Page 1




Number l •

prin 2006



Number I •

Spring 2006

From the editors

Cowboy Journal Staff - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Michelle Clogston (back left), Randall Heldermon, Matt Kelly, Darrell Hansen, Jared Wiley, Gretchen Adams, Sarah Price middle), Marcus Ashlock, Cara Brooke Adams, Kelli Armbruster, Amber HarrellSimmons, Lindsey Childress, Kelly Sitter (front), Everett Brazil, Kasey Witherspoon and Alicia Evicks


Sponsorship Coordinators

Gretchen Adams Alicia Evicks

Lindsey Childress Matt Kelly

Circulation Coordinator

Photo Coordinator

Everett Brazil

Randall Heldermon

Graphics Coordinators Cara Brooke Adams M ichelle Clogston

Staff Kelli Armbruster • Marcus Ashlock • Darrell Hansen • Amber Harrell-Simmons Sarah Price• Kelly Sitter • Jared Wiley • Kasey Witherspoon

Managing Editor Shelly Peper Sitton

Assistant Managing Editors Dwayne Cartmell • Cindy Blackwell • Julie Foch t

Founding Sponsors Limousin World• Oklahoma Farm Bureau • Quebecor Wo rld

"What a crazy trip it has been." College has been a place to grow and begin to develop into the people we want to be in life. There have been struggles and challenges along the way, but all of the accomplishments and triumphs make it wothwhile! We have made lifelong friends and conneccions who are priceless. We dedicate this issue of Cowboy }oumal ro our families, friends, faculty and staff who have watched us grow inro the professionals we are today. A special thanks goes out ro the following individuals who dedicated their time and efforts in making this publication possible: Matt Wright, Carl Hamby, Todd Johnson, Dustin Mielke, Ayschia Saiymeh, Alan VanDeven te r, Chris Burgamy, Elizabeth Whitfield, Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop and Bonnie Milby. Assistant managing editors - During the past few years you have become a second family to us. We appreciate all of the time and effort you spend in making each Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and 4-H Youth Development student feel like more than just a number. It is reassuring to know that your door~ ;ire always open to students and alum1;r Managing editor - Shelly, witl-ic?~ut you there would be no Cowboy }ounJ/fl· It is because of all your hard work and dedication that we, as students, stri~~i for the best. You teach us not o~lyj job skills, but also life skills. There ar~: no words to describe how much we appreciate you and your dedication to students. Scaff- We appreciate all of the hard work and time you have contributed to chis edition of the Cowboy journal. Cowboys to the end, Gretchen Adams and Alicia Evicks

Visit the Cowboy Journal Web site· Oklahoma Seate University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Tirle IX of che Educational Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and ocher federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or srams as a veteran in and of its pol itics, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employmenc, financial aid and educational services. ·n1is publication is printed and issued two times a year by agricultural communications seniors in che College of Agricultu ral Sciences and Natural Resources and has been prepared and disuibuced at no cost co the taxpayers of OkJahoma.

4 Cowboy Journal


Feature stories

Oklahoma or bust Out-of-state and international students choose to attend OSU

Agritourism brings reality home

From the Tuscan sun to Oklahoma's red dirt

OSU participates in O klahoma's newest reality路 agritourism

FAPC helps Oklahoma's wine industry

In the magazine

New OSU swine center offers a "breath of fresh air" Swine facility has new state-of-the-art waste management system

A Cowboy, a soldier, a writer OSU alumnus writes a book about his experiences in Iraq

Mitchell shares timeless values Mitchell shares his experiences of helping students and Stillwater

Teaching for excellence CASNR professor receives national USDA teaching award



destinationSuccess 7 CASNR's source for student development

New turf's "roots" run to CASNR 32 CASNR alumnus Dan Almond designs new football field

CASNR Cowboys creating excellence 12 CASNR students participate in homecoming Gear up for student success with the essentials, extras 14 All the gadgets you need to survive college From internship to dream job 16 Steps for students to get an internship We've got a job for you! 18 Demand for agriculture teachers is on the rise

Monitoring the weather The Oklahoma Mesonet monitors the weather

OStJ Collci;to of I\Ktk:ulluml SClcn<:Clil ;uwJ Nmurul fWS<'ltJA..'CS


Let's take a ride! 34 N ew therapeutic riding center brings benefits to its participants

Research Developing a renewable future for Oklahoma 41 Oklahoma finds advantage in renewable energy

On the cover ... - - - - -



Operation 4-H 24 4-H expands to military bases nationwide

Cowboy Bullets 47 Ag Alumni Association 49

From wineries to historic landmarks, Oklahoma offers a variety ofattractions for residents and tourists to explore. (photo by Michelle Clogston) Spring 2006 5

CASN~ destinationSuccess by Michelle Clogston, Afton, Okla.

Even the most organized and prepared student can feel overwhelmed. Pressure to be more involved, to make good grades or to find the perfect internship are common sources of student stress. Now, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has a new way to help students reach their destinationSuccess. To meet students' needs, CASNR will open the Student Success Center in Spring 2006. The center, whose slogan is destinationSuccess, provides recruitment, student development and career development services. Located in Agricultural Hall's renovated lobby, the center is available to all CASNR students. "The Student Success Center is a place for all stages of development," said Amy Gazaway, CASNR career development coordinator. "It provides a physical space for the college's philosophy of integrating academics and development with career services and student services." Construction and remodeling for the center cost about $65 per square foot, said Ed Miller, CASNR associate dean. At 2,050 square feet, the center's total cost was close to $200,000 after purchasing furniture and computers, Miller said.

Amy Gazaway (left), Jamie Norrid and Allison Hayes prepare for the opening ofthe Student Success Center. (photo by Michelle Clogston)

The Student Success Center replaced ooms 103 and 105 (known to many as e "rea ing room") in Agricultural Hall. Before the opening of the center, ASNR student services offices were oused 路 n many different spaces on the first floo r of Agricultural Hall. Only one coordinator, specializing in career development, was available to offer guidance and assistan<ce on student development and career p anning. A student development coordinator and a recruitment coordinator were hired n November 2005 to provide additiona ssistancre to students.

ediately center's glass front, pros , ective stu ents and their families ca visit with Robyn ites, ~rospective tudent co rdinator, ho provides in ormation admission, cholars ips d degree prions. Co puter work rations are available, allowing potential tudents to browse the nternet for info mation about the univerity and the Sri water community. Mary Ann Harris, student develThe financing en mu:dinamr- direct pmgra.).,1,1,0.___ _.Lu..._.__:.ASNR..srude.nt relevant to students' personal growth and the center through student fees; however, leadership development Focusing on student fees did not increase to help pay retention, leadership development and for the success center, said Miller. academic success, Harris helps students Since students contribute financially define and plan for their life goals by to the success center, it is important for providing connections to various learning them to get their money's worth, said Aland involvement opportunities. lison Hayes, agricultural leadership senior "Th ese opportunities may include and CASNR Career Liasion. activities on campus, in the Stillwater "Students need to take the first step community or even around the world," and come to the center," said Hayes. "Like said Gazaway. the computer labs [in Agricultural H all The Student Success Center also proand Animal Science], students are already vides career development services. paying for it; they might as well get good As a part of the campuswide OSU use out of it." Career Services unit, Gazaway helps stuMiller agrees student fees do make a dents with the transition from college to difference in student development services. the workplace. "All students pay fees," said M iller. "I try to provide resources to help "They need to make sure those fees come students get off on the right foot, " back to help them. The fees they pay do said Gazaway. result in better services." Gazaway said she hopes the high Sponsorships are another imporvisibility of the center will help students rant source of financing for the center.

Spring 2006 7

"I am excited because we can help more students more effectively," said Miller. Regular hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. Additional ou treach activities may be coord inated during evening and weekend hours.


Student Success Center Resources • • 7he CASNR student success center offers a multimedia conference room to provide space for student organizations, like the Ag Ambassadors, to discuss business. (photo by Michelle Clogston)

Sponsors can become annual or lifetime sponsors. Those businesses, organizations or individuals who contribute to the success center are recognized on the CASNR Web site and are showcased in the entrance of the center. "Private contributions are increasingly important as tuition and fees go up because students bear a lot of the burden," said Miller.

Shawnee Milling of Shawnee, Okla., was the center's first sponsor. Its commitment to help OSU students is realized each time a student uses resources at the success center, said Miller. Organizing CASNR Student Services into a central, visible location makes it easier for students to find services they need and helps the student services coordinators better organize resources for student use.

Working through the daily crossword puzzle doesn't have to stop being your favorite pastime.

• • • •

Student career resource library M ultimedia conference room Career and stud ent services coordinators' offices Computers for recruitment, career and student development Rooms for interviews M ulti-purpose rooms W elcom e area

For more info rmation on Student Success Center activities, orfor more information on becoming a sponsor, call (405) 744-5395. To learn more about CASNR Career Services resources visit http://www.casnr com.


Stay connected by receiving The Daily O 'Collegian through e-mail! Visit and sign up so you don't miss out.

The Daily O'Collegian (405) 744-8373 8 Cowboy Journal



OKLAHO by Darrell Hansen, Wilton, Calif

Many consider Oklahoma the crossroads ofAmerica, and for a large number of out-of-state and international agricultural students, that statement is true. In-state students make up 77 percent of Oklahoma State University's 200506 freshman class, while 22 percent are out-of-state students and 1 percent are international students. The number of Oklahoma freshmen admitted to OSU this year increased by 2 percent, while the number of freshmen entering from out-of-state has increased 11 percent, with all 50 states being represented, said OSU President David Schmidly. Both undergraduate and graduate students help increase the diversity of the OSU student body. "While I was doing my undergraduate work here, I really enjoyed the meat science classes and wanted to see what the graduate program had to offer," said Megan McMichael, a meat science graduate student from Scottsburg, Ind. McMichael earned her Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from OSU in 2004. "It just seemed like a good fit for me," said McMichael. Julia Burnett, from H ealdsburg, CaliÂŁ, received her Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural econom ics from OSU in 2000 and is now in the agricultural education graduate program. "I did my undergrad here and then went to work for a few years," said Burnett. "When I made the decision to return to school for my master's degree, OSU was a natural choice. In addition to the reputation of the program, I already knew the area and the professors. It just felt right continuing my education at OSU" Compared to larger cities, students enjoy the small-town atmosphere of Stillwater and the surrounding area. "When I visited OSU, I just loved the campus and the small-town feel it had," said Jessica Jeffrey, an agricultural


economics senior from Bells, Texas. "It's just so beautiful on campus." The ciry and the people are two reasons students choose to attend OSU, but the universiry also has a reputation for high academic standards and qualifications. "Several of our programs are considered among the strongest in the nation," said Linda Martin, College ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources assistant dean for academic programs. "The faculry is committed to the academic and professional growth of our students." Another draw for students is the opportuniry to represent OSU nationally. Jeana Sankey, from Council Grove, Kan., is a senior seeking her bachelor's degree in agricultural communications. "The livestock judging team and agricultural communications program were much more appealing for me than at any school in Kansas," said Sankey. "Being on the judging team is something I have always wanted to do, and OSU has one of the best," said Sankey. "It was a great opportuniry for me to come here and be able to do that and also be involved in one of the best ag communications programs in the country." However, a price comes with being an out-of-state student at OSU The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be high. With the cost of each

credit hour being more than $100 for instate students and nearly $400 for out-ofstate students, the decision to attend OSU can be a tough one. A rypical schedule of 15 hours per semester can cost an out-ofstate student as much as $6,000 "For me, it is completely worth it to pay the extra money," said Sankey. "The reputation a degree from OSU brings will make up for it in the long run." Compared to some colleges in other states, OSU still has affordable tuition. ''At the time I was doing my undergrad work, it was actually cheaper to go to school here than it was at some of the schools in California," said Burnett. "Tuition has gone up since then, but it is still a great deal for the qualiry of education you get here." OSU has many ways to help students waive their out-of-state tuition. Entering the universiry with a high grade point average and maintaining it, participating in one of the many competitive teams OSU has to offer or applying for a scholarship are a few ways you can cut down some of the costs. Another is if a family member is an alumnus or alumna. "I don't have to pay out-of-state tuition," said Jeffrey. "My grandfather went to school here, so I got a waiver to cover the out-of-state fees."

ID ::::s

.... "'

Jeana Sankey of Council Grove, Kan., will have a world ofopportunity after graduation. (photos by Darrell Hansen)

Family tradition is strong among all universities, and OSU is no exception. Many students choose to attend OSU based on one or more of their family members being alumni. "My grandfather, along with five cousins and one sister all went here," said

Jeffrey. "So, it is kind of a family tradition for me." For some international students, prestige and academic standards are the reason they attend OSU, not family tradition. Nearly 1,800 international students attend OSU, representing 114 countries, with India and Japan sending the most students to OSU Koichiro Ito, a plant and soil science senior from Yokkiachi, Japan, had no hesitation in choosing OSU "There were two big reasons I came to OSU," said Ito. "OSU is famous for its agriculture, and that is what I wanted to learn about. Plus, it is cheaper than any other university that I looked at." Some international students are able to attend college in their home country but choose to come to the United States for their education. "I had the opportunity to go to college in Japan, but I wanted to learn English and soil irrigation so I decided to come to OSU," said Ito. For many our-of-state and international students, staying in Oklahoma after graduation will depend mostly on finding a job and making money. For some of the academic departments, available jobs allow the students to stay in Oklahoma. For others, it might not be that easy. "I really have no idea ifI am going to

stay here or not," said Jeffrey. "Right now I am looking into going back to Texas for grad school or maybe even law school." OSU and CASNR have many sources available to students to help them find jobs after graduation. "The ag communications department does a great job of letting us know about jobs that are out there," said Sankey. "It all depends on who is going to offer me the most money. I already moved away from home once, so doing it again wouldn't be that hard." Money, or the lack of money, can be the driving factor for many students who are contemplating their futures. "If I can, I want to attend graduate school in the United States, but I need to go back to Japan and save some money first so I can return," said Ito. Some students have fallen in love with the area and have no plans ofleaving anytime soon. "I have been here almost eight years and have spent a large part of my adult life here," said Burnett. "At this point in my life, I can't really imagine living anywhere else. For me, living in Oklahoma is like coming home." Choosing a college is a crossroad in everyone's life. For students following the road to OSU, their choice made perfect sense.



=>-~~._iv~in~~~~ ~~~a~~ Discover The Best Of Life n St i lwater With Us!

