organizations, Glennie said. In the short time Glennie has been in the Middle East and Europe, he has encountered men, women and children seeking refuge from multiple countries, including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Somalia and Eritrea. Although many people Glennie encountered have come and gone, he remains in close contact with many of them through social media and communications apps, he said. “We have kept in contact with many 52 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
of them using Facebook and WhatsApp,” Glennie said. “They love WhatsApp.” Today, Glennie can be found in the Middle East, distributing food and water to passing refugees, packaging vitamins, or driving a 16-person, stick-shift van full of volunteer teams. In addition, he teaches English on Monday through Thursday in two different classes. One consists of 23 students, boys and girls, ranging in age from 13 to 17; the other is made up of men and women ranging in age from 20 to 40. “Caleb’s experience shows Oklahoma youth we need to be more understanding of other cultures,” Peck said. “You need to take advantage of all the opportunities in 4-H because you don’t know where you will end up when you grow up.” *For security reasons, this organization cannot be named. Brianne
The whole experience of looking for refugees was super impactful; however, one moment stands out above the rest of them. We visited a house a friend said was full of refugees. We were taken to the house not really knowing what to expect. It was in a not-so-nice part of Istanbul, and we had to walk for at least an hour to get to the place. He pointed to the building. It was a two or three story brick building that was falling apart. The windows were covered with tarps, and the street in front was littered with trash. As we walked in, we noticed a staircase leading to what appeared to be a basement. We found out later there were 15 to 20 single young men living down there in pretty terrible conditions. Before we could get to the door, we heard shouting above us. A young lady recognized the friend who had visited before. At once, several young women appeared at the door and ushered us up the stairs and into their apartment. [I feel the need to state that there were three ladies with us who spoke Arabic. It wasn’t just a bunch of creepy American guys walking up in the apartment.] We spent three hours with these women, learning their stories, drinking tea and enjoying each other’s company. We learned among other things that their husbands had either been killed or were in Europe. They were paying rent for the “apartment,” which was a bunch of concrete rooms only separated by tarps. Apparently, the way they made money was sending their children out to the street to sell gum and tissues. What really made these women special was that I ran into them again while working inside of a refugee camp in Greece over a month later! They were making the journey along the highway to join their husbands and sons and happened to pass through the camp I was working in and recognized me! So, I think two things were impressed upon me in these moments. One, the horrible conditions some refugees pay to live in outside of the camps are often a better alternative, and two, thousands and thousands of people passing through are real, live people with stories and struggles who have endured some really tough things. They aren’t just numbers or a collective group of people. They are individuals.
Making Better Men since 1921 For more information about recruitment, visit osuagrs.com.
are also able to participate in Camp Cowdentify. Equip. Empower. boy, different social events on campus and Started at Oklahoma State community service projects.” University in 2011, the McKnight Tayler Sullivent, an animal science juScholars Leadership Program was designed nior from Graham, Texas, said her mentor to assist young scholars in becoming helped her through her freshman year. life-giving leaders, said Marshall Baker, “The assigned mentors help keep program director and agricultural educatrack of your test grades to make sure you tion assistant professor. are progressing,” Sulli“The bevent said. “If you aren’t, ginning intent your mentor works was to not only IT HAS ALSO HELPED ME with you to identify recruit young people,” Baker REALIZE WHO I AM AS A LEADER, and overcome challengMentors also help said, “but also to WHICH WILL HELP ME MAKE A es. keep you involved and recruit the best DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. push you out of your and brightest comfort zone.” students from Tayler Sullivent Weston Leonard, across the nation Animal Science Junior an animal science to OSU. We junior from Artesia, want to show N.M., became a students what McKnight Scholar Leadership Program OSU has to offer and how they can excel mentor to help students transition into on our campus.” their first year of college, he said. The scholarship program first ben“I wanted to make a difference,” he efited rural Texas students, Baker said. said. “It is a rough transition your freshHowever, in the past few years, the man year, and I wanted to be able to help program opened to rural students in other others transition into the college lifestyle.” states, excluding Oklahoma, who fit the The program also helps students program’s qualifications, he said. develop and hone who they are as leaders, “The program is interested in a Baker said. certain kind of student,” Baker said. “We “The students take three, one-hour are looking for academic potential, proven leadership courses during the program,” leadership ability, character, service, and Baker said. “Two of the hours are Leadcommitment to OSU and rural America.” The first component of the program is ership I and II, where students identify who they are, build relationships, inspire to identify scholar-leaders, Baker said. a shared vision, and begin to understand “First, we want to identify the best,” how to change cultures. he said. “Then, we want to recruit those “The last one-hour credit is a Heifer students to OSU and show them how International experience, where students OSU can benefit them.” The program then equips the students get hands-on experience with challenges faced in developing countries,” Baker said. for success, Baker said. “Students also have the opportunity to go “The students receive mentors when on a free international trip as part of the they arrive, and those mentors invite them scholar program.” to participate,” Baker said. “The students 54 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Kellie Baxter, an agricultural communications junior from Amarillo, Texas, said she had a life-changing experience on the Heifer International trip. “The Heifer International trip equipped me to be a team leader,” Baxter said. “I learned and studied the leadership styles of other students, and I learned how to deal with pressured conflict. It was an incredible hands-on experience that allowed me to practice the skills I learned in the class.” The last key to equipping students is allowing them to take an aptitude test, Baker said. “The aptitude test allows the students to learn their own area of impact and how they can use it to make a difference,” Baker said. The aptitude test helped Sullivent realize the dominant traits she possesses and even some she was not aware of, she said. “It helped me understand myself better,” she said. “It also helped me realize some traits I didn’t know I possess. “It has allowed me to understand how to work on projects and toward goals in a way that works best with the skill set I have,” she said. The program’s third focus is to empower students, Baker said. “In the final section of the program, students take the skills they have learned and implement them,” Baker said. “The students can take community problems and find solutions, conduct impact projects in an area they are passionate about, and help encourage career planning through internships.” Sullivent said the opportunities she received empowered her and will help her in future endeavors. “The program has helped me network with prominent people at OSU,” Sullivent said. “It has also helped me realize who I
OSU program gives students tools to change the world am as a leader, which will help me make a difference in the world.” To apply for the McKnight Scholars Leadership Program, students must complete an online application and receive nominations by two individuals. Students must be admitted into OSU before being selected into the McKnight Scholars Leadership program. “We have two selection periods because we know there are students making decisions early and we want to recruit them early,” Baker said. “When a second group applies later, we want to be able to recruit from that group, as well,” he said.
