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COWBOY JOURNAL Volume 8

.A. Number 2 .A. Fall 2006 Editors Courtney Hentges Tierra Layton

Sponsorship Coordinators Dustie Butner Tracy Smith

Photo Coordinators Autumn Ankenman Janet Herren

Graphics Coordinator Dustin Mielke

Circulation Coordinator Whitney Highsmith-Collins

Web Editor Katie Stacy

Staff Amy Bailey Jen Biser Luke Carr Kacey Herndon Jennie Kirkland Abby Korporal Jenny Matthews Missy Nilan Nancy Potter Becky Rowles Wesley Watson

Managing Editor

Cowboy Journal Staff

Janet Herren (back left), Abby Korporal, Jenny Matthews, Whitney Highsmith-Collins, Jennie Kirkland, Tierra Layton, Missy Nilan, Jen Biser, Tracy Smith, Courtney Hentges, Luke Carr (front left), Kacey Herndon, Nancy Potter, Wesley Watson, Amy Bailey, Autumn Ankenman, Becky Rowles, Dustie Butner, Katie Stacy and Dustin Mielke (photo by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop)

From The Editors Wow! What an amazing year this has been. Cowboy Journal would not have been possible this year without Gayle Hiner, Larry Sanders, Office of Institutional Diversity, Karen Hickman, Todd Johnson, Elizabeth Whitfield, Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop, Bonnie Milby, David Peters, "Oklahoma Horizon," Kent Boggs, the National FFA Organization and OSU Special Collections and University Archives staff. Special thanks go to the assistant managing editors who continually encouraged us to become successful professionals. Shelly Sitton: Thank you for the guidance and dedication you give to the Cowboy Journal. Without your advice and experience our education would not be complete. Staff: Without you there would be no Cowboy Journal. Thank you for your hard work. ¡

Shelly Peper Sitton

Assistant Managing Editors Cindy Blackwell Dwayne Cartmell Julie Focht

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

Visit the Cowboy Journal Web site: http://cowboyjournal.okstate.edu 4 • Cowboy Journal


Contents I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I

Alumni

10 A Capitol success CASNR alumna Rachel Hubbard hits the airwaves as KOSU's Capitol correspondent

Students

29 A leader 15 years in the making As national FFA president, an OSU student helps high school students become leaders

Research

I I I I I I

42 From tomatoes to wheat? OSU researchers help farmers battle drought through genetic research

Extension

On the cover - - - - - - - - CASNR honors the past, celebrates the present and looks to the future. (photo by Autumn Ankenman)

47 Fight fire with fire Playing with fire so Oklahoma does not get burned

Alumni

Students

Research

Step back in time at OSU 6 Remembering the Animal Husbandry Building

Agricultural careers: the BIG picture 20 Graduates can find a bright outlook

Museum provides national resource 37 Insect collections facing extinction

Entrepreneur honors brother with CASNR scholarship 8 A family honors the memory of an OSU student

Good ride, cowboy 22 OSU students reinvent the horse

OSU brings fine dining to Stillwater 39 Two thriving programs join hands

Harvey steps up as president 13 The Agriculture Alumni Association names its new president Still a champion 16 Past CASNR top senior recalls his time atOSU Ag Alumni Association 49 Rep. Frank Lucas honored as distinguished alumnus

International students become Cowboys 24 Finding a new home at OSU

Faculty

Agricultural students serve campus, community, state, nation 26 Students focus on service

Faculty flunk retirement 18 Three retired professors just can't stay away from OSU

CASNR helps change the face of agriculture 33 Diversity makes CASNR stronger

Extension

Seniors lead by example 35 CASNR top 10 students find success

Little flies fulfill big dreams 44 Parasitic fly fighting fire ant crime Fall 2006 • 5


Alumni

The Animal Husbandry Building and Livestock Pavilion was occupied in September 1924. Some of the utilities to the building, however, were not connected until several months later. (photo courtesy of OSU Special Collections and University Archives)

Step back in time at osu by Dustie Butner, Tecumseh, Okla. Always thought Old Central was the first structure on the campus of Oklahoma State University? Think again. The Experiment Station Barn, the first permanent structure on campus, was one of four wood-framed buildings completed in 1892. Construction began on Old Central in 1893. Commonly referred to as the Horse Barn, its initial use was to house the teams of mules and horses being used to complete the remainder of campus construction. However, the Experiment Station Barn quickly turned into a multipurpose facility that served several functions . "Before some could envision a true campus, everyone wanted the Experiment Station to plant and experiment on anything they could with a variety of crops in this area," said David Peters, coordinator of Special Collections and University Archives and co-author of the 27-volume OSU Centennial History Series. Oklahoma A&M College was created by legislation in 1890 as a landgrant institution. Four local homestead families donated land to start the university. The 200-acre tract of property was plowed using teams of horses, each turning a few acres of 6 • Cowboy Journal