Soil and Water ConseNation Society OSU Chapter



Join SWCS to uphold and pursue the conservation of land, water and related resources. For more information send a message to:

.. Championship Rodeo ss â&#x20AC;˘ Wildlife Expos

Nature Welcomes You to the Four Seasons

www (405) 880-4267 Spring 2006 11

C4SNR Cowboys

creating excellence


(photo by Dustin Mielke)

Students in the Oklahoma State University College ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources donate innumerable hours in various homecoming activities that range ftom pomping house decs and painting Hester Street to building floats for the parade and creating games for the Harvest Carnival. Most ofall, CASNR students, along with CASNR alumni, always cheer for their Cowboys. Five-year-old Nathan Waldrop (top) "pumpkin bowls" at the Harvest Carnival as Leslie Smith looks on. Merl Miller (bottom right), 1958 OSU animal science alumnus, drives the tractor he rebuilt, leading the Payne County 4-H'ers in the "Sea of Orange" Homecoming Parade. Whitney Highsmith (bottom left) shows her Cowboy spirit while painting Hester Street. (photo by Shelly Sitton) (photo by Alicia Evicks)

(photo by Todd Johnson) (photo by Sarah Price)

(photo by Shelly Sitton)

(photo by Ayschia Saiymeh)

(photo by Jared W iley)

(photo by Gretchen Adams)

(photo by Shelly Sitton) (photo by Shelly Sitton)

Jake Jones (top left) works to finish the Farm House and Alpha Delta Pi homecoming house dee. Alumnus Sean Kouplen and his wife Angela (top right) and Wes and Lou Watkins (bottom left) ride in the "Sea ofOrange" Homecoming Parade. Mike Albert and Ashley Boggs (bottom right) love to support their Cowboys.

Homecoming 2005 Spring 2006 13

Gear up for student success with by Gretchen Adams, McKinney, Texas

So, you have made it to the next level in your educational journey. As in every journey, you will need the right gear to make it easy and successful. To be successful in elementary school, you were given a list of supplies. In college, your professors tell you what textbooks to buy, but purchasing those textbooks does not guarantee your success in the class (it would probably help, however) You will need some other items to enable you to achieve your goals as an Oklahoma State University student. Now, let's be honest. Everything you bought for school was not a necessity do you seriously need that scooter or flatscreen TV? That's what I thought. Let's break this survival list (compiled by asking OSU College ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students) into two sections: essentials路and extras. The 2005 Alloy College Explorer Study determined 16 percent of all college students regard "themselves an early adopter of electronic devices and gadgets." "Electronics keep students on the cutting edge," said Andi Canseco, an animal science senior. "Students always have the upper hand when they have technology at their fingertips."

The essentials To ensure your success at OSU, it is important to have the following items. Alarm clock - you don't want to be late to a test or oversleep and miss class. ''Alarm clocks are essential for college students," said Justin McConaghy, a senior agricultural economics and agricultural education double major. "The key to passing a class is going to the class every day." Computer/laptop - helps a lot with class work. The average student will type multiple papers and gather research information on the Internet. Professors post homework and class notes on the Web. Connectivity is important to many students, and many colleges across the United States, including OSU, offer wireless Internet hot spots on campus. Instant messenger and e-mail allow students to 14 Cowboy Journal

be connected at all times. Web logs, social networks and personal Web sites allow students to keep track of their friends. "Computers help by having resources on the Internet right there," said Brody Buzzard, a biosystems and agricultural engineering senior. "You don't have to go to the library to look stuff up." Calculator - this tool will be helpful in math, science and engineering classes. "We've become so dependent on calculators to speed things up," said Pam Turner, a plant and soil sciences senior. "You should be able to do [problems) in your head and by hand, but just to speed the process up, a calculator is most important." Cell phone - listed the Sidekick II as the new cell phone students have in their possession. Cell phones connect students to each other and to the Internet, and they can serve multiple purposes such as an alarm clock, watch and calendar. The Alloy study found 85 percent of college students own a cell phone. "Three-quarters send and receive text messages, and nearly two-thirds play games," according to the Alloy study "Sixty percent can access the Internet through their phone, and 36 percent can take, send and receive pictures." jump or Flash Drive - a plug-andplay portable storage device using flash memory. Many times you see these devices attached to key chains. A jump drive replaces floppy disks, Zip drive disks and compact discs. "Flash drives are quickly becoming very helpful tools," said McConaghy "I find them extremely useful for things like group projects where you may need a lot of rewritable storage chat you can carry with you to computer labs and then back home." Mortar Board calendar - you will need a calendar to keep track of all your assignments, tests and events. Any calendar will work, but the Mortar Board is more than just a calendar. le gives vital information like club and organizational

meetings, blood drives, school holidays, ticket purchase dates, athletic events and intramural sporting events. "My Mortar Board is my lifeline to Oklahoma State University," said Canseco. "le has all my tests, events and assignments. Everything!" Backpack/book bag- you will need to carry around the textbooks your professors suggest you purchase and other supplies like notebooks, paper, calculator and writing utensils. Backpacks are improving along with technology by creating pockets for cell phones and MP3 players. Many bags have protected areas for laptops and are even improving ergonomically (designing of items to be used most efficiencly and safely by humans) while following the latest fashion trends. Orange T-shirt - show your Orange Pride and support for your Cowboys and Cowgirls at least every Friday.

The extras These items wo uld aid in your education or make things easier but are not necessary. iPod!MP3 player - a small portable device that can store up to 20,000 songs. The iPod also can record and store class lectures, as well as store photographs. "It's an easy way to keep my music with me at all times," said Canseco. "Music keeps me relaxed and, in turn, allows me to focus on my class work." Palm Pilot- a digital calendar allows you to set alarms for reminders and has Internet capabilities. "Sometimes I will forget to check just a regular calendar," said Turner. Digital camera - a few classes will require the use of photographs in presentations and other assignments. "It keeps you connected with your friends," said Canseco. "le holds lasting memories. Many classes are now requiring you to cake your own photos for class projects." All-in-one printer - a printer, copier, scanner and fax machine. ''All-in-one printers are becoming

the essentials, extras more economical," said McConaghy "If you need both a scanner and printer, the all-in-one printer would be the way to go." With the use of technology in the classroom, a lot of money is spent on electronics to aid in the success of the student. The total cost of back-to-school purchases was $34.4 billion with $8.2 billion spent on electronics and $ 11 9 billion spent on textbooks, according to the 2005 Backto-College Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. The NRF discovered that college freshmen spend $1, 151 each on electronics. New trends for multifunction devices are gaining speed in the college age group. Apple has created a device to convert the iPod into a voice recorder, the iTalk, and an iH5, the iPod alarm clock. Writing tablets are becoming more popular with the plug-and-play connection Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard computers offer. The user writes what needs to be typed instead of typing it or uses the tablet like a touch screen. Many cell phone companies have phones chat are digital cameras, digital video cameras and voice recorders. Cell phones have Internet capabilities, as well as instant messaging. A survey preformed by M.Metrics in 2005 found "42 percent of employed college students are more likely to use mobile e-mail" than the average user. College students use mobile e-mail 23 percent more than full-time workers. Times change and in the world of electronic tools, they change fast. "By the time we have graduated, our co mputers we bought four years earlier will be out of date," said Canseco. "Technology is always changing." Most parents used sliderules when they were in school, and students today use graphing calculators. What will your children use?

Pistol Pete enjoys his gadgets while studying for class or relaxing in his room. (photo by Gretchen Adams)


Spring 2006 15

From internship to dream job by Randall Helderman, Hinton, Okla.

You wake up before the alarm clock rings. Too nervous to eat breakfast, you fix your hair, brush your teeth and put on your new business suit. As you check your appearance in the mirror one last time, you say to yourself, "This is it." And so begins your first day at the internship that could influence your life in ways you never expected. Depending on their major, students in the Oklahoma State Universiry College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources are either required or encouraged to complete an internship before they graduate, and these positions often turn into jobs.

This is exactly what happened to OSU alumna Amy Brooks London. While majoring in landscape architecture at OSU, London completed an internship with Kimley- Horn and Associates Inc. After a successful experience, she was offered a full-time position with the company before she had graduated from college. "It was awesome," said London of having a job nailed down. "It took a lot of pressure off my last year of school."

Finding your internship The first thing you have to do is find an internship that suits your interests and career goals. To do this, you need to under-

Working with soil does not always have to be dirty. Starr Holtz, a plant and soil sciences graduate student, keeps her hands clean as she runs a particle size analysis on soil samples during her internship with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. (photo courtesy of Starr Holtz)

16 Cowboy Journal

stand what is involved in an internship. An internship is supervised, provides hands-on experience and is educational, said Amy Gazaway, career development coordinator for CASNR career services. Beyond those commonalities are a lot of variables. Internships can last for rwo days or rwo years, be for undergraduates or graduates, be for credit or not for credit, and even be paid or unpaid. The next problem is where to look. The Internet is a popular place to search, but if not used correctly, it can leave you looking in the wrong places. One good place to search for government internships is the Office of Personnel Management's Web site. "It is 'the' place to look if you want a government job, but if you are looking for something else, you won't find it there," said Gazaway. If you are looking for an internship within a specific organization but are not sure if it has an internship program, you usually can find out by going to its Web site. If the company has a structured internship program, there is usually a link for it, said Gazaway. "I learned about my internship online through the American Society of Landscape Architects' Web site," said London. "I searched companies in Texas and Colorado who had an emphasis in land development. Kimley- Horn had offices in both states. I am currently working in our Dallas office." Don't give up if the company does not have an internship program. There may still be an opportuniry, but you will just have to dig a little more. You can contact the organization's human resources department. You also should use your nerworking skills to help you get in touch with the right person. Candi Latta, an agricultural economics senior, used her nerworking contacts to find an internship. "We had grown chickens for Tyson for several years," said Latta. "Our technical adviser recommended me for an internship with the company. It feels good knowing I

have a job, and I have time to see if I can find something better." A number of resources are available to students at OSU "Talk to faculty, career services staff and alumni," said Gazaway. "Give all of them a copy of your resume." Another place to find an internship is at a career fair. Prospective employers come to these events to hire students for jobs and internships. They realize most college career fair attendees will have limited experience and will be seeking entry-level positions. These employers are not looking for an immediate chief executive officer, but they are looking for a hard-working person with confidence and an eagerness to learn. Agricultural communications senior Missy Nilan found this out firsthand. She was required to go to a career fair for a class in fall 2004. "While I was there I just began talking with the people at some of the booths," she said. Before she knew it, she was scheduled to interview for a marketing and sales internship with John Deere. A few weeks later, she was selected for the position. She is now considering a position with the company. "I recommend the career fair for anyone, even if you think there isn't a job for you," said Nilan. "They are looking for employees anyway, so you're not bothering them by asking if they have anything for you."

Applying for your internship Typically, when you apply for an internship, you send a cover letter and a resume and follow up with a phone call. "Hand-delivering is an option for students who are using networking contacts in close proximity, but since it is not the norm, I would hesitate to recommend it," said Gazaway. A resume should be one page long and should list important things about you and your abilities: your education, relevant experiences, employment history, skills and references. You don't need to write in sentence form, but try to keep it clean and easy to read. Bullets help as long as they are not distracting. Your cover letter should be addressed to the person involved in the hiring process and should express your interest in the job, connecting your experiences and

skills on your resume to what the employer is seeking.

Interviewing for the internship This is your chance to show what sets you apart from the other applicants. "The most important thing to do in an interview is to be yourself," said Nilan. It helps interviewees be more comfortable with the situation. "The interview is a two-way communication," said Gazaway. "The employer is trying to figure out if you are right for the company, and you have to figure out if the company is right for you. If you aren't yourself, you don't get a genuine feel about how you fit with the company." You want to be in control of as many factors as possible during the interview¡ â&#x20AC;˘ Arrive early, 10 to 15 minutes. Leave your phone in the car; it will be a distraction if you take it. Have names and numbers if you have trouble and are going to be late, but don't be late. Dress appropriately. "If you are in doubt about what to wear, it is OK to ask," said Gazaway. "For example, if you are interviewing on-site at a hog farm, you may be out of place in a suit and tie." You also should take a portfolio to show some of your work samples, regardless of your major. "Writing samples are good to include because you have to be able to write in any position," said Gazaway. "You should include a few samples of your best work and a few extra copies of your resume in your portfolio." Look for an opportunity to show your portfolio during the interview. The interviewer most likely will not ask to see it, but it will not do you any good if he or she only gets to see you have a folder with a nice cover. Put the portfolio in the person's hands and explain what specific piece of your work is being viewed. It is OK to pause and let the person look at an item, especially if it is a writing sample. It is a good idea to have copies of everything as part of an electronic portfolio to leave so it can be viewed again at a later time. "Small talk can help put you and the interviewer at ease," said Gazaway. After the interview, you should follow up. Within 24 hours, you should send a thank-you note to everyone with whom you interviewed.

Ruth Bobbitt, an agricultural communications junior, adds her creative style to OSU's biosystems and agricultural engineering department through her internship. (photo by Randall H eldermon)

"This is an important and often overlooked step," said Gazaway. "It shows you are willing to do a little extra work to get what you are after and puts your name in front of the potential employer one more time."

Gaining from an internship You gain experiences through an internship you could never have in the classroom. It can help you decide on your specific career path. The internship could be all you hoped it would be and could confirm you are on the correct path, or it could be something you do not enjoy. It is better to find out through a three-month internship than to end up in a full-time position in that field, said Gazaway. If you do not like the job area, you still have time to explore different career opportunities. "An internship sets you apart from other students because not everybody does an internship," said Gazaway. You also get your foot in the door for future job opportunities. The contacts you will make and the contacts the organization has can go a long way in helping you find a job after graduation. Sometimes an internship can even turn into a job, meaning you do not have to spend your senior year searching. "Not having to worry about finding a job has made my senior year a breeze," said Nilan.


Spring 2006 17

I We've got a job for you! by Kasey Witherspoon, Whitewright, Texas As the demand increases for agri cultural education teachers nationwide, Oklahoma State University programs are "stepping it up" to boost the interest of potential teachers. "With an agricultural education degree, a person has many options in the field of agriculture," said Eddie Smith, state FFA adviser. Smith said earning an agricultural education degree opens the doors to a variety of opportunities. He said as the requests for new and expanded agricultural programs continue across the state, more students must be prepared and interested in becoming agricultural teachers. The nation has a significant demand for agricultural education teachers because of the growth in high school enrollments and the students' interest in agriculture,

said James Leising, department head for the OSU Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and 4-H Youth Development. "It is important chat we continue to increase the interest of these young people," said Leising. The number of students enrolling in Oklahoma's high school agricultural education programs is increasing quickly, having an effect on the demand for certified agricultural education teachers, said Bill Weeks, agricultural education professor. As the programs grow, it is necessary to add additional teaching positions to the public school systems. Currently, Oklahoma has 356 high school agricultural education programs. With 432 teachers among chose programs, 32 percent of chose teachers will be

Bob Mitchell, OSU alumnus, is the agricultural education teacher at Ripley High School. Mitchell enjoys encouraging students with an interest in agriculture like Blake Toews (left) and Austin Miller. (photo by Kasey Witherspoon)

18 Cowboy Journal

eligible for retirement within the next five years, said Kent Boggs, Oklahoma FFA executive secretary. OSU is taking important steps toward building more interest in prospective agricultural teachers. The OSU agricultural education program had 41 students in the 2004-05 school year who completed the certification process for agricultural education. More than half of these individuals currently are teaching secondary education in Oklahoma. Starting salaries for agricultural education teachers currently are more than $36,000 For chose interested in agricultural education teaching positions, chat is a positive aspect for their future careers, said Leising. In 2005-06, OSU has 110 agricultural education students. The number of students also includes chose who are working toward a double major with animal science or agricultural economics. "The double majors allow students who are interested in the field of agricultural education to broaden their horizons," said Leising. The faculty in agricultural education at OSU work with junior colleges and high schools in the state to identify and recruit students who are planning to major in agricultural education and have the desire to receive their full certification with the teaching option. "The purpose of working with these individuals is to encourage, nurture and mentor these students," said Leising. As a part of its recruiting effort, the department conducted a workshop at the 2005 Oklahoma Stace FFA Convention for students who expressed an interest in agricultural teaching as a future career. Each of these contributions by the department was completed to encourage and broaden the recruitment of prospective agricultural teachers. Leising said the OSU agricultural education program considers youth education to be an essential component of the department. OSU provides agricultural education students with a scholarship program, awarding a total of $35,000 each year.