Sullivent said she would advise students to keep an open mind when applying for the program. “It seems like a lot at first,” she said. “You have your service project and your class, but you realize what an asset they become. Students should be willing to have fun and give their all. You only benefit if you truly have the desire to be fully engaged in the program.” To date, 250 students have benefited from the McKnight Scholars Leadership Program, Baker said. The program was made possible by donations to the OSU Foundation from Ross and Billie McKnight of Throckmorton, Texas.
During Ross McKnight’s annual visit with the program’s class, students often ask him why he invests in them, Baker said. “Ross always says, ‘We believe you are the best and brightest students,’” he said. “Ross and Billie believe OSU is the place to equip and empower students to be life-giving leaders.”
The McKnight Scholars Leadership Program gives students like Tayler Sullivent (left), Weston Leonard and Kellie Baxter the opportunity to extend their leadership while attending OSU. Photo by Amber McGee.
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Twins lead OSU horse judging team to seventh world title
rowing up on a small cattle ranch near Austin, Texas, Faith and Hope Onstot, animal science sophomores, found themselves immersed in the livestock and equine industries at a young age. “With our family’s strong ties in the livestock and equine industries, it was only a matter of time until we found ourselves marking judging cards,” Hope said. The twins’ strong livestock and equine foundation prepared them to begin judging with the Williamson County 4-H Club at age 8, Faith said. Lisa Onstot pushed her daughters to compete, despite their county not having a strong judging program, Hope said. “Our mom ordered lots of the judging videos from Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University for us to get started,” Faith said. “Slowly, it began to build, and we began to see success.” Throughout their youth, the Onstot twins competed across Texas in both livestock and equine judging contests. Then, in 2009, the twins lost their assistant judging coach, Kathy Newman, who died from cancer.
“We knew that would be her last year,” said Faith. “We won the Houston Livestock Show in both livestock and horse judging in her honor. We went on to win the Paint Horse Youth World Contest at the end of the summer. She passed away three days later.” Newman’s endless support and drive pushed the twins through the season and made them want to continue to compete, Hope said. “She always used to tell us before every competition, ‘Go judge, and go be great. You will be champions one day.’” Hope said. “To this day, we still judge for her at every competition.” By their freshman year of high school in 2011, they grew their county judging program to a four-person team. The team won the Fort Worth Horse Judging Contest, which
qualified them for the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, and the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. “The first year at the Congress and AQHYA world show taught us a lot,” Faith said. “Although we had some top fives and top tens at both competitions, we saw where we needed to focus to win in the future.” In 2012, they won the state contest, returning to the Congress and AQHYA world show. They earned fourth at the Congress and reserve champion at the AQHYA world show. “It’s funny to think the year we took reserve at the AQHYA world show we came in behind Sarah Schobert’s team, and now she coached us at OSU,” Hope said. Their success in 2012 marked the end of their youth judging careers. The twins soon found themselves on the coaching side, Faith said. “Since Texas has a limit on the number of years you can judge, we ended
up going back to help our mom with our local judging program,” Faith said. In 2013, Hope and Faith helped their mother coach a team to a reserve world title at the AQHYA world show. In addition, one team member earned high individual honors at the contest. While wrapping up their youth judging careers, Hope and Faith became more involved in the cattle showing industry, competing at Simmental shows across the United States. “The cattle industry became an addition to the family,” Hope said. “After being focused on judging for so long, it was nice to have a change of pace while still being active in the industry.” Their success in the show ring and judging as well as their determination to find a top school in both academics and judging led them to OSU, Faith said. “I remember listening to Faith and Hope at various contests and being amazed by their talent in livestock and horse judging,” said Steven Cooper, OSU animal science associate professor and
Hope (left) and Faith Onstot began judging early and are now world champions. Photo by Sabrina Wilber. 58 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
horse judging coach. “Their judging abilities were extremely strong for their age.” Once the Onstot twins visited Stillwater, they knew this was the place they would call home for their college careers, Hope said. “I came to Stillwater and absolutely fell in love with the campus and faculty,” Faith said. “I knew that even if I didn’t end up on a judging team I would still receive a strong education.” The twins enrolled at OSU to compete on two animal science judging teams: horse and livestock, Cooper said. For that to occur, they competed on the horse team as sophomores. “Being on the OSU horse judging team has pushed me in so many different ways,” Faith said. “It taught me to focus on a goal and how to be a teammate. It is important to remember this is not just about myself, but the team’s success.” Judging is team-oriented, and although individual awards are presented, students represent their school at competitions, Hope said. Team members must not lose the respect and trust of their teammates, she added. “It was about the team and how I could help, whether it was just marking cards consistently or simply high-fiving the person with the high set for the day,” Hope said. Schobert, OSU’s assistant horse judging coach, said a great judging team is built with members who know how to build each other up and be each other’s support system. “Both Onstot girls do just that,” Schobert said. “They are able to be an example to their teammates in how hard you have to work and continue to strive to be better. They lead by example, but they can step in and give a good pep talk to a teammate when it is most needed.” The twins’ past success and dedication has made them competitive and determined when it comes to reaching their goals, Schobert said. Every person who grew up judging dreams about winning the AQHA World Show one day, but few are able to earn this title, she said. “A couple weeks before we left for the AQHA World Show, the team members were not right mentally and emotionally,” Schobert said. “Faith was able to pull them together and gave them a much-needed
pep talk to get it together and be positive in their attitudes.” Positive attitudes are essential for successful careers in judging as well as in life, Schobert said. The OSU horse judging team began at the Tulsa State Fair, winning performance, halter and reasons as a team. Faith was fourth overall as an individual, and Hope won high individual, with firsts in halter, performance and reasons. After Tulsa, the team competed at the Congress in Ohio. “This contest showed the team why consistency among teammates is so important,” Schobert said. “Although the team did not come home with a win, individually we saw success with Hope taking second in halter and fourth in reasons. “The let down at the Congress definitely reminded the team what they needed to work on,” Schobert said. In November 2015, the OSU team competed at the AQHA World Show in Oklahoma City, returning to Stillwater as world champions. “It has always been a goal of ours to earn the world champion title,” Faith said. “We had gotten close in the past, but this time it was finally real.” The team earned first in halter and reasons as well as second in performance to win the world title. Hope was high individual with second in performance, fifth in halter and third in reasons. Faith was sixth overall individual with second both in halter and reasons. “Hope and Faith were actually tied in the reasons room initially,” Cooper said. “They were only one point behind the first individual in reasons and with the tie-breaking class were two points apart.” Hope and Faith both said dedication to the judging program is an essential aspect to their success. They live by the quote, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” “That quote is written in our apartment and has been in every judging pad we have used, so we see it every day,” Faith said. “It is how we stay motivated in everything we do.” Callie
OSU wins 2015 AQHA World Champion Senior College Judging Contest: Steven Cooper, coach; Sarah Schobert, assistant coach; Laura Kerschen; Marissa Chapa; Hope Onstot; Kathryn Rodman; Faith Onstot; Laura Winfield; Kamry Martin; Jeron Rotert; and Clint Rusk, animal science department head. Photo by KC Montgomery.