sod every day. The project took several months to complete. "As time goes on, it's hard to imagine that OSU started out on just 200 acres and was constructed with men and horses," Peters said. The Experiment Station's first floor included a harness room, tool room and stalls for horse and mule teams. The cattle herd was boarded there, and a small lean-to shed served as a horticulture lab and greenhouse, which housed seeds from across the world for experimentation. In 1911, the final structure proposed for construction at the Experiment Station was a livestock judging pavilion. This was the first permanent on-campus facility for showing and judging livestock. Previously, this activity had taken place outdoors or in appropriate locations around campus. The judging room had a small arena and elevated benches that could seat 400. "I remember when the barns were still on campus, and w e'd get the animals ready and just walk them down Farm Road to get them to the arena," said Bob Kropp, animal science professor for 33 years. As campus progressed, the old livestock judging pavilion was no

longer adequate to meet the growing needs of the animal husbandry department and the Agricultural Experiment Station. The college administration hoped to create a new agriculture center near campus to attract statewide meetings of farmers; hold livestock exhibitions and competitions; and provide additional office and classroom space for the animal husbandry department, judging classes and student organizations. "I think the most important thing about OSU through all the changes is that we are proud of our agriculture heritage and still embrace it through the development," Peters said. In 1924, the Animal Husbandry Building and Livestock Pavilion, commonly referred to as the "livestock building," was built to join two related functions into one building. The front section housed the animal husbandry department's offices, labs and classrooms. There were three full floors in this section, with the basement only partially below ground level. Each floor in the animal husbandry section had 4,200 square feet of usable space, giving the department a total of more than 12,000 square feet of additional room when the building was occupied.


While attached to the animal husbandry building, the livestock pavilion was essentially a separate structure. This northern section of the new facility provided a 12,000-square-foot arena, space for livestock judging and holding pens for livestock. The arena had a dirt floor, and only the areas beneath the stands had concrete surfaces. The arena, with an estimated seating capacity of 2,000, held judging events, livestock shows and rodeos. It served as a popular hangout among students. "The animal husbandry building and arena had a lot of significance to numerous generations of OSU students," Peters said. "It went through some surface changes, but the attitude surrounding the building always remained. It was the place students went to see and be seen." With new opportunities from the development of the Animal Husbandry Building and Arena, student organizations were able to thrive. Events such as Block and Bridle's annual Little International were designed to help pay traveling expenses of the livestock judging team. The event consisted of a display of the college's herds, a rodeo, a horse show, a style show and rope spinning. It quickly turned into one of the most popular events on campus. Festivities like Aggie Day and Ag Week were organized to get students involved in activities to promote agri-

The livestock judging pavilion was completed in the summer of 1911 and provided the campus with an appropriate area to work with livestock. (photo courtesy of OSU Special Collections and University Archives) culture. Ag Week is still an annual activity sponsored by the Agricultural Student Council. The Animal Husbandry Building was used for 78 years to conduct classes and held special events. Students used the arena to relax for lunch and socialize with friends on breaks. The Animal Husbandry Building and Arena were demolished in 1989 to make room for construction of the Noble Research Center.

From the beginning, crowds always packed the arena for the Little International Stock Show. (photo courtesy of OSU Special Collections and University Archives)

"Right before the demolition of Animal Husbandry, a lot of alumni would come back, and on any given day, the arena would have people in it just kicking around the dirt one last time," Kropp said. "There were a lot of memories in the arena, and a lot of people were sad to see it go." Through the evolvement of campus, OSU always has been fortunate to have administrators, architects and business management professionals who dare to dream. "Everyone remembers' their' campus differently depending on what time frame they were here," Kropp said. "There was always a new study location, social hangout or building depending on the generation." No matter how you remember your time at Oklahoma A&M or Oklahoma State University, the campus has withstood the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, weather, fires, renovations and construction to evolve into the distinguished campus it always will be - no matter what generation you are. ~

For more information, visit the OSU Special Collections and University Archives or call (405) 744-6311. Fall 2006 • 7


Alumni

Entrepreneur honors brother with CASNR scholarship by Kacey Herndon, Elgin, Okla. For some, the memory of a loved one is cherished deep in the heart, reminisced about with family and friends, never forgotten. For others, memories move them to action. Mike Murphy, owner of M&M Energy in Edmond, Okla., has acted upon his desire to honor his older brother, Jesse Murphy, by establishing a scholarship fund at Oklahoma State University. "Jesse had a love for the school and for the animal science department," Murphy said. "Helping students each year will be an honor in his memory." Jesse Murphy was a student at OSU and worked for the animal science department when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, Specialist 4th Class, in 1967 during the Vietnam War. The 21-year-old was born July 8, 1947, and died March 30, 1968, while serving in the line of duty. "Jesse was one who would have volunteered," said long-time family friend

Ed Long. "He was a real hard-working guy." An animal science major, Jesse Murphy worked at the OSU Beef Barn to earn money for school. "Jesse's love for agriculture and love for the animal science department is what enticed Mike to establish the endowment," Long said. As a young high school student, Mike Murphy lost his mother, father and brother within six months. He was left as the sole recipient of his brother's life insurance policy. The $25,000 life insurance policy and 160 acres of land left by his parents were what Mike Murphy had to support himself. The rising businessman decided to make what he had into more.