"The OSU agricultural education program is taking things above and beyond with the scholarship program for prospective teachers, being one of the best in the nation," said Boggs. Incoming freshmen, transfer students and continuing students may apply for an OSU Agricultural Education Scholarship, which is $1,000 per semester. The number of scholarships is determined by annual interest income of scholarship trusts. Scholarships are awarded based on leadership, scholastic ability and financial need. Scholarship recipients are selected by the OSU Agricultural Education Scholarship Inc. board of directors. To be eligible for college and other departmental agricultural education scholarships, students are encouraged to complete the CASNR scholarship application, said Leising. The deadline to apply for 2006-07 scholarships is Feb. 1 The Oklahoma Agricultural Education Teachers Association awards scholarships to prepared high school seniors. The scholarships are awarded in the spring and fall semesters, after each application is reviewed and ranked by the district vice presidents.

Boggs said the Oklahoma FFA Association will con tinue to recruit future teachers into the profession as the demand increases. Recruitment cools such as the workshop "Becoming an Agricultural Education Teacher and FFA Adviser" have been successful in continuing the interest of prospective agricultural teachers, said Boggs. Feature articles are publicized in various magazines, which highlight the careers of outstanding young teachers who recently have en tered the profession, hoping to spark the interest of students, Kevin Howell, an agricultural education sophomore, practices he said. teaching class in AGED 3103. (photo by Marcus Ashlock) "We certainly consider agricultural education teachers to be leaders, leaders for the next generation of future agFor more information on application riculturalists, as well as leaders in their local deadlines and various agricultural education schools and communities," said Boggs. scholarships offered at OSU please visit the "They are tremendous influencers who departmental Web site at http:llaged. okstate. make a positive difference in ochers' lives on a edu or call the academic programs office at daily basis." (405) 744-5395.


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I Agritourism brings reality home C



by Jared A. Wiley, Ardmore, Okla.





Reality TV has let many individuals in the United States gain their 15 minutes of fame. These programs allow people to become pop stars, live with strangers, go back to college or even be "real" cowboys, but one of the newest reality programs is not on television. Like a reality show, agritourism allows people to participate in reality, the reality of agriculture, and Oklahoma has plenty of opportunities to experience agriculture. Want to see how a reining horse is trained? Head south from Oklahoma City on I 35 to Purcell, Okla., the Quarter Horse Capitol of the World. Cattle ranches and beef operations dot the Oklahoma map and offer plenty of new experiences. Ifyou want to know something about growing and harvesting crops, Oklahoma is fourth in the nation in wheat production. A variety of producers allow tours of their ranches and farms. If you are interested in horticulture, the state is home to several vineyards and nurseries. Oklahoma is waiting for you to enjoy its newest reality路 agritourism.

Agritourism: crossroads of agriculture and tourism Agritourism, like its name suggests, is

agriculture involving tourism or vice versa. The agritourism program in Oklahoma is a joint effort among the Oklahoma departments of agriculture, food and forestry, tourism and wildlife conservation. Francie Tolle, Oklahoma's director of agritourism, said the potential this industry has to serve as a solid revenue source for rural and primarily agricultural parts of the state is limited only by the imagination. "Agritourism can help a producer diversify his or her income while adding attractions to the rural community," said Tolle about the future of agritourism. Activities and tours range from farms and ranches to hiking trails and hayrides. Tolle said tours may offer hands-on activities, entertainment, meals or even a chance to spend the night. Most people haven't thought about going to a rural town as a form of tourism, they think about the Caribbean Islands, Cancun or Las Vegas as their tourist destinations. But Tolle said the agritourism industry is one of the fastest growing segments of tourism in the United States. Agritourism started on the coasts in California, Vermont and North Carolina and spread from there. The United States is not the only country offering agricultural

tours; Italy, Australia and New Zealand are known as global participants in the agritourism industry. Oklahoma's program is designed to help current and new businesses. "Our primary job is developing resources to help producers," said Tolle. "Some people have been in business for 15 years, and our goal is to help them market and expand their businesses." Oklahoma agritourism is still in its infancy, but Tolle said the program is encouraging interested and active parties to fill out a questionnaire on the Internet to build an inventory database. "We are compiling information from an online questionnaire to know what programs are being offered," said Tolle. "We have some opportunities posted on under activities and attractions, but we expect the number to increase." Agritourism is a new buzzword for some businesses that have been part of the industry for several years. Corn mazes and pumpkin patches are examples of businesses in Oklahoma that have long been a part of this "new" industry. Jerry and Mary Jahn have been running a pumpkin patch in Cyril, Okla., for the past four years.

The Access Tour II joins a herd ofcattle at BillJacobs' Ranch after riding an Oklahoma State University ''BOB" into the pasture. (photo by Jared Wiley)

20 Cowboy Journal

Ed Miller (left) and D. C. Coston discuss Oklahoma grapes at Greenfield Vineyards. Oklahoma is home to more than 30 vineyards. (photo by Jared Wiley) "We started our patch with a grant from the department of ag but didn't know about the state's agritourism program," said Mary Jahn. Individuals or groups can participate in tours. Jahn said some individuals do stop at their patch, but elementary schools are the primary visitors. Students, however, are not the only ones participating in agritourism. The Oklahoma State University Division ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources hosts a statewide agri-tour every spring for faculty and agricultural professionals.

Out of Stillwater and into the state The DASNR Access Tour made its first departure in May 2004 and its second voyage in May 2005 The tour is a two-day agritourism journey across the state with several stops along the way. This year, the group of 45 participants made stops at Shawnee Mills, Jerry Wells' horse farm, the Noble Foundation and Bill Jacobs' ranch on the first day. The second day the group traveled more than 160 miles from Davis, Okla., to Stillwater, Okla., stopping at the Murray County Extension Office, Cedar Valley Liners, Wintersmith Park Lodge and Greenfield Vineyards. The stops were informative and gave the group a chance to see the diversity of agriculture in Oklahoma, said D C. Coston, coordinator of the 2005 tour and former associate director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. The tour's purpose has been to get university people into the state to see what

is happening agriculturally, said Coston. "We have a variety of individuals on this trip," Coston said. "They are students, faculty and administrators for the college, and we also have extension agents, wheat commissioners and a representative from Farmer's Union. Just about any job that deals with agriculture, there is someone here who does it." Each informative stop had something different to offer the participants. Greenfield Vineyards in Chandler, Okla., gave the group a glimpse at a working winery and the grape industry in Oklahoma. Even a cattle ranch proved to be different than a normal operation. At Bill Jacobs' 12,000-acre ranch, the tour bus joined a roundup. Chris Morgan, assistant professor in agricultural education, said pulling the bus into the middle of 1,200 cattle was amusing and a reminder of his days as an agricultural education teacher. "We pulled the bus into the field then people unloaded and started taking pictures of the calves with their cell phones. It reminded me of picking out animals for kids to show, just with a much larger selection of calves," Morgan said, with a laugh. Morgan, who is not only new to the university but also to the state, said the trip was educational. He said he found out about the trip through an e-mail and was encouraged to participate. "I didn't know what to expect because I did not know much about the state, but Dr. Bill Weeks said he thought I would enjoy it," said Morgan. "This trip was well-organized and was an enjoyable experience," said Morgan. "I would encourage anyone, especially those interested in this state's agriculture, to take part in the Access Tour." The trip is funded by the OSU Agriculture Alumni Association, OAES and various other sponsors. Oklahoma Pork Council and Oklahoma Beef Council were co-sponsors for the 2005 tour. The Agriculture Alumni Association not only funds the trip but also came up with the idea of the Access Tour, said Ed Miller, CASNR associate dean and a twoyear participant with the tour. "The ag alumni have always been involved with teaching programs and the students here on campus, but they wanted to be more involved with getting research results from the campus out into the state," said Miller.

Miller said the Access Tour achieves one of the univerisity's primary missions. "Extending knowledge is an important part of the university's primary mission," said Miller. "Extending knowledge makes us unique in the state." To extend this knowledge across the state, the tour uses "BOB," OSU's big orange buses, for transportation. With two down and many more to come, Miller said the future is bright for the tour. "I think we have been very successful with our first two tours," said Miller. "The only thing that could make it better is increased public involvement at the stops and more public awareness about our tour." So, mark your calendars for May 2006 and start your summer with the Access Tour, a group of people taking an active part in Oklahoma's new reality program. agritourism. C1

My point of view: Access II When I participated in the Access Tour II to write this story, what started as an assignment turned into deeper appreciation and pride for my university and college. The first day of the trip I watched the participants interact, scribbled notes at each stop, took pictures and amassed a database of information. The second day I concentrated on the people who surrounded me. As I thought about the experience, I realized the purpose of the tour路 extension. Extension is multifaceted and not limited to the formal dissemination of knowledge to the public. Extension, as I now see it, is the people who call Oklahoma State University their alma mater. Before Access II, I only knew "extension" by the "county agent" tide; now, that impression is as broad as the state, and I know extension by the people, not the tides. The tour made me realize I will be an extension of OSU Everyone who has gone before me has made a path that crosses Stillwater at some point, and I look forward to adding another trail to the OSU map.

搂IA_~ Spring 2006 21

I New OSU Swine Center offers a C

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'breath of fresh air'

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by Kelly Sitter, Lone Jack, Mo. Justin Bundy wipes sweat from his brow as he stirs manure in the pit below him. The squeal of pigs and the hum of exhaust fans nearly drown the sound of his voice as he jokes with a colleague. Bundy, an animal science graduate student, assists with research at the new Oklahoma State University Swine Research and Education Center. When asked ifhe likes his job, Bundy grins and replies, "'It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. "' Even though livestock facilities have a smell all their own, students and local Stillwater residents agree that being downwind ofOSU's new swine facility is a "fresher" experience. The new OSU SREC is located on McElroy Road west of the Animal Science Arena in Stillwater, Okla., nearly two miles north of the old swine barn. Opening in November 2004 and housing its first pigs in December 2004,

the new swine farm is a state-of-the-art facility recognized for its technologically advanced, odor-eliminating systems. Odor-producing compounds in swine waste are formed when microorganisms break down nitrogen compounds (proteins) present in a pig's digestive tract and manure. Researchers have found that manure odor is directly influenced by the amount of crude protein in a pig's diet. Air pollution from hog operations is emitted by barns, lagoons, pits, slurries and land application of manure as fertilizer. Odor from hog farms can be detected downwind and be just as intense as the odor around actual waste management systems located on the site, depending on the facilities waste management system. Attached to each of the barns at the new SREC is a "Biofilter" exhaust system. These biofilters are boxes housing the outdoor exhaust fans and are connected to the indoor exhaust fans. The boxes are

Spencer Mann right), a doctoral student at the new SREC, guides a tour ofthe bioreactor lagoon system to SOIL 4863 students. (photo by Kelly Sitter

22 Cowboy Journal

covered by a wire mesh that holds a layer of wheat straw or oat straw mixed with compost. This layer absorbs noxious odors of the indoor air as it filters through. The filtered air is then released to the outdoors. The biofilter system has been studied at the University of Minnesota. Research has indicated the biofilter boxes must remain moist to maintain bacteria levels. Each filter is connected to a water infiltration system to offset the Oklahoma climate. Bacteria within the biofilter compost layer digest the organic material in the air, reducing odor-causing gases, such as h ydrogen sulfide, by an estimated 80 percent and ammonia by an estimated 60 percent. As another odor-control mechanism, a technologically advanced waste management system is in place and functioning. All waste from the facility is sent through an anaerobic sequencing batch reactor, known as the ASBR. This tank-like structure catches 80 percent of the solid matter in the manure and turns it into "sludge." The "sludge" can be removed, dried and used as a fertilizer. The liquid from the tank is decanted and sent into a bioreactor, which resembles a covered lagoon . Here the waste is cleansed and sent to an open air lagoon. At this stage the waste water is less than O 1 percent solid matter. It is then clean enough to be used to B.ush houses on the facility but is not used as "potable" or drinkable water. Methane and hydrosulfide gases currently are being burned off from the tank, but later they will be used for energy resource research. "The citizens of Stillwater wanted a less odorous facility," said Doug Hamilton, OSU Cooperative Extension waste management specialist. Hamilton helped design and still conducts research for the facility's waste management system. Hamilton has been "dealing with manure since 1979" and explained that OSU's new swine facility was designed to be built oversized due to its extensive research use. Hamilton said

controlling odor on swine farms is a challenge because most producers use types of buildings with different ventilation systems. "For people with naturally ventilated buildings, odor is reduced by cleanliness and sanitation," said Hamilton. "The hog farms chat clean their facilities OS U's new Swine Research and Education Center can house nearly 800 pigs and has a state-of the-art waste management regularly are going co be system. (photo by Todd Johnson) less odorous." "The new waste management system and Staff members at the new OSU swine SREC, including an animal waste managewater treatment plant here at the new facility work around the clock on maintement class, SOIL 4863; an introduction barns doesn't even compare co chat of the co animal science class, ANSI 1124; and nance and cleanliness. old barns." The new swine facility, with its 13 swine science, ANSI 4643. Also, OSU's Overall, the new, notably less odorbarns, can house up to 800 pigs, includlivestock judging team practices at the ous swine facility is just another way for ing up to 110 sows and their litters. The new facility. students to gain hands-on experience gestation barns can accommodate up to Carter's swine science class students 50 sows. Most of the barns have autothrough OSU ~ are assigned pigs in different stages of mated feed systems, and all barns can be development for the semester. The class, temperature controlled. con sisting of about 30 animal science Because of the swine industry's highjuniors and seniors, attend lab every ocher economic impact, today's producers are week at the new swine facility. focusing more on the effects of swine waste At the beginning of the semester, on the environment and are using more students are split into groups of four and up-to-date waste management systems are assigned a sow that is due to farrow. at their facilities, said Scott Carter, OSU During each lab session, the students animal science associate professor. keep track of the saw's weight, feed and According to the U.S Department water intake, body temperature and health of Agriculture, swine production in the maintenance. They learn how to record United States is a $ 10-billion industry and measure back fat via ultrasound with Oklahoma being the eighth largest equipment and have the option of being swine-producing state. The United States present when their assigned sow farrows is the world's third-largest pork producer coward the end of the semester. with more than 60 million sows in the "This is what every class should be nation and is the second-largest consumer, like," said Joanna Litchfield, an animal exporter and importer of pork and pork science senior, as her group pushed and products. Pork consumption ranks third prodded its sow out of a crate and onto a in annual U.S. meat consumption. scale to record its weight. "It's very hands Today's research at the new SREC inon. Nothing compares to actually working volves OSU students using the new swine in the field." facility. In fall 2005, a nutrition research A litter of finisher pigs also is assigned study was conducted on the effects of feed to the students. Students collect data on intake on manure output and nutrient water and feed quality and intake and loss. Additional studies are planned for weight gain, as well as provide general Laura Townley (left), Joanna Litchfield and Justin the future. Undergraduate students also health maintenance. Bundy admire the first litter ofpigs born at the use the facility as a teaching guide. "Th e technology here is exciting (photo by Kelly Sitter new SREC Numerous classes meet at OSU's and cool co work with," said Litchfield. Spring 2006 23