Horse Judging Team Wins Seventh World Championship AQHA World Championship Show Overall – 1st High Team
Hope Onstot – 1st High Individual Faith Onstot – 6th High Individual Marissa Chapa – 7th High Individual
Halter – 1st High Team
Performance – 2nd High Team Hope Onstot – 2nd High Individual
Reasons – 1st High Team
Hope Onstot – 2nd High Individual Faith Onstot – 5th High Individual Laura Kerschen – 9th High Individual Marissa Chapa – 10th High Individual
Hope Onstot – 2nd High Individual Faith Onstot – 3rd High Individual Marissa Chapa – 7th High Individual Laura Kerschen – 8th High Individual
Tulsa State Fair
All-American Quarter Horse Congress
Overall – 1st High Team Halter – 1st High Team Performance – 1st High Team Reasons – 1st High Team
Overall – 4th High Team Halter – 3rd High Team Performance – 6th High Team Reasons – 3rd High Team COWBOY JOURNAL | 59
Dozens of vendors and customers gather each Saturday for the OSU-OKC Farmers Market: Renee Montgomery (above) offers fresh greenhouse produce; Matt Gilson (far left) sells locally made glutenfree products for Healthy Cravings Superfood Snacks; Bud and Lita Leatherwood (bottom left) have sold their Oklahoma-grown products from more than 20 years; and a customer browses through floral accents. Photos by Shannen McCroskey.
60 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
to the Local producers offer healthy food options to their communities ight shines on colorful fruits and vegetables, and the sweet aroma of fresh flowers and baked goods fills the late February air as customers and producers welcome another Saturday morning at the local farmers market. “Local food” is a trend sweeping the nation, said Hallie Williams, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Farmers Market manager. Today, people turn to sources other than the local grocery store to purchase their groceries, she said. Farmers markets are a prime example of local food vendors with fresh-fromthe-farm products available for purchase weekly, Williams said. Farmers markets appeal to a broad range of customers for many reasons, Williams said. Some customers have health issues, like diabetes or gluten intolerances, some want to know how their food is produced, and others want to support local businesses, she said. “Farmers markets are all about developing relationships between farmers and their customers,” Williams said. “Here, we have a duty to provide safe and healthy foods for the community and an opportunity to explain the processes taken in getting their food ready for consumption. Our vendors are proud of their products and stand behind what they are producing,” she said. Everything sold in the market is fresh and has been picked within the previous week, said Brandon Crow, owner of Crow Farms in Shawnee, Okla. “We are producing higher-quality, better-tasting foods,” said Diane Self, owner of Tall Girl Specialty Pasta in Edmond, Okla. “This is the place for health con-
and becoming a vendor at my local farmscious people to find products that meet ers market was the best decision I made to their needs.” get my foot in the door.” Consumers who are concerned about Fresh foods and vegetables are not what goes in their bodies and their health the only items found at farmers markets. should shop local and talk to producers, OSU-OKC’s farmers Williams said. market is home to “Where else can selling fresh you go purchase your WE QUIT OUR 9-TO-5 JOBS vendors milk, eggs, bread, dinner ingredients ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO TO meats, cheese, speand talk with the cialty flowers, quilts, producer?” Williams BECOME FARMERS. hand-woven baskets, said. “You get to know Bud Leatherwood soaps and lotions, and them personally, and Co-owner of Leatherwood Farms other unique items. after a while, it feels “It’s important like family here.” for the public to know Donna McLaughlin, Oklahoma City resident and employee the quality and variety of local items at their fingertips,” Williams said. of W Bar M Sheep and Wool in Yale, When people shop at farmers markets, Okla., said farmers markets serve commuthey pour back into their communities, nities because they allow citizens access to said Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre fresh foods grown in the area. Woods in Norman, Okla. “I have some personal health issues, “Farmers markets are a huge economand I love it when I meet customers with ic boost to the community,” Green said. similar problems,” McLaughlin said. “I “They give small businesses the opportucan share with them recipes and certain nities for pop-up shops without having to foods that have helped to relieve some of pay the large overhead of owning a store.” my symptoms.” Farmers markets give the young farmProducers enjoy talking to customers who are just starting a chance to coners and educating them about the health tinue their passion of farming and growing benefits of certain vegetables, said Lucy food, said Bud Leatherwood, co-owner of Harris, manager of W Bar M Sheep Leatherwood Farms in Yukon, Okla. & Wool. “We quit our 9-to-5 jobs about 15 Other customers attend farmers years ago to become farmers,” Leathermarkets because of the relationships they wood said. “We have been able to drop have developed with their producers and our stress levels, enjoy life, and work for because they know where their food is ourselves. We rely on the farmers market coming from, said Amy Gilson, owner of for our livelihood. We know what we are Healthy Cravings in Oklahoma City. “My products are organic, natural and producing, what our customers are consuming and that we are creating a better loaded with superfoods,” Gilson said. “I environment around us,” he said. am catering to a specific market of people, COWBOY JOURNAL | 61
Some Oklahoma farmers markets now accept U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits. OSU-OKC’s farmers market makes it as easy as walking in, swiping a SNAP benefit card, and collecting tokens. Customers can take those tokens to vendors and use them like cash. “By accepting SNAP benefits, we are insuring parents that their children are receiving the highest quality of nutrition available,” Williams said. “We also have a great opportunity to introduce kids to yummy fruits and vegetables they might not get the chance to try anywhere else.” According to research conducted by OSU’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center and by the USDA, the number of farmers markets nationally rose from 1,755 in 1994 to 8,144 in 2013. These numbers are especially evident in Oklahoma as the number of farmers markets rose from 17 in 2000 to 62 in 2014, and the numbers are growing continually, according to FAPC’s research. Producers who want to start selling some of their goods at a local farmers market have some rules and regulations to follow first. Local and state laws vary in each county and state, so they must check with