by Kelli Armbruster, Burlington, Okla. As she eats her breakfast, an 11-yearold 4-H'er packs her bag for school and thinks about the activities she has planned for today. In Korea, 14 hours and more than 6,500 miles away, her father is settling down for bed. As she waits for her father's return, she will make new friends and work on her citizenship project as a member of the Fort Sill 4-H Club. "Four-H teaches youth life skills such as decision-making, goal-setting, leadership and citizenship, just to name a few," said Charles Cox, Oklahoma 4-H program leader. "It welcomes all young people to participate in a 'learn-by-doing' environment where they are able to actively participate in hands-on experiences and make a lasting impact in their communities." According to the Oklahoma 4-H Web site, the mission of the 4-H Youth Development Program is to provide youth, families and communities with educational programs that will inspire youth and adults to reach their fullest potential. Four-H provides communiry-based learning through clubs, school enrich ment programs, special interest programs and mass media. The program helps foster

leadership and volunteerism. Members are encouraged to develop skills in their particular areas of interest by taking part in project areas such as photography, robotics, horticulture and beef production. "While 4-H helps youth develop life skills, it also offers opportunities for youth to meet others with similar interests," said Alan VanDeventer, Oklahoma 4-H military liaison. "Four-H provides a base of friendship children can take from club meetings to the classroom. Four-H also can provide a base of support and familiariry for kids whose families are constantly on the move." Through a partnership created in 1995 berween the National 4-H Headquarters, the U.S. Army Child and Youth Services, and the U .S. Air Force Family Member Program, military children worldwide are given the opportuniry "to make the best better" as members of 4-H clubs on military bases. With the support of the Cooperative State Research, Education and Exten sion Service, military staff and volunteers provide qualiry developmental programs for children so their military mothers and

Alyssa Bwerly, Fort Sill 4-Her, spends her afternoons at the Fort Sill Youth Center working on homework and her 4-H citizenship project. (photo courtesy of US. Army)

24 Cowboy Journal

fathers can pursue their assignments with less worry. The U.S. Army's goal was to establish 4-H programs on 75 percent of its installations by 2001 By the year's end, 90 percent of bases had established a program. By 2002, the Army required 4-H clubs on every base, and in 2004, the U.S. Air Force followed. In 2003, 4-H military liaisons were named in each state to support the work that CSREES and 4-H were doing. "It is a commitment of the Oklahoma 4-H program to develop a lasting partnership with the Air Force bases and Army posts in Oklahoma," said Cox. "We are dedicated to developing a strong 4-H presence on all military installations in Oklahoma, along with Reserve and National G uard families across the state." Oklahoma's five military installations are located in five different counties. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service educators in each of these counties work with 4-H members and volunteers within that counry, including clubs established on military bases. "Tinker, Altus and Vance Air Force bases have established a 4-H presence," said VanDeventer. "The Fort Sill Army Post and the McAlester Ammunition Depot 4-H clubs are thriving." Fort Sill Army Post established its first 4-H club in 2000 and has seen its enrollment soar to 248 members participating in 4-H activities at any one time. Some of the first clubs established at Fort Sill were gardening clubs. The members learned about plants, tilled the soil, cared for the plants and harvested the fruit. From gardening to aerospace, the club has branched into several special-interest clubs, including the Gourmet Grub Club, the Stamping Club, and the Health and Science Club. "Here at Fort Sill, we incorporate 4-H into our youth services' after-school programs," said Anna Cochran , Fort Sill junior team adviser. "When these kids leave school every day, they have the opportunity to come to our youth center and hang out until their parents get home. That gives the youth center a chance to

incorporate 4-H into their everyday lives and gives our 4-H members a chance to work on their 4-H projects." "I see these kids come to the center after having moved around a lot in their lifetime," said Cochran. "They come in as very shy individuals, but after spending time at the center, their confidence increases as they begin to make new friends." Alyssa Bwerly visits the youth center every day. Bwerly, whose father is stationed in Korea, is a new 4-H member. Her family was transferred to Fort Sill after being stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. "Going to the youth center every day helped me to make friends, and I get to work on cool projects like the Boulevard of Lights project," said Bwerly. "Our 4-H club worked on a Boat for the Boulevard of Lights, which was a parade that the city of Lawton put on during November." The McAlester Ammunition Depot has seen its club participation increase as a result of activities such as county speech contests, Share-the-Fun contests, the county fair and shooting sports events. C lub members actively participate in photography, computer science, fine arts, citizenship, fishing and other projects.

"Though 4-H provides military children with a sense of home and new friends, it is vital to developing life skills such as public speaking, leadership and citizenship skills," said Cox. "Specific project areas help youth develop interests in what we hope will later be career paths." According to the national 4-H Web site, these clubs are not just providing something for kids to do after school, they are providing a network of support to children who need a form of stability in their lives. Many of the children's usual support systems may no longer be available due to parents being deployed and to the constant threat of losing a loved one. Extensive media coverage of on-going military operations creates daily anxiety. Four-H provides a way for youth to connect with other youth who are experiencing similar situations. They are able to seek friends and adults who can empathize and help them cope with their new world. "It's familiar," said VanDeventer. "For some of these kids, it's about the only thing constant in their lives. To be in a foreign country and be able to recognize the green 4-H clover gives a child a sense of comfort and home."


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(800) 991-6717 Spring 2006 25

~rom the 7uscan by Amber Harrell-Simmons, Rogers, Ark.

As the early August sun rises above the horizon, the sunlight falls on sleepy-eyed workers disbursed down the rows of the vineyard. The workers have no complaints about the early mornings because the air is cool and the breeze is pleasant. Their fingers work automatically to pick the grapes from the dew-soaked vines. Soon these grapes will take a new form. wine. This scene may remind you of Califo rnia or maybe even Italy, but it is a scene visible across Oklahoma. Several years ago, vineyards and wineries began popping up throughout the state. Today, the Oklahoma wine industry is "running over" with success, and the Oklahoma State University Food and Agricultural Products Center is doing its part to help the industry continue to grow. FAPC is dedicated to helping Oklahoma's producers, wine or otherwise, provide the highest quality products possible to consumers everywhere. "In general terms, our mission is to assist value-added agricultural product processing in the state," said William McGlynn , FAPC's horticultural product processing specialist. "The wine industry fits that general mission very, very well." McGlynn, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association, has developed a series of workshops to benefit grape growers in Oklahoma. The first in the series was a winery sanitation workshop. The focus of the workshop was the connection between proper winery sanitation and the quality of wine that is produced. The center also is planning to offer a workshop on basic wine quality analysis. As the industry and FAPC continue to expand, more workshops will be developed to supplement the first two workshops. Bob McBratney of Stone Bluff Cellars took part in the winery sanitation workshop. McBratney anticipates participating in future advanced workshops. "As time goes on, we will need their expertise to keep up with advancement in the industry," said McBratney. In addition to FAPC workshops, OSU hosts other programs to benefit current and potential grape and wine produc26 Cowboy Journal

sun to Oklahoma J, relcfirt ers. The grape management class, which meets once a month from March through October, takes an individual through an entire production year and teaches the best practices to use when growing grapes and processing wine. This program teaches which varieties of grapes have the most success in Oklahoma. FAPC and the OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture have combined their efforts to research the varieties of grapes that will thrive in Oklahoma. This research began nearly five years ago with experimental vineyards located near Stillwater, Okla. A local vineyard and winery, Woodland Park Winery, is growing 10 varieties of grapes for OSU's research through a grant with the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture. OSU's research station near Perkins, Okla., has an additional 30 varieties growing on one acre. This research is to determine the best varieties for Oklahoma, as well as the best quality, productivity and disease resistance, said Jeanette Hane of Woodland Park Winery. The next step in OSU's research will be processing the grapes and continuing the evaluation with the final product. "We'll know the quality of the grapes coming out of the vineyard, and we'll know the quality of the wine that can be made from these grapes," said McGlynn. "We will also be able to conduct research to determine the best wine-making techniques that we can apply [to the grapes] to get the highest quality at the end of the day." FAPC currently has the capabilities to provide general analytical services, such as tests for volatile acidity and alcohol content. The center also has the facilities for sensory tasting. However, with the expansion of the wine and grape industry, FAPC is expanding, too. The lab soon will have the necessary equipment to make wine. The final steps to complete the lab are in progress, and McGlynn said he anticipates the lab will be completed by next season. Once complete, the lab will have the capability of processing wine from start to finish. With the addition of this

equipment, FAPC will be able to expand its educational and research capacities significantly, said McGlynn. Hane and her husband, Ivol, own Woodland Park Winery in Stillwater, and have been a part of the many programs the center has to offer. The Hanes began growing grapes five years ago and recently have opened the doors of their winery. She calls it a "tremendous venture" for her and her husband. Hane said she blames the lack of wineries and vineyards in the Midwestern states on prohibition during the 1920s. "Prohibition stalled the industry in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and it has taken this long for it to be revived," said Hane. She said her new business has benefited greatly from FAPC's services and the winery will benefit from the center's expanding services. The Hanes truly are

grateful to the extension efforts of the center and other departments. "The center benefits all growers," said Hane. "Until now, not a lot of information was available, and we would have to sponsor our own classes in this area." Another beneficial service the center has developed is a winery feasibility template for current and potential wine makers. Rodney Holcomb, FAPC's agribusiness economic specialist, focuses on the "dollars and cents" of business and has developed templates for use by Oklahoma processors. "This is a template that we thought had the most potential for Oklahoma, just because we've had so many wineries popping up and so many people calling to request information on how to start a winery," said Holcomb. The template is a spreadsheet that takes into account anything you could

!vol Hane, owner and wine maker at Woodland Park W'inery, prepares to prune the vineyard's 7. 5 acres ofgrapevines after its first year in production. (photos by Amber Harrell-Simmons)

Spring 2006 27

Holcomb. "When it's all done , the spreadsheet will provide you with a rough estimate of profit and loss, as well as cash flow, and tell you whether or not this is a good business investment." FAPC is committed to identifying ways to add value to Oklahoma products and is a great resource to agricultural producers and processors, said J Roy Escoubas, director

experience when entering into the wine-making business The template determines the economic viability of becoming a wine maker. With this template, you have eight choices of wine you can choose to produce. It also is set up to manage blended wines. In the spreadsheet, you in put prices for materials, labor, equipment, etc. The spreadsheet determines cash flow, profit and loss, depreciation, net present value and internal rate of return for a 10-year period, all while taking the inflation rate into consideration. The winery-feasibility spreadsheet will account for revenues from gifr shop sales or from wine-tasting events. Holcomb said the template was designed to be user-friendly by color coding the cells to make plugging in the numbers simple. "If you're looking at starting a winery, you can take this and, given the assumptions that you have, you can plug in the numbers in each color-coded cell," said

ofFAPC. With more than 30 wineries in the state, Oklahoma's grape growing and wine making industry will continue to grow and impact the economy on different levels. "There is an art and a science to wine making," said McGlynn. "To be successful, you must master both the art and the science."


For information on the OSU Food and Agricultural Products Center or to view the winery feasibility template, visit or call (405) 744-6071

3 credits

2weeks + 1 international location Study Abroad Japan · Peru · China · Thailand Honduras · England Italy Scotland · France · Ireland · Germany International Programs in Agriculture 139 Agricultural Hall (405) 744-5398 http:/

28 Cowboy Journal

A Cowboy, a soldier, a writer by Cara Brooke Adams, Buffalo, Okla. Imagine yourself, thousands of miles away from what you call home, dripping in sweat because of the heat and the fact you're fighting for your life outside the somewhat safe walls of your base. You're hunched in a corner with a digital camera in one hand and your M 16 riBe in the other. You take photographs of things most people will never see in their lifetime. You write about things you don't want anyone to experience. You hear a zing and then a ping. That sound means danger. It's the sound of a bullet, a bullet that is not too far away. But you never falter. The experiences, images and memories you gather this day and so many days like it will be with you for the rest of your life. They will haunt your dreams, stay in the back of your mind and come back at you like one of those Bashbacks the veterans who went to Vietnam talk about. There must be a way to get the thoughts out of your head, to loosen them up so they don't strike so deeply each time. So you begin to do what you've always loved to do. You write. You write and write until your mind goes numb. It starts as a personal journal, then it moves to a "blog" (a Web log), and eventually it transcends into a book. Who would have ever thought those memories and experiences, combined with you r

> C

passion and love for writing, could take you this far? No one could have known, but many have dreamed of this day for you, so many people from so many different stages of your life. This is the true story of an Oklahoma State University alumnus from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the story of 27-year-old Staff Sgt. R. Fred Minnick Jr. "I knew when Fred was 2 years old he would be loving and giving," said Trina Minnick, his mother. "He's honest and dependable, compassionate and tender-hearted. He will make a wonderful husband and dad some day." Minnick always has loved agri culture and growing up in the small town of Jones, Okla., he was constantly around it. "Ever since being in FFA, I've al ways thought of myself as an ag guy, and FFA is where I got my start as a writer," said Minnick. After being elected as reporter for his FFA chapter, Minnick was encouraged by Bart Effinger, his FFA adviser and high schoo agricultural

education teacher, to write articles about FFA activities and submit them to the local paper. Knowing that he had two loves, writing and agriculture, Minnick chose agricultural communications as his major and never looked back. "The passion for both agriculture and writing grew, and I decided to combine my loves in ag comm," said Minnick. "In my opinion, it's the best overall degree offered at OSU You receive such a rounded education in science and communications that you can literally go into any respected field. When I was interviewing for jobs, public relations employers were amazed at my scientific, animal science specifically, knowledge and ability to translate the technical jargon. I contribute this to my education at OSU" Minnick started his college career at OSU in August 1996. No more than two months later, Minnick found himself



of love note on Valentine's Day 2003, Minnick received a little "love note" of his own from the US Army His unit was placed "on standby" for deployment. He was notified in November 2003 that his 2004 Valentine's Day gift was co be a one-year trip to Iraq Minnick's M innick receives a field promotion to staff sergeant while serving in the 139 the Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Iraq. (photo courtesy of US. Army) unit 13 9 Mo bile Public Affairs Detachment - was office, enlisting as a soldier co serve his country and help pay for his education. attached co the Army's first Stryker During his sophomore year at OSU, Brigade. Minnick would work and report along side the Army, usually the infantry Minnick began writing for the D aily O'Collegian. Though not many of his brigade to which his unit was attached. "I actually felt a large sense of pride," stories were about agriculture, he got a good taste of writing for press and how to said Minnick. "I truly felt honored to be in survive in the field of journalism. Minnick a position where I could serve my country also wrote for the Daily Oklahoman before in such an important position. I mean, as a public affairs soldier, you literally have he graduated from OSU After graduation, Minnick cook a an awesome responsibility. It is our job to job with Bader Rutter, an advt:;rtising and communicate the positive stories, which public relations firm in Milwaukee, Wis. we did very proficiencly." Minnick worked there from his graduaLater that year, Minnick found tion in August 2001 until February 2004. himself in Mosul, Iraq On a day-co-day Litcle did Minnick know his pasbasis, he covered car bombs, raids on insursion for writing and his country would gents and other happenings in the area. cake him half way around the world. Being an infantryman at heart, Minnick loved the action, but he hatInstead of receiving the usual type ed co see the carnage chat was the result of so many attacks by the insurgents. He generally wrote the positive side of the war. Writing about school openings and arrests made were some of the articles and photographs Minnick reported. However, being exposed to it all was getting to him. He said he needed to gee away from the thoughts and images the Army didn't want to be heard or seen. StaffSgt. Fred M innick and his troops complete an inventory check ofitems they So, he decided to start a will need as his unit prepares to leavefo r Iraq. (Photo courtesy ofU.S. Army) journal When that 30 Cowboy Journal

didn't do the trick, he began writing a blog he could share with people back home. ''Ac first, I started the blog so people could know I was OK and because I was tired of the mainstream media reports," said Minnick. ''After a while, it became more therapeutic than anything. I found it very helpful for my emotional state to express my feelings and gee the deaths of friends off my chest." Minnick's actions are similar to what has been the growing trend among troops today. Many soldiers have started writing on the Internet as their personal way of dealing with all the emotions that come with a tour of duty. After a while, Minnick was contacted by literary agents and movie producers. Some even wanted Minnick to write a screenplay. Although he refused, it did give him the idea and initiative to write a book about his experiences. Even though he is unable to pinpoint the exact nature of the book, he refers to it as a more comical book than others with the same topic. Minnick mainly wants to illustrate a true sense of war. "In one chapter, I describe the smell of blood and how you eventually become numb to the carnage," said M innick. ''And in another chapter, I talk about an Iraqi with a gold tooth, and I compare him to a pimp in the hood. My goal is for it to be an emotional roller coaster because that is what war is. I want people to laugh on one page and to cry on the next." Even though Minnick may have felt alone at times, he was far from being alone in this world. His parents have always been a support system for him and calling Ronnie and Trina Minnick anything ocher than "extremely proud parents" would not be a fitting title. They have seen their soldier through more than anyone. From the silly things M innick did when he was a child co the nightmares and flashbacks he had when he came home, the Minnicks have seen him through it all. "There's not a mother on this planet who could be more proud of her son," said Trina Minnick. "He has served his country well, and he's a survivor. Sometimes it's hard co believe he's my son, but he is." Even though Fred Minnick came home without any physical battle scars, it doesn't mean there aren't any scars at all. It cook the Vietnam War and almost 10 years for psychiatrists to identify the symptoms as Post Traumatic Stress Dis-

Minnick's parents actually experi enced one of the nightmares that shake soldiers to their core. "One night after his return Fred said he was going to sleep in our backyard," said Ronnie Minnick. "He said he wanted some peace and quiet. About 2 a.m., Fred starred beating on the patio door, screaming 'Hajji is everywhere!"' The elder M innick said Fred's younger brother, Justin, let the soldier in the house. He ran to his parents' bedroom door screaming the same thing.

StaffSgt. Fred Minnick on a horse an Iraqi friend let him borrow. (photo courtesy of US. A rmy)

"Hajji is everywhere and we need to leave now!" demanded Fred Minnick. His father's first thought was that it was a big joke. This was something his son would have done before the war. The frightening glare on his son's face told him it was not a joke. "Security has been breached in Sector 9 or Tower 9! Hajji are everywhere!" screamed Fred Minnick. "We don't have time. We have to leave now!" A few seconds later, a crying soldier came back inside and said, "I can see how a soldier can kill his wife during his sleep and go to prison for it. It isn't fair." The military has taken steps to help prepare the troops for combat stress by requiring them to attend a pre-deployment session where they learn the warning signs and how to get help for the illness while they are there and when they return, which Minnick has done. Minnick did something else to help him deal with the TAD He used his blog to write about his experiences. "Fred s blog was a way of getting things off his chest and even sharing with other people in the world what soldiers were seeing," said Ronnie Minnick. Minnick's blog was one of his first steps in writing his book. "Through my blog, I garnered a large readership," said Minnick. "I started writing and sending my work out to publishers

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Staff Sgt. Fred Mi nnick, Oklahoma State Uni veristy alumnus p roudly serves his cou ntry. (p hoto courtesy of US. A rmy

and agents who were highly regarded . The idea behind the book actually came from all my readers who begged m e to write about my experiences." Minnick said his book is tentatively set to be released in M arch or April. Through agriculture, OSU and his country, Minnick has turned his passion into a successful career. Today, M innick has reached his goals with the help of OSU and his professors who helped him grow, not just as a writer, but as a m an . ~

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Horticulture and landscape architecture alumnus Dan Almond does his part to help produce a competitive Cowboy football team. (photo by Matt Kelly)

New turf's 'roots' run to CASNR by Matt Kelly, Elgin, Okla. Wandering around the third floor of Agricultural Hall looking at landscape design posters is where Dan Almond found himself after two years as a pre-medicine major. He was not sure what he wanted to do, but he knew he wanted a change. About that time, Steve Ownby, former department head of the Oklahoma State University landscape design department, stopped and talked to Almond about landscape design. Almond decided that was what he wanted to do with his life, and Ownby took him under his wing. Today, Almond finds himself running Millennium Sports Technologies Inc. , where he is a sports field design consultant. His business has brought him right back to where it all began. Stillwater, Okla., and his alma mater. Almond designed the new field in Boone Pickens Stadium. His company directed contractors to implement the plans for the drainage, irrigation design, logos and colors of the new field. Almond was hired through contractor Landscapes Unlimited of Lincoln, Neb., who constructed Karsten Creek Golf Club. Mike Holder, OSU vice president for athletic programs and former OSU golf coach, was impressed with the work

32 Cowboy Journal

they had done and referred them to work on the renovation of the football field. When asked to do the job, they said Almond should design the field. After the design was complete, Almond was asked to participate in designing OSU's Hedge Field and Allie P Reynolds Stadium. Almond said there is not another field in the country like the one in Boone Pickens Stadium, he designed this field to the specifications provided by head coach Mike Gundy. "I wanted this field to be very 'athletefriendly,"' said Gundy. "I think the players really enjoy it. With this turf there are no turf burns, and players enjoy the flexibility and cushion it provides." Many characteristics make this field unique. One is a turf that is not like most synthetic surfaces. Three inch blades of artificial grass give this field the feel of real grass but the durability and care of an artificial surface, said Almond. Along with an artificial playing surface, the new field is adaptable to a natural grass surface with an irrigation system and sand under the new artificial turf to give it more cushion. On top of the turf is a one-quarter inch of sand to hold the surface in place,

along with tiny pieces of crumb rubber to provide more cushion to the surface. This rubber comes from truck tires that have been cryogenically frozen and shattered into tiny pieces. These characteristics are what make this field so "athlete-friendly," said Almond. A former Cowboy quarterback, Gundy said the field he played on was not "athlete-friendly." "It was just like playing on concrete or on the street," said Gundy. "It was hard as a rock and hard on players' knees, shoulders and backs." He said his back hurts today as a result of playing on the hard surface. Under the new field's softer surface is a state-of-the-art drainage system. This system consists of 10 inches of reinforced sand placed over a drainage mat and is "loosely based on a combination of patented drainage systems GraviTURF and Air Field," said Almond. Almond trademarked and patented GraviTURF in 1987, and Air Field is the product of another former OSU graduate, Stan Schone. This combination of drainage systems allows the field to take up to 30 inches of rain an hour without flooding. "If this field floods , you better build

an ark," said Almond. "This is absolutely the best field in the country right now." The turf came to OSU from a company called Desso-DLW in Europe, which is a sub-company of Armstrong World Industries Inc. Almond has worked on getting their products the past several years, and this is the second NCAA Division I field in the United States to use this turf. The turf came in rolls that measured 15 foot wide and 160 foot long. (It was rolled out just like carpet on the field.) The turf is a luscious green color that makes it look like real grass, and it has white yard lines and orange end zones. The field is accented with the orangeon-orange OSU brand in the middle of the field, a Pistol Pete logo and a Big 12 logo. The end zones are a bright orange and possess the Oklahoma State name with white outlines and brighter orange accents. Almond said he got into the business by fate. In spring 1979, he was working with an architect in Denver doing all types of landscaping jobs when he was asked to work on the Denver Broncos' practice facilities. He discovered his personal satisfaction from designing sporting facilities and developed new ways to improve the playing surfaces.

After his work for the Broncos, he worked with the New England Patriots, and business has continued to come his way. Almond does no advertising; all of his jobs come from "word-of-mouth." "Dan's expertise is in playing field systems and surfaces, and he is building quite a reputation," said Dale Maronek, head of the OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. "With Dan's strong background in horticulture, he brings more things to the table than just design, he understands what plants need." Other fields Almond has completed include Invesco Field at Mile High and Coors Field in Denver, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Shea Stadium in New York, many Big 12 schools' sports facilities, about 45 minor league baseball fields and many other sports venues. Although Almond has had many great jobs, he said his favorite has to be his work at OSU, not just because it is his alma mater, but because of the people. "It is very rare that you get to work with people like Mike Holder, Mike Gundy and Boone Pickens, who are all so focused on the same job," said Almond. Almond said his favorite thing about

his job is interaction with people, getting to know those who make a difference. Almond is a third-generation "Okie," having grown up in El Reno, Okla. He lived in Stillwater, Okla., as a youth and has been watching the Cowboys play since he could walk, attending games with his dad, who was a soil science graduate of Oklahoma A&M in 1957 Almond now lives in Littleton, Colo., where he established Millennium Sports in 1995 Almonds wife, Sherri, is an OSU alumna. They have two daughters, Kindall and Alaina. Kindall is a sophomore at Littleton High School, and Alaina is a freshman at the University of Colorado. When Almond is not at work, he enjoys attending any sporting event, golfing and skiing. He said his family enjoys living close to Denver, since it has so many sports to offer to its residents. "My advice to anyone is try to decide what you want to do and work to be the best at it," said Almond. CASNR students know how great Ag Hall is, but who knew a walk through it could change a life like Almond's wandering has changed his life. Only one question remains: Who is wandering the halls now, and where will life take him or her?



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Spring 2006 33


Let's take a ride!


E :::s


by Lindsey Childress, Ada, Okla.

Riding a horse gives children and adults with emotional, mental or physical disabilities the legs to run and an equine friend that helps them learn to trust. "The horse does the work; we just show up," said Tami Dane!, Oklahoma State University special education alumna and executive director of Turning Point Ranch. Dane! began the Turning Point Ranch in 1997 at the OSU veterinary medicine facilities. After four years, Dane! said she felt the program did not have room to grow or funding to continue. She made a decision to stop the program until she could find a facility with full-time availability and a way to receive adequate funding. When OSU animal science alumna and Turning Point Ranch instructor Kristen Marcus' daughter, Briannon, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 6 months, Marcus became interested in therapeutic riding. She said she felt Payne County could use a thera-peutic riding program and spent two years trying to start a program in Stillwater, Okla. In February 2005, Marcus met Dane!, and they decided to restart the previous program. On Sept. 12, 2005, the Turning Point Ranch began its first day at the Starr Valley Stables in Stillwater. The program has two primary groups: physically and emotionally challenged individuals ages 4 and up.

Jason Wright shows his excitement during a therapy session. (photo by Lindsey Childress)

34 Cowboy Journal

In the first month of the program, they enrolled two disabled children from referrals, six to eight kids from the Payne County Youth Shelter and five students from the Stillwater Public Schools. Natalea Watkins, OSU journalism and broadcasting alumna and board of directors member for Turning Point Ranch, has experienced the benefits of therapeutic riding. Watkins was in a car accident five years ago and was paralyzed from her chest down, giving her no muscle control in her abdomen. She became involved in therapeutic riding as part of her physical therapy to increase her muscle use. Watkins said therapeutic riding benefits those individuals with psychological disabilities by making them feel "as tall as anyone else" when they are on horseback. "Therapeutic riding is a very valuable type of physical therapy because the bond between a human and horse is powerful," said Watkins. "Someone whose mobility challenges are a constant reminder of powerlessness finds equality on the back of a horse. Suddenly, the disability dissolves and you have legs to run." The Turning Point Ranch is trying to help individuals with emotional and psychological disabilities in Stillwater by reaching out to the children of the Payne County Youth Shelter. Each week, Lindsay Radcliff, youth guidance specialist, takes the children to Turning Point Ranch for therapy. Often, the youth who participate in this opportunity have been mentally, physically or sexually abused. Each child who comes to the youth shelter looks forward to being able to attend the sessions, said Radcliff. "The kids can be having a terrible day, but once they get to the ranch, they forget about everything else," said Radcliff. Shirley Lewis of Stillwater Public Schools was looking for more opportunities to provide for children with special needs and their parents She became involved with the Turning Point Ranch and enrolled five students to attend a ses-

sion each week. She plans to increase that number to 10 students in spring 2006. Currently, she is working on applications for grants that will cover the cost of the therapeutic riding sessions. "Any opportunity that we can provide for the students with disabilities we want to offer," said Lewis. "We want to make sure that the parents have choices." Jason Wright, an 18-year-old student at Stillwater Public Schools, attends hourlong sessions at Turning Point Ranch each week. Cindy Wright, Jason's mother, said he was diagnosed with mental retardation and multi-handicapped as a 1-year-old. Wright said she was concerned about Jason's first session, but then was impressed and thrilled about the way he responded to the horses. She said it greatly helps his muscle development because he has to use muscles he is not required to use in everyday life. She said riding calms him and gives him an experience he would have never had if it wasn't for this program. "It was an experience I will never forget because of the way the special needs boys reacted to the horses and how they were in awe of them," said Wright. "The boys displayed a feeling of being proud of themselves. They had mastered a skill, and that is som ething rare for them because, unfortunately, they are limited in their physical strength." She said the therapeutic riding provides an emotional type of therapy. The interaction with the horses provides a way for her son to grow and develop. "I certainly appreciate the work Mrs. Lewis did and the efforts that went into coordinating this therapy program for the special needs kids," said Wright. OSU accounting alumna Pam Carpenter has an autistic 16-year-old son, Luke, who participates in the therapeutic riding program through Stillwater Public Schools. "Therapeutic riding meets stimulation needs that kids with autism have by sensory integration," said Carpenter. "It relaxes him, and he comes home very calm and more able to focus."