the local health department and county extension educators for the exact laws in their areas, Williams said. According to research conducted through FAPC, in general, Oklahoma vendors must obtain a sales tax permit, food-service operator certification, mobile food establishment/temporary food establishment/peddler’s license and organic certification if they advertise products as organic. Individual farmers markets may require additional permits to sell products, said Rodney Holcomb, FAPC agribusiness economist. “It’s important for potential vendors to plan ahead,” Green said. “Pay attention to your potential customers, know your business, know what you stand for, and work hard to maintain that.” Some farmers markets require their vendors to carry liability insurance on their farms. “Good intentions mean nothing if your customers get sick,” Holcomb said. Rules and regulations are in place to protect everyone involved, Williams said. “This is not a hobby — it’s a business,” Green said. “It may have started as something fun you do in your spare time, but once you start selling your products, you have to look at this as a business ven-
ture. You are feeding your customers, and they expect you to take that seriously.” Getting involved in a local farmers market is one of the best business decisions a producer can make, said George Christian, owner of Christian Cheese from Kingfisher, Okla. “This is the best place for me to share my passion with others,” said Lynette LaMascus, owner of Ms. Nettie’s Herbs, Teas and Spices in Norman, Okla. “It gives me something social to do in my retirement.” Farmers markets are community events, but the success and survival of the market is dependent on the community, customers and suppliers, Williams said. The entire production is a balancing act requiring everyone to do his or her part, resulting in an asset to the entire community, Williams said. For information about Oklahoma farmers markets, visit okgrown.com/markets. For a U.S. farmers markets list, see ams.usda.gov/ local-food-directories/farmersmarkets. Shannen
Right: Daphne Clara Cross, 17-month-old daughter of Oklahoma City residents Tucker and Tran Cross, enjoys a beautiful Saturday morning at the farmers market with her grandmother, Lisa Cross. Photos by Shannen McCroskey. 62 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
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Jeff Salleeâ€™s Phantom Professional 3 drone waits to take flight. Photo by Brittany Gilbert.
is the Limit OCES, 4-H prepare for future applications of drones 64 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
hile most Oklahoma 4-H members focus on livestock and leadership, their extension educators work to find ways to teach about new technology, as well. In 1902, Oklahoma 4-H began as a way to teach agriculture, including science, technology, engineering and math to youth through the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Jeff Sallee, Oklahoma State University 4-H youth development specialist in science, technology, engineering and math, has learned about using unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones, and now has plans to share that knowledge with OCES educators and eventually with 4-H members. Drones currently are used for recreation, such as flying and aerial photography, as well as commercial applications, including inspecting bridges, water towers and the outside of buildings, Sallee said. The Unmanned Systems Research Institute at OSU works with departments across OSU’s campus to help develop applications for the technology and teach faculty and staff how to put it to use, said Jamey Jacob, the John Hendrix Chair in aerospace engineering and USRI director. Sallee said he plans to conduct future trainings about drones to teach the state’s 4-H extension educators. These hands-on classes will allow the educators to gain skills to share with the 4-H members. Emerging technology, like UAS, is analyzed to see if a way exists to teach 4-H members about it, Sallee said. “I want to be able to teach the kids in a way that interests them,” said David Adams, Muskogee County extension
educator. “STEM is not about crazy operators in the future, Sallee said. Emexperiments. It is applied science technolployers would need a steady stream of ogy. I want the 4-H members I teach to interested people to fulfill potential jobs, be willing to learn the he said, and teaching new technology. aerial photography or “My goal is to get videography will spike MY GOAL IS TO GET THE the students interested 4-H members’ STUDENTS INTERESTED IN the in technology and interest to learn about science using handsTECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE drone technology. on learning, rather Drone techUSING HANDS-ON LEARNING. nology than reading about has become David Adams how it can be used,” popular because of Muskogee County Extension Educator Adams said. “I want its capability, Jacob to teach about the said. Drone operators drones’ power and can do things they limitations.” could not do five years ago, he said. The In today’s classrooms, students learn use of drones for agriculture is expanding, using virtual games, books and videos, including for determining crop health. Adams said. Through these teaching methOklahoma 4-H and the OSU Deods, youth may think science is boring, partment of Biosystems and Agricultural but when they finish a hands-on technolEngineering are applying drone technoloogy lesson, they tend to learn more and gy to their programs, Jacob said. enjoy it, he said. However, to teach 4-H’ers to use “To me, this opportunity is not just drones, FAA regulations will have to about the drones,” Adams said. “I want change, Sallee said. The current rules the kids to leave a workshop I have taught prevent the teaching of drones unless the with the desire to study math and science teacher and students have pilot’s licenses. with a new appreciation, realizing there Sallee said he anticipates the regulacould be a future career if they are willing tions will change soon but is uncertain to learn.” about how they will change. But when Teaching 4-H members about drones they do, Sallee will be ready to pass his will involve hands-on activities and educadrone knowledge to the state’s 4-H tion about the drone design. To meet Fedextension educators. eral Aviation Administration regulations, one has to know how the drone is operated and the materials used to make it. In Spring 2016, Sallee took a class Brittany in OSU’s aviation education department, GILBERT which was the program’s first class about Wetumka, Okla. UAS and how to fly them. A potential demand exists for drone COWBOY JOURNAL | 65