What is Therapeutic Riding?

Volunteers help a student during a therapeutic riding session at Turning Point Ranch. (photo by Kristen Marcus)

Therapeutic riding offers individuals with disabilities a chance to feel great about themselves and to feel they have accomplished something. It provides a kid like Jason Wright the opportunity to yell at

Therapeutic riding is used to improve the well-being ofan individual's life. More than 30,000 individuals with disabilities are helped each year in therapeutic riding programs through the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. Therapeutic riding began in the 1950s in Europe, and NARHA was founded in 1969 to promote therapeutic riding in the United States and Canada. "NARHA wants to ensure the excellence of the boards for the therapeutic riding programs across the United States," said Kaye Marks, NARHA marketing director. "The association wants to provide a wealth of knowledge to the 700 affiliated centers." NARHA provides memberships to individuals with disabilities, family and friends of participants, instructors, therapists, administrators and individuals who want to support equine-assisted activities. Therapeutic riding centers can join and gain access to the support, promotion and education NARHA offers to its accredited centers. Centers must meet requirements prior to and after joining NARHA.

the top of his lungs, "This is the best day, Mom! Yee-haw, pony, yee-haw!" When asked how much he enjoyed his day, he screams excitedly, "Too much!" "As a special needs mom I was so

glad to be a part of this heartfelt, firsttime experience," said Cindy Wright. "To sum it all up, it was one small step for the horse and one giant leap for the special boys."


Spring 2006 35


::, u


After years ofvoluntffl1ffll li<f.liet}l" ing build homes for die comm~ of Stillwater, Okla., Earl Mitchell watched as the nation raced to his hometown of New Orleans. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's deadly touch, citizens of Stillwater and the nation worked together with strangers to rescue, cradle and nurture a dying city back to the "jewd of the South" it once was. Why do people choose to help someone they've never met? Many times, volunteerism's immediate results may be transparent, but the initial work soon lays the foundation for future members of a community to take advantage of the opportunities volunteerism provides. Mitchell, professor and head of the OSU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, decided many years ago to lead a life of service. This lifestyle has shown itselfin many ways throughout his 38-year career in OSU research and administration, including the 10 years he served as associate vice president for multicultural affairs. Mitchell serves as the adviser to the OSU student Habitat for Humanity

International, as well as past director for the Stillwater organization. According to organizational marketing information, Habitat for Humanity is committed to eliminating "poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action." It provides affordable housing for low-income families, building houses with no profit in the sale price and up to 30-year, no-interest loans. "Deeply, I really believe we are our brother's keepers; that's a religious conviction," said Mitchell. "Secondly, we ought to share what we have." Mitchell explained sharing begins at home with family and then stretches to sharing with friends and others. Strangers become the third and final level of sharing, he said. "The toughest sharing we can do, the hardest sharing we can do, is with strangers," said Mitchell. "Strangers aren't always

cffita.nt. There are a lot of strangers close to you. Students are sometimes strangers, too - people who need our help." Organizations like Habitat for Humanity invite people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with needy families. The organization uses religious organizations or community groups to find solutions to the social problem of decent housing. Many times strangers are building houses for strangers. "Earl is just one of those people who is always available to help in any way," said Ron Buck, past president of Stillwater's Habitat for Humanity affiliate. ''.At one time, he even donated office space for the affiliate to use in downtown Stillwater." Actions such as this allow organizations to provide better service for those people in need. When volunteers are available to serve in any capacity, it helps the organization become more effective in serving the community, Buck said. "Volunteerism is just one mechanism I have to provide services," said Mitchell. "That's my attitude about what I'm supposed to do while I'm here on the face of the earth - to provide service." Mitchell's time on earth began May 16, 1938, in New Orleans. He grew up in a low-income household with a father, Earl Mitchell Sr., who worked three jobs to support his family of


"He has ta ICM on the board ,and ofb~ Marcus Ashlocl<, seven. The younger Mitchell credits his upbringing and the influence ofhis service mentality and ideals to his mother, Mary Mitchell, and his paternal grandmother, Priscila Mitchell. '"Earl, never think about yourself first; think about others,'" said Mitchell, recalling something his grandmother used to say. "That stuck with me. "She was always telling me to think about the other fellow because sometimes the other fellow is having a more difficult time than you're having." Looking out for the other fellow has been a value Mitchell kept within him since his adolescent years, a value helping him succeed on many different levels. After high school, Mitchell attended Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1960. From there, Mitchell left Louisiana for Michigan, earning a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry in 1963 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1966, both from Michigan State University. Mitchell was among the "Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century" in 1996, was awarded the Oklahoma Human Rights Award from the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission in 2003, and was the keynote speaker for the Black Heritage Month program at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta in 2004. His most recent accolade was his induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in October 2005. His life's work has not gone unnoticed. Mitchell's work is not tied completely to volunteerism. The Oklahoma School for Science and Mathematics is another example of his dedication

educational opportunities for people ttl grow and develop. Formed through legislation in 1983, the school is home to some of the brightest young minds in science and math in Oklahoma. According to school information, it is designed as a two-year residential public high school for the academically gifted students in mathematics and science. "He not only planted the seed with the right people in the legislature, he followed it through to reality," said Edna Manning, president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, In 1982, with help from state House Speaker Dan Draper, state Rep. Penny Williams and state Sen. Bernice Shedrick, Mitchell was the initiator of the concept of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics and the Office of Science and Technology in the state of Oklahoma. Presently, Mitchell is on the board of trustees of the school. Mitchell read an article in Science Magazine written by the governor of North Carolina about his work creating a school of science and math in his own state. After seeing students coming to OSU for the summer programs sponsored by the Kerr Foundation, gaining new knowledge but losing that knowledge once they went home, Mitchell sent a letter to Williams outlining his idea for the same type of school in Oklahoma.

ts and ideas regularly at board

ngs so we don't sit back on the success we've had and enjoy it. He's always thinking about where we should go next

and what could we do." His visionary work laid the foundation for future students to excel in ways never before provided by the state's educational system, said Manning. According to the school, between 1992 and 2001, 850 students graduated from this accelerated program, producing 135 National Merit Scholars, 253 engineers and 70 medical doctors, as well as 60 currently in medical school. "I happened to be in the right place at the right time and knew the right people for this to happen," said Mitchell, explaining in his humble description the events taking place around the formation of the school. Rather than using his contacts

The opportunity to serve comes from (he lived on the same street as Draper) for rhe mind and heart of someone caking the his personal benefit, Mitchell gathered rime to look ahead. like-minded folks and drove the idea of "If we spend a little bit of time and a school for Oklahoma's premier science and math students forward until the idea effort to help those less fortunate by giving a hand-up rather than a hand-our, then I became a reality. "It has gone beyond any wildest really believe we are doing the right thing dream I ever had in what it could do," said and making life easier for the next generaMitchell. "It has really been an excellent tion," said Mitchell. The work opportunity." Creating That's my attitude about what I'm sup- completed opportunities posed to do while I'm here on the face by generations of his is important of the earth - to provide service. own fami ly to Mi rchell. Mitchell said Earl Mitchell occupied his he believes professor and department head mind during Hurricane his role as an Katrina. administrator "The family home my dad left for us means more than position. Students and is gone; it was totaled from being under their search for knowledge and education water for rwo weeks," said Mitchell. "Five should remain a priority. homes within the family were destroyed. "During the years I spent in administration, I came from a mentor, Dr. Norm "My uncle, who is 93, and his wife, Durham, who said our job as administrawho is 92, have lived in their house for tors was to make the job easier for those nearly 60 years. Now, everything in the doing the teaching and the learning, so world they owned is gone and has been that's our responsibility," said Mitchell. washed away." "We are here to give service," said Being away from his family in a time Mitchell. "Ir's not about us. Too many of need weighed heavily on his heart. "Ir drains you; it consumes you," said times I think administrators think it is about chem." Mitchell, when asked about the difficulty of watching his hometown, his birthplace, Using his position to .benefit others in turmoil. seems to be a quality Mitchell possesses.

He said his sister-in-law could nor be reached for days following the hurricane. "To chink I was the fourth generation born in New Orleans," said Mitchell, "and that everything that was there - the neighborhood - is gone and destroyed, it consumes you." He watched the efforts of a nation rush to chose less fortunate in their time of need, attempting to rebuild what was lost to Mother Nature. "Ir's hard to see New Orleans being destroyed and wondering if it will come back. I believe it will come back," said Mitchell with confidence. With the personal, inner courage and determination to seek opportunities for so many others, Mitchell's faith is nor lost. His servant's heart is with the thousands of people who have left the comforts of their own homes to help the strangers of his old neighborhood restore their lives to a semblance of what they once were, just as he's worked so many times before for those in need in Stillwater. ~ For information about the Stillwater af filiate ofHabitatfor Humanity, visit them on the Internet at!habitatl or call (405) 377-0403.






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Teaching for excellence by Sarah Price, Stilwell, Okla. While most students are sitting in "I didn't grow up on what most people class, students in one agricultural economwould call a farm, but we always had liveics class are hitting softballs. stock," said Norwood. "That's where I got To teach his students how to use statismy interest in agriculture." tics to explain what they have seen, Bailey You will not see Norwood on a bareNorwood and his students "play ball." back horse today, but you might catch "He has them all bat and then records him playing tennis or see him watching the angle and how far the ball went," said college football. James Trapp, agriNorwood began cultural economics his college educaDr. Bailey Norwood demands tion at Clemson department head. "Then he records excellence from himself in all University where he information on the he does. received a bachelor's students, like height degree in agriculLinda Martin and weight, to show tural economics in CASNR assistant dean 1996. He graduwhy the ball performed that way." ated from Kansas State University with a master's degree Norwood's unique manner of teaching has earned him one of the in agricul rural economics in 1997 . In U.S. Department of Agriculture's 200 l , Norwood received his doctorhighest awards. ate in economics from North Carolina In November, Norwood received the State University. National USDA Excellence in College and Since starting his University Teaching New Teacher Award in teaching career as a gradthe Food and Agricultural Sciences during uate student in 2001, the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Norwood has excelled in This prestigious honor, initiated in 2005, is the classroom. awarded to no more than four new teachers "Dr. Bailey Noreach year. wood demands excel"Not only is this award a tremendous lence from himself in all honor for Dr. Norwood, but it is also an he does," said Martin. honor for th e college and university," "He seeks out every opsaid Linda Martin, assistant dean for the portunity for personal Oklahoma Seate University College ofAggrowth and improvement. ricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. He is a student of how "The award recognizes outstanding teachstudents learn." ing at the national level and is considered It took one economto be one of the top teach ing awards ics class to get Norwood in agriculture." interested in teaching. The teachers honored with chis award "I never liked school excel at teaching, make a positive impact when I was young and on student learning and influence other wasn't even crazy about teachers by example, according to the Web going to college," he said. site of the Cooperative State Research, "M y first two years of Education and Extension Service. college were horrible, but Norwood grew up in South Carolina then I took chis class." where he enjoyed training horses, calf ropRobert McCormick, ing, team roping and bareback riding. the teacher who changed




C Norwood's opinion on school, teaches economics classes at Clemson. "He made me really love economics," said Norwood. "Within a month, I changed from someone who hated school to someone who wanted to be a professor." Thanks to an amazing class and a dedicated teacher, Norwood was soon working to become a professor. Oklahoma was not Norwood's first choice for a home, but his path eventually led him to Stillwater. "I always thought I would return to the East, but then, low and behold, an awesome job opened up at Oklahoma State University," he said. OSU's strong emphasis on teaching and excellent faculty attracted Norwood to his position. He liked Oklahoma and the university's strong ties to agriculture. Norwood started chat "awesome" job less than three years ago.

Bailey Norwood received the National USDA Excellence in College and University Teaching New Teacher Award in November. (photo by Sarah Price)

Spring 2006 39

Receiving the New Teacher Award chis early in Norwood's career is truly amazing, explained Martin. "He had cough competition nationally," said Marcin. "He has received chis honor prior co his third year of teaching, which is just phenomenal." While teaching agricultural marketing and price analysis (AGEC 3333) and quantitative price analysis (AGEC 4213) in the agricultural economics department, Norwood works hard to make a connection with his students. He strives to be creative and encouraging. "I try to make my students really understand chat I feel what I am doing is important," said Norwood. In his classes, Norwood stresses the importance of each lesson. Using examples and relating class co real-life experiences help students understand the specific goal and purpose of each lesson, explained Norwood. "Dr. Norwood relates very well to his students," said Trapp. "He seems co always be looking for a novel way co keep things interesting." Cole Gallaway, an agribusiness senior, said he appreciates Norwood's sryle of teaching. "He has us read books chat relate economics to the real world," said Gallaway. Building relationships with students inside and outside of the classroom is important co Norwood. At the beginning of each year, he arranges a dodge ball game for his undergraduate students. "It is a way to get co know people," said Norwood. "I cry to go out of my way

Bailey Norwood becomes both pitcher and teacher during a unique ag econ lab. (photo by Sarah Price)

40 Cowboy Journal

Bailey Norwood (kneeling) measures the distance Nicholle Renshaw's ball traveled as her classmates wait to take their turn. Students in Norwood's classes can expect to learn inside and outside the classroom. (photo by Sarah Price)

co get kids together, co meet chem and to have fun with chem." Coaching an academic bowl team and serving as adviser for Aggie-X, an agriculcural economics club, are ocher ways Norwood interacts with students outside of the classroom. Kyle Hooper, an agricultural economics alumnus, said he liked having Norwood as a professor. "Most everyone likes to have a relationship with their professors," said Hooper. "You were able to have chat relationship with him because he was so personable." Ac only 31, Norwood's age plays a role in building relationships with his students. "He connects with us very well," said Gallaway. "He is not too much older than all of us." His age helps keep class interesting. Humor plays a role in Norwood's classes. "I have co make class fun," Norwood said, "whether it is making it into a game or playing a joke in class." Gallaway said he enjoys each class he attends. "He makes it fun co go co," said Gallaway. "He shows a lot of video clips and really gets us involved." Joining in discussion and getting involved in lessons are encouraged in Norwood's classes. "He would bring food and pop co

class," said Hooper. "We were rewarded for participating in activities." When he is not busy teaching or advising, Norwood works on agriculcural marketing research projects. His award includes $2,000 for the purpose of strengthening instructional programs in the food and agricultural sciences, according co the CSREES Web site. The award money will be used for research on the value employers place on various college graduate attributes, said Norwood. Norwood said he feels honored and fortunate to have been selected for the New Teacher Award. "We have a good administration here chat helps us get these awards," he said. "Receiving chis award shows chat we are doing the right things at OSU." Martin explained chat having a recipient of the new teacher award shows students at OSU are taught by the best teachers in the country. "This award reflects the culcure of the college, as well as che commitment of our faculry for excellence in teaching," said Martin. While Norwood is the first CASNR faculry member co earn chis USDA award, the college's administration knows he will not be the lase. The administration's helpful attitude and outstanding faculry members, guarantees future winners.


Developing a renewable future for Oklahoma



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by Everett Brazil Ill, Cashion, Okla.

Oklahoma has long been a major source of energy for the United States. One of the nation's largest oil booms occurred in the state in the early 1900s, and even today, Oklahoma has one of the nation's largest supplies of natural gas. As petroleum supplies slowly are depleted, the world is searching for energy sources. Research at Oklahoma State University is developing sources for consumer use from Oklahoma's most abundant resources, including wind and grass.

Turning perennial grass into ethanol The prairie is a sea of waving grass. Endless waves greeted the pioneers as they made their way west through the Plains. With a prime location on the Southern Plains, Oklahoma not only has an abundance of waving grass, but it also contains plenty of fertile farmland to grow it. Researchers at OSU are studying this plentiful resource as a source for ethanol for production. The idea for the research project was first planted by former Oklahoma Gov. Henry Bellmon.

"(Bellmon] had heard about this type of process and wanted to take advantage of Oklahoma's ability to grow the grasses to support the process," said Ray Huhnke, professor in the OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and a leader of the project. The research, which began about five years ago, is a team effort among different individuals, including researchers at the University of Oklahoma and Mississippi State University. Scientists study everything from the grass to the creation of ethanol. Huhnke's role is focused on the harvesting and storage of the biomass and the gasification of the material, a process of burning that converts the biomass to several gases. The research team has successfully produced ethanol - but only on a laboratory scale. Production has reached about 30 gallons of ethanol per ton of dry material, which is too little for commercial production, said Huhnke. Output should reach at least 60 gallons per ton of dry material before an ethanol plant can be built, he said.

Ray Huhnke holds a handful of switchgrass that will be p rocessed into ethanol. (photo by Dustin M ielke)

The ultimate goal is ro make the process commercially viable and have a facility built to process grass into ethanol, said Huhnke. An OSU study predicted 30 jobs can be provided to area residents with a processing plant capable of producing 50 million gallons of ethanol per year, while local farmers, on the whole, can receive up to $7 million per year, said Huhnke. Researchers plan to test different grasses grown in Oklahoma, but for now, they are only studying switchgrass and bermudagrass. "There has been a lot of interest from farmers [to grow the grasses], but we haven't pursued that yet," said Huhnke. "We'll need producers at the commercial point, but right now, we're too small."

Turning canola into biodiesel When people think of canola, many think of the healthiest cooking oil on the market. However, cooking oil is not the only product that can be obtained from canola, and researchers at OSU are trying to determine if the production ofbiodiesel would be profitable in Oklahoma. The interest in canola originally focused on the benefits from crop rotation and diversification. "Some fields have grown wheat for more than 100 years," said Thomas Peeper, professor in the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and a leader of the canola project. "Every type of pest in wheat has favorable circumstances." To break the pest cycle, farmers needed a rotation crop. The first crop of canola was planted about 15 years ago but failed to survive the winter. In fall 2002, an OSU research station in Goodwell, Okla., grew a crop of cold-resistant canola with modest success. With success at a cold winter research station, researchers at the OSU campus in Stillwater, Okla., decided to go ahead with the project. Following the first successful season of canola, researchers decided to take the crop Spring 2006 41

A wind turbine at the Weatherford wind farm generates electricityfor western Oklahoma. (photo by Everett Brazil III)

to the farmers to determine if Oklahoma farmers would be willing to grow the crop in their fields. Research is still continuing with farmers in Oklahoma. "We don't want to push too fast," said Peeper. "We want to try to teach farmers to raise canola - it may be more profitable than wheat." Current research is determining if a canola-crushing processing plant would be profitable in the state. Researchers are studying everything from projected acreage to the crop prices and the costs of building of a processing plant. They are determining if farmers would be willing to invest in a canola cooperative processing plant, said Phil Kenkel, professor in the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics and a researcher with the canola project. "It guarantees the farmer [a place] in the canola market and helps the plant be successful," he said. Getting a processing plant built in the state would be a big step forward for canola production in Oklahoma. Currently, there is not a plant in the state, but one is planned for Enid, Okla., with an opening date of June 2006. When the plant is built, researchers still will need to determine what to do with the canola. "When the seed is crushed, they obtain a high-quality oil," said Peeper. "That oil can be used for either biodiesel or cooking oil." Rising diesel prices affect most of the U.S. transportation system, and the

42 Cowboy Journal

agricultural sector uses diesel for operation. The higher fuel prices are making it more difficult for companies and producers to do business, said Peeper. Biodiesel is gaining more acceptance as a fuel source. Researchers are studying different crops that can be used to produce diesel, and more processing plants are being built across the country. There are 32 biodiesel plants in operation in the United States today, producing 300 million gallons of diesel, said Kenkel. With a canola processing plant, Oklahoma would have a cheaper, renewable fuel source and a product for other states. The canola processing plants will determine which product will be produced. Oklahoma canola is shipped to biodiesel plants. Additionally, the companies interested in building plants in Oklahoma intend to produce biodiesel, said Kenkel. "IfI were to build one [a plant] right now, it's a little more likely I'd go biodiesel," said Kenkel.

Turning wind into electricity Windmills are not new to Oklahoma. Since the days of the Land Run of 1889, farmers have built windmills across the state, using the abundant wind to pump water from the ground. While windmills have been used for many years to generate electricity for private use, they have been built to generate electricity for public consumption only in the past few years. Oklahoma currently has three wind farms. The farms in Lawton, Okla., and Woodward, Okla., were built in 2003, while the Weatherford, Okla., wind farm is still under construction. Additional wind turbines are projected, with plans to double the sizes of the wind farms in Lawton and Weatherford. "This isn't something whose time will come in 10 years; these [wind farms] are producing electricity now," said Steve Stadler, climatologist and professor in the OSU Department of Geology. The farms are built on private lands but are owned by out-of-state utility companies. The companies lease the property from the owners and pay them for the use of the land. The electricity generated by the turbines is owned by the power companies and sold to local electric cooperatives for use by Oklahomans. Utility companies use two methods to pay land owners: royalties and fixed payments. Royalties are paid as a percent-

age of electricity produced, similar to oil wells. The other option is fixed payments, which are usually $2,500 to $3,500 per year per turbine, said Greg Adams, farmer from Buffalo, Okla., and president of the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council. Adams is working with a company in Edmond, Okla., to bring more turbines to the northwest corner of the state. ''All companies are competing, so all percentages and royalcies are about the same," he said. Getting a utility company to build on your property can be a difficult task, said Adams. Locations for wind farms are determined both by the wind resource available and by access to large-scale power grids. Development companies send their own team of experts to look at different locations suitable for wind farms. After a location has been determined and the contracts have been signed, a team of engineers for the development company looks at the block ofland to determine the layout of the farm. Once planning for the farm is finished, construction crews build che wind turbines. The length of time to build a farm is determined by the overall size of the farm and the number of turbines to be built. Having a wind farm on private property does not mean it can no longer be used for agricultural production. The wind turbines are spread out among many acres and pieces of property, and each turbine only occupies about 100 square feet of land, said Adams. "Utility-scale wind farms don't limit production, but they do change che property," he said. "It's not pristine, native pasture land, but the revenue screams are pretty profitable." The revenue earned is another advantage to having wind turbines on the property. The energy revenue can exceed chat of many agricultural commodities, such as cattle and wheat, said Adams. "It's a very profitable use of the land," he said. Mose of the pocen rial for wind energy has already been mapped. The Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative, which is a joint project between OSU and OU, has worked co assess the wind power within the state. The group has no ties to any of the wind farms - it was created four years before the first farms were built. The original goal of che organization was to determine where che best locations to harvest wind would

be. Stadler has been with the organization from the beginning. "We knew wind power would be very big in the U. S., and we wanted Oklahoma involved in it," said Stadler. Tim Hughes, who at the time was at OU, and Stadler worked to measure wind for the Oklahoma Mesonet, which is an important, on-going agricultural tool that measures climatic conditions, including wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and temperature. They created the instruments used to measure wind speed across the state and were behind efforts to place the instruments in all 77 counties. Although the instruments gather wind data for the on-going Mesonet project, they also have been used to gather data for the OWPI project, modeling where in the state most of the wind is located. Researchers with the project want to study the wind more but they need upgraded instruments to further the research. Current instruments measure the wind at 10 meters, which is considerably shorter than many modern wind towers. Wind turbines can be built higher than 50 meters above the ground, said Stadler.

"Ac chat height, the wind moves differently - it's a little bit faster," he said. "We know what the patterns are, but we want to know more about the resource." Because much of the wind data already has been mapped, the OWPI has shifted its focus from research to education. Many people don't understand wind farms or the electricity produced by the wind, so the OWPI is educating the public about the resource, said Stadler. While experts agree wind power will never provide all of Oklahoma's electricity needs, most agree generating electricity from the wind is great for Oklahoma, especially in the western counties. "It's a good idea to be in this game for rural development," said Stadler.

While it's doubtful these resources will meet Oklahoma's energy needs, they will go far in lowering the nation's dependence on petroleum and reaffirm Oklahoma's position as an energy leader.


For more about renewable energy, the following contacts can provide information: Ray Huhnke, professor, OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at (405) 744-6059 or http://www. biosystems. okstate. edu; •

Thomas Peeper, professor, OSU Department ofPlant and Soil Sciences at (405) 744-6425 or http://www.pss. okstate. edu;

Oklahoma's renewable future Oklahoma is a rural state. With wideopen spaces and fertile farm land, the state has the resources to produce renewable energy. Beyond the resources covered in chis story, hydropower, geothermal power and solar power bring energy to Oklahoma, and the state is taking advantage of its renewable energy potential.

Phil Kenkel, professor, OSU Department of Agricultural Economics at (405) 744-6161 orhttp://www.agecon. okstate. edu; and •

Steve Stadler, professor, Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative at (405) 744-9172 or http://www.seic. okstate. edulowpi.


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CAP~Bt\NK Spring 2006 43

I Monitoring the weather by Alicia Evicks, Wilburton, Okla. Highs in the 1OOs. Lows in the single digits and below. Humidity. Wind. Snow. Ice storms. Thunderstorms. Tornadoes. Oklahoma weather is uncontrollable, but it is not unpredictable. The Oklahoma Mesonet allows residents to plan around the weather.

When it all started In the 1980s, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma saw the need for a comprehensive weather monitoring system to be introduced to the state. OSU wanted to know more about the weather and the environment co help agriculture and natural resources, and OU wanted to expand upon its reputation as a leading meteorology establishment. In 1991, the universities and the Oklahoma Climatological Survey received funding to design and build the Oklahoma Mesonec. As of 1994, the network was fully operational and has been improving ever smce. "The two universities have worked together very closely, and it's been a very productive relationship," said Ronald Elliott, department head for OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. "To the best of our knowledge, the Mesonet is the premier real-time weather monitoring network in the country." The Mesonet is funded through the state legislature, external grants, local TV networks and federal sources, said J.D. Carlson, associate researcher for the OSU Department of Bios.y stems and Agricultural Engineering. What is the Mesonet? Mesonet is a combination of the meteorological term "mesoscale," which refers 44 Cowboy Journal

to a weather event, like a thunderstorm, chat can range in size from one mile co 150 miles and can last several minutes co several hours and the word "network," said Carlson. This system measures the environment of Oklahoma in mesoscale weather patterns, giving residents accurate information. "The Oklahoma Mesonet is an extremely valuable cool to determine current and past weather conditions and as an aid in day-co-day planning," said Joshua Morris, a master's student in the OSU Department of Plane and Soil Sciences. The Oklahoma Mesonet system includes 116 automated stations covering Oklahoma's 77 counties. Each station monitors the environment with instruments located on or near a 10-meter-tall cower. The observations from these towers are then transmitted using the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System co a central facility every five minutes. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey, located in Norman, Okla., verifies the quality of the observations and provides the data co the public. The whole process, from the time the measurements are taken co the time it reaches the public, typically cakes no longer than 15 minutes. Data collected from the stations include air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, rainfall, solar radiation, soil temperature and soil moisture. The main way for Oklahoma residents to access Mesonec information is to connect co the Mesonec's Web site.

How the Mesonet helps agriculture Data gathered from the Mesonet are

packaged and placed on a Web site tailored for agriculture. This site, "Oklahoma Agweather," is easy co use and provides all of the latest and most recent weather information available, said Carlson. "We average close to 5,000 unique users a month," said Al Sutherland, Mesonet extension specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Weather is a key factor when making decisions dealing with agriculture and natural resources, said Elliott. For chose using the Agweather Web site, these decisions can be made with greater ease and reassurance. "We do use the Mesonet a lot," said Jeannie Hileman, m anager of Farmers Cooperative Gin in Carnegie, Okla. "My farmers call constantly to check humidity levels. I chink a majority of my progressive farmers in this area probably have the Agweather site bookmarked as one of their favorite sites." Information about soil conditions, weather conditions, environmental conditions, management questions, links to commodity markets, OSU production publications and links to producer associations can be found on the Agweacher Web site. Sutherland said agricultural models found on the site can help producers reduce irrigation and pest control expenses. The Evapotranspiration Model can help monitor crop water use. Ocher models found on the site can help track disease infection hours and indicate the best time to apply a fungicide. The site also has pest control models co help in controlling such things as weevils. The Agweacher Web site helps crack environmental concerns such as fire danger

and pollutant dispersion. The Oklahoma Fire Danger Model is an internationally recognized model that helps in decisions related to wildfires and prescribed burns, according to the Agweather Web site. "The thing I use the Mesonet most for is our prescribed burning business," said ]. Grant Huggins of Resource Stewards in Ardmore, Okla. "We primarily use it for forecasting weather because weather conditions are extremely important on a burning day. We have to know the best forecast possible to predict wind speed and direction and humidity." Carlson said the Oklahoma Mesonet provides other benefits to residents. Important weather information impacting emergency management, education in schools, energy savings plans such as wind and solar energy, weather forecasting and drought management are aided by the Mesonet. "It's just a very useful tool," said Allen Terry, general manager of Central OK Services in Marshall, Okla. "You can get some real detail on what the clouds are do-

• • • • •

• •

ing around you or what the wind is doing around you and pinpoint your location." Emergency management officials use the Mesonet in times when wind and precipitation could maximize an already dangerous situation. This system also is used if there is a need for evacuation because of weather conditions. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry uses the Mesonet data to declare "red flag fire alert" days, which are days that have a higher risk for spreading fires. Carlson said the Mesonet provides more frequent and densely spaced data to forecasters, which result in better lead time for warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Rainfall totals are used to anticipate drought situations and to provide an overview of the state's condition.