Jennifer Bryant and children in her village after the Sala Day Celebration in Dipali, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bryant. 66 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
MIAP student takes second trip to Africa
oving to Africa, trading in the comfort of central air conditioning, running water and family for months at a time, takes a special kind of person. Jennifer Bryant would know. She has done it twice. Bryant, a natural resource ecology and management graduate from OSU, grew up in Oklahoma City where she attended Putnam City High School. If someone had asked her as a college freshman where she would be in 15 years, her answer would not have been Africa, she said; however, a series of events led her to the continent, she said. Bryant’s first trip to Africa came when she served as a volunteer in Ghana in the Peace Corps from 2011 to 2013. Two years later, she returned to the continent working in the sustainability division of Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda from September to December 2015. However, neither experience would have happened if not for a statistics class, Bryant said. “I had my stat class in the forestry section of Ag Hall and saw these beautiful posters of trees and forests,” Bryant said. “I decided to take a forestry class and absolutely fell in love with it.” An animal science major at the time, Bryant switched her studies to focus on forestry with a minor in wildlife ecology, she said. Bryant’s interest for international work began while she was enrolled in an undergraduate course with NREM professor Thomas Kuzmic. The class studied abroad in Honduras. Bryant first traveled as a student and later served as a teaching assistant for the course, she said. “The Honduras trip got me interested in international agricultural practices,”
After the Peace Corps, Bryant Bryant said. “I saw firsthand how natural returned to OSU to pursue a Master of resources affect people worldwide.” Science in international agriculture with On Bryant’s first trip to Africa, she a specialty in food and water security. and her husband, Scott Robertson, served The program requires, at minimum, a as volunteers in the agricultural sector of four-week international the Peace Corps. During experience, said Pam Bay, their time in the Peace MIAP coordinator. Corps, the couple aided WATOTO IS RAISING Bryant’s Watoto expein establishing a garden, which supplemented four KIDS TO BE THE FUTURE rience was made possible through a fellowship fundprimary schools in NorthLEADERS OF UGANDA. ed by MIAP, the OSU ern Ghana, Bryant said. Humphrey’s endowment “When I served in Jennifer Bryant and The Samuel Roberts the Peace Corps, my Former Watoto Fellow Noble Foundation. The husband and I worked program sends students with a non-governmental like Bryant to Uganda organization trying to to help in Watoto’s agricultural division, produce fresh vegetables,” Bryant said. Bay said. “The ultimate goal was sustainability.” “I am proud of our MIAP students, Through the NGO, she and Robertson worked to improve the local Ghanaian their level of preparation, and their passion for helping the underprivileged through schools. The schools also had a hard time agricultural and educational developfinding teachers to come work for them ment,” said Shida Henneberry, Regents due to living conditions, she said, includprofessor and MIAP director. “I have ing no running water or electricity. People got an education so they would heard many positive comments from the not end up back in the same situation they members of the local communities about our MIAP/Noble Foundation interns’ started in, Bryant said. Because of this, agricultural projects and their measurable the organization improved housing and impact in Uganda.” provided stipends to get teachers in the Bryant was selected for the fellowship schools, she said. through a recommendation from Henne“The food program Scott and I berry and a follow-up interview with The worked with was a way to get the kids to Noble Foundation. school,” Bryant said. “The idea was that “The Watoto Fellowship is a competthe kids might come if they knew they would be fed and would be able to eat at itive process,” Bay said. “We’re proud of least once that day.” Jennifer and the work she’s done.” The Peace Corps, which was a twoThe first fellowship participant arrived year commitment, allowed time for Bryant in Uganda in summer 2013, but the to make connections with the local people, Noble Foundation has provided support learn from their culture and language, and for Watoto since 2011, said Steve Swigert, immerse herself in the experience while Bryant’s Watoto Fellowship supervisor. she was abroad, she said. “The part of Watoto that Jennifer COWBOY JOURNAL | 67
Top Left: Jennifer Bryant conducts a meeting of teachers, cooks and garden staff of the Child to School Project in Ghana. Top Right: Jennifer Bryant helps a baby at Watoto Child Care Ministries. Bottom Left: Jennifer Bryant and a woman wash carrots at the Lubbe farm. Bottom Right: Jennifer Bryant and the farm crew at the Lubbe farm. Photos courtesy of Jennifer Bryant.
worked for — the agricultural division — is responsible for producing food for a 3,000-child orphanage,” Swigert said. Bryant spent three months in Uganda working with sustainable agriculture for Watoto. While there, she kept a detailed blog on the Noble Foundation’s website, called “A Noble Journey,” about her time in Uganda. “Watoto is raising kids to be the future leaders of Uganda,” Bryant said. The biggest endeavor Bryant faced during her time at Watoto was the mango seedling project she spent the majority of her trip helping with, she said. “Watoto started the project as a way to make a profit,” Bryant said. “I helped 68 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
them set up a pest management system for the plants. “They’re not only producing food for their orphanages,” Bryant said. “They’re doing it to make income to support their programs. I learned a lot about how their agricultural projects make a difference.” While the trip provided many memorable experiences, Bryant said her favorite experience at Watoto was seeing the use of goat milk come full circle. “I got to go out to the goat farm with the farmers in the morning to collect the milk then bring it back home to the babies in the orphanage,” Bryant said. “It really showed me how important agriculture is for children globally.”
Today, Bryant works for the Chickasaw National Recreational Area as a park guide, but she said Africa is still on her mind. She said she hopes to return to work with farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. “Being away from your family is really tough,” Bryant said, “but seeing all the efforts a group has made result in success is worth it.”
1952 alumnus creates system to advance animal breeding
endelian genetics. For some, While visiting a fellow exchange this term may evoke memories student in May 1953 at WestHide Farms of Punnett squares in high near Hereford, England, Walton learned school biology or animal science genetics the dairyman who took care of the 20-cow courses. For Robert Walton, an Oklahoma Jersey herd to supply milk to the manor A&M College alumnus and retired genethad broken his hand. icist, the term reminds him of his “learn“A few days visit turned into a year ings” and his ultimate career path. and a half stay,” Walton said. Raised in Shattuck, Okla., and now Walton volunteered to stay and a resident of Deforest, Wis., Walton, 85, take care of the herd while the dairyman said his interest in animal genetics started healed, he said. at a young age with some big goals. “They found out I knew something “My dream was to about dairying and breed a herd of cattle that decided they would were homozygous for all the really like to exMY DREAM WAS TO BREED pand their dairy to good genes,” Walton said. In other words, he A HERD OF CATTLE THAT a truly commercial wanted to breed cattle to enterprise,” Walton WERE HOMOZYGOUS FOR said. “I told them I have all of the same desirable traits, he said. ALL THE GOOD GENES. would help, but we Even though Walton would need to build Robert Walton knew his dream was an iman elevated milking Oklahoma A&M Alumnus possible reality, it led him to parlor if we were to and Retired Geneticist Oklahoma A&M to pursue expand and develop a bachelor’s degree in dairy the herd.” science in 1948, he said. At the time, “In September 1949, I moved into Europe, including England, did not have the new dairy a couple miles northwest of any parlors of that type. However, Walcampus,” Walton said. “We students lived ton knew the system from working at the in the dormitory above the milking parlor, OSU dairy, he said. which was one of the first in the country Walton ultimately became general at that time.” manager of the 2,000-acre WestHide Walton was a prankster while at the Farms, expanded the dairy herd to dairy barn, said Curtis Richardson, a formore than 100 cows and bought a mer classmate of Walton’s who later served milk delivery route to market the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension the product. Service as a dairy specialist. Walton was In October 1954, Walton “smarter than most of us country boys at traveled back to the United States the barn,” Richardson said. to serve as a U.S. Army ROTC Upon finishing his undergraduate second lieutenant. degree in 1952, Walton participated as an “I got a free ride back to exchange student for one year at the Royal the U.S. by escorting a Agricultural College of Sweden. 4-year-old Here-
ford bull on a four-engine prop plane from England to the U.S. Quarantine Station in New Jersey,” Walton said. When Walton arrived to check in with the Army, he was told he would not have to do any active duty, he said. He then visited Stillwater and learned of a fellowship available to work on a master’s degree in animal breeding and genetics, which he accepted. Walton earned his master’s degree in 1956 and then chose to pursue his doctorate at Iowa State University. At ISU, he studied under Jay Lush, the man who Walton said “pioneered and developed animal breeding and genetic concepts the whole world now utilizes.” From 1958 to 1962, Walton taught animal breeding and genetics courses at the University of Kentucky. Walton also did extension work and coached the dairy judging team while at UK.
COWBOY JOURNAL | 69
In 1962, Walton joined American Breeder Service as the first professional geneticist in the industry and served as ABS president from 1968 to 1989. “I began to realize the cattle industry hadn’t made much progress in genetic advancements,” Walton said. Using an indexed mathematical formula to evaluate all the bulls in the industry, Walton developed and implemented a system he originally called Estimated Daughter Superiority. The U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted and renamed the system to Predicted Difference in 1965. “It is now used worldwide with faster computers, more traits, and more bells and whistles,” Walton said. Sara Place, OSU assistant professor of animal science, said Predicted Difference, or Predicted Transmitting Ability as known today in the dairy industry, indicates the chances a number of offspring will inherit a specific trait from the parent. Expected Progeny Differences are the PTAs’ equivalent in the beef industry, Place said. “By comparing individual animals on the basis of their offspring’s performance relative to a base population, or average,
a more appropriate comparison of the genetic merit of animals can be made,” Place said. Clint Rusk, OSU animal science department head, said when his dad first came home from learning to artificially inseminate cows in the 1960s, little was known about the genetic traits a bull might pass to his offspring. The only info they had about the bull was his picture, he said, because genetic information to help a producer predict herd traits was not available. “We might know the bull’s weaning weight or his yearling weight,” Rusk said. “We had a couple numbers, but we didn’t have the genetic information that would combine the record for all his progeny, his sire, his dam and related siblings.” While developing the Estimated Daughter Superiority system, Walton started the Million Dollar Progeny Testing program, which genetically tested hundreds of bulls every year. Because of Walton’s work, producers no longer have to rely on the physical appearance as the sole method of selecting a bull, Rusk said. Today, progress is much quicker in the industry and bull selection is not as
difficult, Rusk said. Search criteria make it easier to find what you are looking for. On breed association websites, one can search specific trait parameters to find a specific bull or list of bulls fitting a producer’s needs within the cowherd, he said. “It narrows down your search,” Rusk said. “You decide which traits are important to you.” Walton gives credit to many, as he said he took ideas from all over the industry to put into his working plan. “I was just the one to put it all together,” Walton said. Without Walton’s work as a geneticist, progress would have been much slower, Rusk said. “In theory, we should continue to be able to make genetic progress faster than 50 years ago,” Rusk said. Because of Walton’s work, one day the industry may be close to making his original dream of a homozygous herd a reality, Rusk said. Abbey
Rocky Ford, Colo.
Oklahoma A&M alumnus Robert Walton spent 27 years of his professional career at American Breeders Service, now ABS Global. Photo courtesy of Vern Meier. 70 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
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DIFFERENCE Gaylord Foundation gift advances equine care facilities
ickering foals greet visitors as they walk through the renovated facilities at the OSU Boren Veterinary Medical Hospital. The hospital recently renovated its facilities and updated technology through a $1 million donation from the Gaylord Foundation. Renovations included a specialized equine sports medicine department and expanded space for foals needing critical care. “The money was donated for an equine neonatal and intensive care ward several years ago,” said Dr. Mike Schoonover, large animal surgeon at the hospital. The original intent was to pair the Gaylord Foundation gift with an additional $2 million dollars in funding. However, an economic decline in the equine industry resulted in a refocused project. “With the changes in the economy, it was most beneficial to make renovations that improved efficiency, safety, patient care and student learning,” said Lyndi Gilliam, large animal surgeon at the hospital. Many original goals for the funds were accomplished, said Dr. Todd Holbrook, the hospital’s equine section chief. For example, in the critical care unit, six stalls were transformed into three larger stalls to better accommodate mares’ and foals’ treatment needs, he said. Gilliam said the new stalls will allow veterinarians to provide round-the-clock care for neonatal foals. “No other hospital in Oklahoma has the facilities and specialists to treat foals to this level of intensity,” she said.