The future of the Mesonet '"The sky's the limit' for Mesonet," said Sutherland. Elliot said the Oklahoma Mesonet is the world's most extensive and data-rich

weather system; the challenge is to figure out ways to use all the data it provides. Research is being done every day to create new models and charts for producers and residents to use. Residents of Oklahoma have a fantastic resource at their disposal, said Elliott. The Mesonet offers all the weather information one would need in making weather-related decisions. "It is a tremendous resource," said Elliott. "Some are taking advantage of it, and many more could."


For more information, visit the Mesonet Web site at or visit the OklahomaAgweather Web site at Photos: Oklahoma's weather is best explained visually. Photosp rovided by (from left) ToddJohnson, Agricultural Communications Services; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; JD. Carlson, OSU Department ofBiosystems and Agricultural Engineering; Oklahoma Climatological Survey; Danny Cheresnich, Oklahoma Climatological Survey; and Oklahoma Mesonet.

The state's record low of 27 below zero occurred Jan. 18, 1930, at Watts. On Feb. 4, 1996, Stillwater's Mesonet station reported a low of 18 below zero . In March, temperatures in the teens may warm to the 80s after only a few days . In April, rarely does a week pass when there are no severe thunderstorm or tornado watches blanketing part of the state. Seventy tornadoes were reported in the state May 3, 1999 . On June 8, 1988, a temperature of 115 was recorded at the Altus Air Force Base, which was the highest temperature recorded for that day in the nation. In July, temperatures frequently exceed 100 . The cities of Lahoma and Drummond were in the path of a devastating hail storm that featured baseball-sized hail stones and winds measuring as high as 113 mph Aug. 17, 1994. September presents a transition between hot summer days and cool winter nights . In Lawton, the wind chill factor plummeted to more than 20 below zero, just two days after an overnight low of 60 in October 1986. In 2002, Tulsa set a record high temperature of 84 for November. On Christmas Day 1987, an ice storm left more than 60,000 Oklahoma homes without electricity, as wires began to collapse under the weight of the ice. Information provided by the Oklahoma C limarological Survey

Spring 2006 45

Working to secure the future of agriculture in Oklahoma


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â&#x20AC;˘ BAE teams win big at national competitions by Marcus Ashlock, Harrison, Ark. Students in the Oklahoma State University biosystems and agricultural engineering department have continued the tradition of winning big at national competitions. The Cowboy Motorsports team set out to design and build a 1/4-scale pulling tractor for an international collegiate competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. Having entered the contest since 1998, the OSU team had placed fourth until 2004 when it won first place. In the summer of 2005, the team successfully defended its title, securing another first place win. Cowboy Waterworks is another student organization focused on design and application. Competing in the G.B . Gunslogson Fountain Wars Design Competition in Tampa this summer, the design team won first place. According to the team's brochure, students get the opportunity to gain handson, real-time knowledge of h ydraulic design and modeling. Agricultural engineering seniors Joe Biggerstaff, a Motorsports team member from Medford, Okla. , and Brian Dillard,

Ryan Haar (left) and Justin Street drive home school spirit during the "Sea of Orange" homecoming parade. They are representatives ofthe Cowboy Motorsports team driving the tractors they designed and built. (photo by Sarah Price)

Waterworks team member from Caney, Okla., echoed each other when describing the benefits of participating in such events. W hen asked about the most enjoyable

aspect of being on one of the teams, both Biggerstaff and Dillard said it was the "teamwork" and "getting the opportunity to apply what we've learned."


â&#x20AC;˘ Stone wins OSU's highest faculty award by Marcus Ashlock, Harrison, Ark. Oklahoma State University's Eminent Faculty Award for 2005 was presented to Marvin Stone, regents professor in the OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Stone was recognized for his outstanding contributions in teaching and research. "I was a little surprised Marvin Stone (left) accepts his award from OS U Presiactually," said Stone when dent David Schmidly. Stone's work in teaching and research asked abo ut his feelings in has earned him OSU's Eminent Faculty Award. (photo by winning the award. "It is very Todd Johnson) gratifying to be recognized

by your colleagues within the university. It's also humbling, as there are a lot of faculty who are much more qualified than I am to receive the award." According to OSU administration information, the award is the highest and most prestigious honor given to faculty members of the OSU system. Hi s students agree his award was earned. "Dr. Stone dedicates so much of his life to his research and to his students," said Kristen Stephens, an agricultural engineering junior from Kingfisher, Okla. "The time and caring attitude he puts toward the students allows him to be deserving of this award."


Spring 2006 47

• Take a class you will never forget by Michelle Clogston, Afton, Okla. sity Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources offers up to 10 studyabroad programs each year. In 2006, more than 100 students will travel the world. Advanced planning is required for study-abroad programs. Although all OSU students are eligible during any semester, financial planning is necessary. The programs cost between $1,000 to $2,000, plus airfare, tuition for credit hours and spending money. Destinations and departure times for the rwo-week proJohn Kyle Evicks (left) and Steve Fowler enjoy a trip in a gondola in venice, grams in 2006 are Italy, on a study-abroad trip. (photo by Alicia Evicks) to Honduras during Looking for an exciting way to study? The Office of International Agricultural Programs in the Oklahoma State Univer-

spring break; to China, England, Japan, Mexico, Italy and Peru in May after finals week; and to Thailand during winter break. Along with learning about other cultures, study-abroad programs give students the opportunity to get to know professors and make life-long friendships. "People go to find out about other countries but find out a lot about themselves," said David Henneberry, assistant dean of international agricultural programs. "Every course we have has something special and unique about it."


For more information about upcoming study abroad trips, call (405) 744-5398 or send an e-mail to david.henneberry@okstate. edu. To visit the International Agricultural Programs Web site, click on International Travel at, andfollow the international agriculture link.

• New major born to create leaders by Amber Harrell-Simmons, Rogers, Ark. Oklahoma State University's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has added a new major in agricultural leadership within the OSU Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and 4-H Youth Development. The agricultural leadership major is built on five core values: commitment to agriculture, authentic leadership, open minds, critical thinking and professionalism. "The five concepts are integrated throughout the curriculum," said Penny

Pennington, assistant professor in agricultural leadership at OSU. Agricultural leadership students are given "a broad-based sense of agriculture," said Pennington. Outside of leadership coursework, students become familiar with agriculture through coursework in areas such as agricultural economics, animal science, and plant and soil sciences. Students who are interested in studying leadership may pursue a major or a minor in the field. A minor requires 20 hours of agricultural leadership coursework and a major requires 120 hours of coursework.

Agricultural leadership will have its first graduates in May 2006. There are approximately 40 students in this major. Along with the founding of the new major is the founding of a student organization, the Leadership League. The Leadership League is for students pursuing leadership within an agricultural context. OSU is the first university to recognize an undergraduate program in agricultural leadership. The Association of Leadership Educators recognized agricultural leadership at OSU as the outstanding program of the year in July 2005.


• Cowboy becomes new vet dean by Randall Heldermon, Hinton, Okla. A new dean has been appointed to the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Michael D . Lorenz was chosen for the job, after serving three years as the interim dean. Lorenz is the first OSU alumnus to serve as dean. He received a bachelor's degree from OSU in 1967 and his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1969.

48 Cowboy Journal

" Ir is a lot of fun ," said Lorenz. "I know a lot of the people that I get to work with, and they make this job even better." Lorenz trained at Cornell University and was board certified in 1976. He spent 16 years at the University of Georgia and six years at Kansas Stare University. He served as professor and associate dean for

academic affairs at the vet school for fo ur years before becoming interim dean in 2001. Dean Michael D. Lorenz (photo by Kimberly Nabors)






Celebrating success Ifyou take a good look around the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, you'll be able to find many successes in our students, faculty and staff OSU gained national attention when one of our students was elected president of the National FFA Organization. Travis Jett, an agribusiness/pre-law junior.from Laverne, Okla., saw his dream become reality when he was elected to the office Oct. 29, 2005. He will take a year offofschool to travel the country to meet with FFA members, agriculture teachers, FFA supporters, and business, government and education leaders. Agricultural economics Assistant Professor Bailey Norwood made OSU history when he received the New Teacher Award .from the USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards Program. While the New Teacher Award category is new this year, the awards program has been in p lace for 14 years. His award marks the first time OS Uhas received one ofthese USDA awards (Page 39). The OSUAlumni Association has taken notice ofthe successes ofseveral CASNR students and presented them with the Seniors of Significance Award. This award recognizes students who have excelled in scholarship,

leadership and service to the campus and community and have brought distinction to OS U CASNR students who were recognized include Michael Albert, Beaver, Okla., landscape architecture major with a minor in international business; Ashleigh Boggs, Cyril, Okla., agribusiness and pre-law emphasis with a minor in English; Traci Harp, Pawnee, Okla., biochemistry and molecular biology; Jordan Russell, Freedom, Okla., agribusiness major with a minor in political science; Stephen Tidwell, Marlow, Okla., biochemistry and molecular biology; Nicole Stec, Fort Smith, Ark., animal science major; and jess Waddell, Sutton, Neb., animal science pre-veterinary medicine. Work nears completion on the new Student Success Center located on the first floor of Ag Hall. The center is designed as a "home" for all aspects related to student development, including recruitment, retention and assistance with employment opportunitiesfollowing graduation. We encourage alumni to come see the new Student Success Center and interact with our outstanding students and staff You can learn more about the Student Success Center on Page 1. Thanks to a significant increase in recurring funding provided by the 2005 Oklahoma legislature for research and coop-

-- ---

OklahomaA&M College class of1955 received a warm welcome at the Agriculture Alumni Association Homecoming Barbecue. The celebration marked their 50th anniversary as College ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources graduates. Twenty-four alums returned to cheer on their Oklahoma State University Cowboys against the University of Texas Longhorns. (photo by Alicia Evicks)

erative extension called the Second Century Initiative, coupled with OSU President and System CEO David Schmidly's Restore, Reward and Grow program, CASNR is filling a number ofnew faculty positions. These new positions are in key areas that will provide great opportunities for students, alumni and stakeholders. A second phase of the Second Century Initiative will be proposed in the 2006 legislative session. The Ag A lumni Association board is planning the 2006 Access Tour. Please see Page 20 for more information about the 2005 Access Tour. Previous tours were quite successful and provided yet another opportunity to interact with CASNR alumni. We are always looking/or opportunities to create more ties between our students and alumni. Our alumni are an important aspect ofCASNR, and we look forward to working with you in the years to come.

Robert E. Whitson Vice President, Dean, and Director Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Oklahoma State University

Ag Alumni host barbecue T h e Oklah o m a Stat e University Agriculture Alumni Association hosted more than 400 alumni, faculty, students and friends of the college at its annual homecoming barbecue Oct. 29. During the even t, the association honored 5-, 10-, 25- and 50-year graduates and elected a new board of directors. All honorees received a CASNR lapel pin, and the 50-year graduates in attendance received a co llector's cap: Lawrence Adams, Andy Alexander, Delbert Black, Bill Chitwood, Everett Cole, Daryl Davis, Thad Forrester, Floyd Hawk, Jack Hildinger, James Marler, Jim McElhany, Tom Mikles, George Nall, Marion Owen, Richard Price, John Pursell, Eugene Reeves, Larry Sams, Carl Shafer, Don Sherrill, Jack Stout, C harles Tefft, Milton Wells and Kirk Woodworth.

Spring 2006 49


Ag Alumni Board Barry Bessinger 542 Sunset Drive Watonga, OK 73772 Wes Elliot Route 1 Box 1660 Elk City, OK 73644 Brent Garvie P.O. Box 76 Burlington, OK 73722 Jason Harvey 906 Sabra Pass El Reno, OK 73036 Clay Jones P.O. Box 749 Durant, OK 74702 Brent Kisling 100 USDA Suite 108 Stillwater, OK 74074 Jami Longacre P.O. Box 460 Kellyville, OK 74039

C.L.A.S.S. Conference The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources invites alumni to join in celebrating the accomplishments and future successes of its current and former students during the fourth annual Creating Life Accomplishments beyond Student Success Conference. With a focus on premier personal and professional development for individuals interested in leading the future of agriculture and natural resources, the C.L.A.S.S. Conference combines outstanding, interactive and educational activities for all CASNR students and alumni. Initiated in 2002, the C.L.A.S.S. Conference began as a professional development experience for CASNR graduating seniors to aid these young leaders in making a smooch transition into their new roles as working professionals or graduate students. The vision for the C.L.A.S.S. Conference has evolved with a new mission of providing opportunities for personal and professional development on issues relevant to the entire CASNR student body, as well as alumni. Participants gather to learn about issues and topics chat relate to both their personal and professional lives. They share their experiences, ideas and

best practices in support of a bright future for the agriculture and natural resources industries. In addition, seniors graduating from CASNR are recognized for their accomplishments and achievements. C.L.A.S.S. Conference is an outstanding opportunity for learning, celebration and fellowship with members of the CASNR family. The 2006 C.L.A.S.S. Conference is Feb. 4, 2006, on the OSU campus. Workshop topics for chis year's conference include advocating for agriculture and natural resources, innovations in agritourism, workplace diversification, homeland security issues in agriculture and others. The event also will include a unique opportunity to "speed nerwork" with ocher alumni and current students and a chance to show your "orange power" during a watch party for the Oklahoma State Univeristy vs. Kansas State University men's basketball game. Conference registration is $10 per person for students and alumni, with free registration for graduating seniors. Registration deadline is Jan. 25, 2006. More information is available under "Events and Calendar" on the Career Services Web site at

Linda C. Martin 136 Ag Hall Stillwater, OK 74078 Jack Pritchard 3401 N. Rose Road Stillwater, OK 74075 Shelly Ramsey 7504 Station Master Road Jones, OK 73049 Kim Spady Route 2 Box 90 Hinton, OK 73047 Steve Upson 2510 Sam Noble Ardmore, OK 73401 Wayne Walters Route 1 Box 1660 Canute, OK 73626

50 Cowboy Journal

7hep Phongparnich {right), p resident ofMaejo University in 7hailand, received OSU's D istinguished International Alumni Award on Nov. 12, 2 005. Phongparnich graduated from OSU in 1978 with a doctorate in agricultural education. H e celebrated with the members ofhis graduate committee: Cecil D ugger (left), Ray Campbell, Bob Terry and Jim Key. (photo by D avid H enneberry)

Supporting every step to student success Forestry Horticulture Landscape Architecture Landscape Contracting Animal Science

Plant & Soil Sciences

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering

Pre-Medical Sciences

Agricultural Economics


Pre-Veterinary Sciences

Agricultural Education

Environmental Science

Turf Management

Agricultural Leadership

Food Science

Agribusiness Agricultural Communications


College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources • Oklahoma State University 136 Agricultural Hall• Stillwater, OK 7~•(405) 744-5395 • • Cowboy Journal Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and 4-H Youth Development 448 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, OK 74078-6031

Profile for Cowboy Journal

Cowboy Journal v8n1  

Cowboy Journal Volume 8, Number 1 Spring 2006 Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Cowboy Journal v8n1  

Cowboy Journal Volume 8, Number 1 Spring 2006 Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources


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