The new facilities also allow for enhanced safety procedures, including an isolation room and outside entrance for equine with contagious illnesses or significant neurological conditions. The renovation also comes with technology upgrades. “The learning environment has been enriched with large screens that display ultrasound and endoscopy images so students can always be up close and involved with the cases,” Gilliam said. Dr. Daniel Burba, professor of equine surgery, said when he arrived in 2015 he was excited about the construction of the equine sports medicine suite. “The Gaylord Foundation donation
has been vital to our program,” he said, adding the suite provides needed space and up-to-date technology for diagnosing and treating the animals. “This suite will serve the hospital’s equine section for many years, not only for treatment of horses but also to train and educate veterinary students in the art of sports medicine,” he said. Sarah
Mike Schoonover (right) demonstrates an ultrasound to third-year surgery resident Darla Moser. Photo by Sarah Davis. COWBOY JOURNAL | 73
Scott (left), Austin, Dillon and Leroy Johnson operate their family farm near Afton, Okla. Photo by Aimee Shaner. Opposite Page Left: Leroy Johnson (right) and his wife, Connie Johnson, in 1966. Photo courtesy of Connie Johnson. Opposite Page Center: Scott Johnson displays his campaign sign for Agriculture Student Council president. Photo courtesy of Scott Johnson. Opposite Page Right: Austin and Dillon Johnson serve in a variety of leadership roles at OSU. Photo by Aimee Shaner.
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A FAMILY Three generations of Johnsons call CASNR home
hree generations. Seven family members. One family tradition. Dillon Johnson came to Oklahoma State University from Afton, Okla., with a long family history and multigenerational ties to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Dillon’s OSU-connected family includes his twin brother, Austin; his father, Scott; his uncle, Justin; his cousin, Amy; his great-uncle, Wayne; and his grandfather, Leroy. Dillon, who served as the 2015-16 president of the CASNR Student Council and was elected as the 2016-17 OSU Student Government Association president, is earning bachelor’s degrees in plant and soil sciences and in agribusiness. He said he was exposed to OSU growing up, hearing stories from his dad and grandpa, going to athletic events, and visiting campus for FFA activities. “OSU has completely changed my life,” Dillon said. “It has given me a place to find my passions and given me a place to call home.”
At OSU, Dillon followed his dad in a unique way: by serving as president of CASNR Student Council. “My favorite part of serving was interacting with the people in the college,” Dillon said. “I met so many different people. I found mentors who have become friends and friends who have become family.” The 21-year-old said his role as president has improved his communication and public-speaking skills. He said he values the opportunity to network with other students, faculty, staff and administration. Dillon said he plans to go back to his family’s farm following his graduation in May 2017. “Oklahoma State has allowed me to be a part of something much greater than myself,” Dillon said. Austin, an OSU junior majoring in finance, said he grew up wanting to attend OSU, although he considered other colleges during high school. “When I went on an OSU campus tour and saw it from the eyes of a student, OSU was completely different,” Austin
said. “I fell in love again and decided to come here, and I haven’t regretted it.” The twins have a close relationship, so Austin knowing Dillon chose OSU influenced Austin’s decision, he said, although his choice did come down to where he felt most at home and comfortable. Austin said he remembers his dad taking the twins to campus and telling them about things he did while at OSU. “I don’t think our decisions would have been the same without seeing the long-term impacts OSU had on my dad and grandpa,” Austin said. “It’s kind of a long-standing tradition now.” Like Dillon, Scott followed in his father’s footsteps, not only attending OSU, but also earning a degree in agronomy, which is now called plant and soil sciences. Scott grew up farming with his dad in Afton. While in high school, Scott competed on an FFA crops judging team and competed at the state contest each year at OSU, he said. “My dad and my uncle Wayne had gone to OSU,” Scott said, “but I had been
COWBOY JOURNAL | 75
Scott said he did not even look at exposed to OSU all through high school. other schools and is still involved with The chance to judge on the crops judging OSU through the Oklahoma Cooperative team sealed it.” Extension Service. The OSU crops judging team coach “The technical edurecruited Scott and ofcation I gained at OSU fered him a scholarship to was very valuable,” Scott judge on the intercolleI JUST FELT I WAS said. “Being involved in giate crops judging team. “My favorite profes- WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED the Agriculture Student Council was good for sor was Kevin Donnelly,” TO BE ALL ALONG. me for leadership and to Scott said. “He was my Dillon Johnson make me more outgoing. crops judging coach and SGA President “I remember all adviser. He was just so the friendships I made,” excited about agronomy Scott said. “It was always it was hard not to pick up neat being involved with all the different on his enthusiasm. colleges on campus while being president “I learned a lot, and school was fun,” of the Agriculture Student Council.” Scott said. “My education taught me a lot Leroy, Dillon’s grandfather, was the and serves me well. I still use my educafirst Johnson generation to venture to tion today as a farmer.” OSU. Now 72, he was the first in his Upon graduating with his bachelor’s family to earn a bachelor’s degree. degree, Scott stayed at OSU an additional “I got a lot of good out of my educayear to get a bachelor’s degree in animal tion for what we do,” Leroy said. science, as well. Leroy grew up on the family’s farm in Scott said he always intended on beAfton, which his parents started in 1940. ing a farmer, but his time at OSU exposed He said he wanted to continue to farm him to many different things. there following graduation in 1966. “The friendships and connections I Leroy attended OSU because it was made were really important,” Scott said.
the main Oklahoma college for agriculture, he said. He said he liked classes he knew he would use back on the farm. Leroy said his advisor, JQ Linn, had the most impact on him. “I probably got more value strictly out of my education, more of the hands-on part,” Leroy said. “I really got a lot of use out of what I went there for.” Leroy said the Johnson tradition of attending OSU gives the family a middle ground and something to talk about. “It’s kind of like a family tradition,” Leroy said. “We are a close family anyway, but now more things revolve around the OSU Cowboys.” The Johnson family has been influenced by its time at OSU. The tradition of attending OSU “has just worked” for the Johnsons, Scott said. “I just felt I was where I was supposed to be all along,” Dillon said. Aimee
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FIRINGthe UP OK-FIRE helps fire professionals conduct prescribed burns and control wildfires s you drive down the highway, you see a billow of smoke rising from a nearby field. Is it controlled? Are the landowners aware of the fire? Because of the OK-FIRE system, fewer people have to worry about grass fire dangers. To benefit Oklahoma property owners, the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and partners have developed a program to assess current and future fire dangers around the state. J.D. Carlson, a meteorologist and associate researcher in OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, has worked with Oklahoma Mesonet in Norman, Okla., to create a comprehensive tool called OK-FIRE to provide fire specialists with information about fire and weather conditions. “OK-FIRE includes a suite of products for fire weather, fire danger and smoke dispersion as well as a dedicated OK-FIRE wildland fire management website to deliver the products,” Carlson said. In 2005, OSU received a federal grant of $320,000 to develop a wildland fire management system for Oklahoma using the Oklahoma Mesonet. “One of our main goals was to design a one-stop shop for fire control,” he said. In August 2012, the OK-FIRE website recorded more than 18,000 unique visitors and more than 56,000 visits, Carlson said. To have maximum accessibility, OKFIRE will be integrated into the Oklahoma Mesonet website in 2016. This will allow more devices to access certain features of the aging site, such as animated maps that rely on a browser plug-in not supported by tablets, smart 78 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
phones and some desktop computers, dispersion also are products of OK-FIRE’s Carlson said. forecasting capabilities. “OK-FIRE has existed for almost “We have the ability to use satellite 10 years,” Carlson said. “As many people imaging to show smoke and its drift,” move away from desktop computers as Carlson said. “For prescribed burning, their primary source for information, you can input the conditions of your area the [updated site] should allow for easier and the site will show you wind speed and access of important information.” direction in regard to sensitive areas to smoke, such as neigh Seth Coffey, a fire borhoods and schools.” ecology graduate student, is a mobile user One of the most freONE OF OUR MAIN GOALS quently used OK-FIRE of the site when planning and performing is its fire preWAS TO DESIGN A ONE-STOP products prescribed burns. scription planner. This SHOP FOR FIRE CONTROL. allows fire managers to “I have the Web input values for weather link saved to my J.D. Carlson and fire variables. phone and use it Associate Researcher often,” Coffey said. “This product is for “Knowing the new individuals performing site will work better prescribed burns in their on multiple mobile devices will keep me as area who want to know optimal times to an avid user.” do so,” Carlson said. The Oklahoma Mesonet includes 120 Since the debut of OK-FIRE in automated weather stations placed across 2006, Carlson has traveled across the state the state with at least one in each county, teaching firefighters, crisis managers and Carlson said. private landowners to use OK-FIRE and other Mesonet products. More than 1,000 OK-FIRE uses the information managers have been trained. gathered from the Oklahoma Mesonet and a numerical weather forecast model. “There are few, if any, prescribed It combines the information to produce burns we conduct before logging into past, current and forecast products for fire OK-FIRE,” said Bob Hamilton, preserve weather, fire danger and smoke dispersion. director at The Nature Conservancy. Products are available in map, chart and “There’s no other tool like it as far as table formats for individual Mesonet sites. checking conditions and planning for a burn.” “Our fire danger forecasts are based on the National Fire Danger Rating System of the U.S. Forest Service and Trent utilize a wide range of data, including air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed CLEARY and direction, as well as weekly satellite Lindsay, Okla. imagery,” Carlson said. Smoke detection, prediction and
Elizabeth Corbishly conducts a prescribed burn south of Stillwater, Okla. Photo by Trent Cleary.
COWBOY JOURNAL | 79
Jeremy Bennett Jeremy Bennett grew up in Yukon, Okla. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 2011 and a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 2013. While at OSU, Bennett received many awards for his work. He traveled abroad as a student and served as a Goodwill Ambassador in Ethiopia for three months. Bennett is a field representative and agricultural liaison for Rep. Frank Lucas. He resides in Stillwater with his wife, Blaire, also a CASNR graduate.
Charles Rohla Charles Rohla, a native of Chester, Okla., earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science, master’s degree in agricultural education, and doctorate in crop science from OSU. Rohla is the manager of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Center for Pecan and Specialty Agriculture Development and Technology Advancement. He resides in Roff, Okla. with his wife, Andrea Bryant, a CASNR alumna, and their 2-year-old son, Clayton. 80 | SUMMER/FALL 2016
Raylon Earls Raylon Earls resides in his hometown of Guymon, Okla. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1987 and a master’s degree in 1989 in agricultural economics from OSU. Earls owns Advantage Buildings LLC and farms a variety of crops as well as has a cow-calf operation. He serves on the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program Advisory Council and is an associate in the College of Education. Earls also serves as the president of the Oklahoma Corn Growers Association.
Kirby Smith Kirby Smith, a native of Elk City, Okla., resides in Oklahoma City. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008 and a master’s degree in 2011 in agricultural communications from OSU. After graduating from OSU, Smith worked as a public information officer at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Following her time there, she joined Rep. Frank Lucas’ staff as a field representative.
Haley Nabors Haley (Baumgardener) Nabors graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and marketing in 2012. Nabors was active in many clubs during her time at OSU and received numerous honors. She also served as a teaching assistant. After graduation, she went to work for Dow AgroSciences. Nabors works as a field specialist for Dow. She is a native of Enid, Okla., and resides there with her husband, Tyler, who is also a CASNR alumnus.
Paige Wallace Paige Wallace grew up on her family’s cow-calf operation in southwest Missouri, raising Angus and Simmental cattle. After completing an associate’s degree at Butler Community College, Wallace earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from OSU in May 2014. Wallace serves as a co-host of the Angus Report on RFD-TV and is an event coordinator for OSU’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence and the University Club.
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he CASNR Alumni, a nonprofit organization, promotes academic excellence in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources by providing support for the college, building scholarship programs and promoting CASNR activities. A 12-member board of directors elected from active members of the organization directs the group’s activities. The board includes two representatives from each of the four districts throughout Oklahoma as well as four members elected at large. Throughout the year, the CASNR Alumni Board of Directors coordinates and is involved with several events, including CASNR Roundup, CASNR Alumni Annual Meeting and Reception at Homecoming, and the DASNR Access Tour. The organization also supports the recognition of the CASNR Early Career Achievement Award and the CASNR Seniors of Distinction as well as several student scholarships.
For more information, visit casnr.okstate.edu/alumni. COWBOY JOURNAL | 81
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Cowboy Journal Volume 18, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2016, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University
Published on Jun 28, 2016
Cowboy Journal Volume 18, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2016, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University