Mike Murphy, along with Elmo Castle, his local agricultural instructor, headed to a farm auction. At age 16, he bid on the farm with his inheritance money. He won the bid and left with the farm in his possession. Mike Murphy knew of his brother's love for agriculture, so buying the farm meant not only giving something back to Jesse but also gaining a new life and a way to support himself and his future family. With the inheritance money, Mike Murphy overcame some of the challenges and obstacles that came along with losing a family. Setting up a scholarship fund in the name of his brother is just one


way Mike Murphy can honor his brother. He wanted to give others the opportunity to succeed, just as Jesse Murphy did for him. The Jesse Murphy Memorial Scholarship Endowment was established for a student who has the desire to go to OSU and earn a degree in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "This year's recipient will receive $1,000, and each year the endowment will grow by $1,000 to provide future scholarships," Murphy said. The student must have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average to be eligible to receive the scholarship. "Above all, the student must have an attitude to learn and to strive to do his or her best," Murphy said. Establishing a scholarship fund through OSU not only honors a loved one but also gives students who have had to overcome obstacles of their own the opportunity to learn, achieve and succeed. OSU Foundation scholarship endowments can be established with a single cash gift, securities or other

property. They also may be funded with a series of gifts made over time. Donors can establish annually funded scholarships, an annual gift in any amount that is funded each year. Donors can specify the college or department that will receive their gift or donation. The OSU Foundation recognizes its donors through memberships in the following gift clubs: • The OSU President's Club Gold, $5,000 or more annually; • The OSU President's Club Silver, $2,500 or more annually; • The OSU President's Club Bronze, $1,000 or more annually; • The University 500 Club, $500 or more annually; and • The Century Club, $100 or more annually. The OSU President's Club is the highest level of recognition a donor can receive for annual giving. To become a member of the President's Club, a minimum of $1,000 must be donated each year to support OSU. Annual memberships in the gift clubs run from July 1 through June 30 of each year. A membership may be

held by an individual or a couple; it also can be held anonymously. Donors have the option to establish an endowed scholarship fund, like Mike Murphy did. Endowed scholarships provide continued assistance to OSU students. The minimum amount of an endowed scholarship is $10,000. This scholarship may be named either to honor the donor or another person of the donor's choice. When an endowed scholarship fund is established, the principal of the endowment is never spent to ensure an enduring tribute to the person for whom the scholarship is named. An enduring tribute will forever be given to Jesse Murphy. Not only will his life be celebrated and remembered by Mike Murphy but also by the students who will benefit from the opportunity given to them. ~

For more information regarding scholarship donations, call the OSU Foundation toll free at (800) 622-4678 or at (405) 385-5100. Visit the Foundation's Web site at www.osuforg.

~

••• ERA

Adviser Linda Guenther (405) 744-7064 http://www.ansi.okstate.edu Fall 2006 • 9


Working at the Capitol during the legislative session is a dream come true for Rachel Hubbard. (photo by Janet Herren)

by Janet Herren, Ramona, Okla. Most children spend their summers playing in the swimming pool and trying their hardest to ignore any adult talk about politics or current events. Then again, most children are not Rachel Hubbard. Fascinated at an early age by politics and driven to succeed in a career in public speaking, Hubbard fits the bill to be a Capitol correspondent, and she naturally fell into her first job in the radio broadcasting business. She had visited a local radio station in Hobart, Okla., as part of a 4-H project where she recorded short, promotional 4-H spots. The station owners were impressed with Hubbard and needed some help. Along with 1O • Cowboy Journal

a recommendation from a friend, she started working there part time. Her first listeners were the people tuning in to Fuchs' Radio. She was airing gospel music, broadcasting sports and doing everything between the two. Her interest and career in broadcasting had begun. "I really felt like I was a person who was in my listeners' homes every day," Hubbard said about her job at Fuchs' Radio. "I look back now and think how strange some of the things I did there were, like reading the obituaries on the air, but I just laugh. After all, not every young journalist today can say they've put together a reel-to-reel machine with chewing

gum and paper clips. In fact, most can't even thread one. I can say that I knowhow." Hubbard said she always was interested in politics and enjoyed learning about it in school. She even admits this fascination led her to memorize all of the state representatives' names as a child. "When I was a kid and my morn worked in county government, I can remember many, many hot summer days spent campaigning for her boss," Hubbard said. "I think that was when my interest started." Dale Hubbard, Hubbard's greatgrandfather, served as a county clerk for a number of years, which also


piqued Hubbard's curiosity. Her family always showed interest in current events, especially politics. Sunday lunches were spent talking about politics and other current events. "I was a nerd and paid attention," Hubbard said. As a youth, Hubbard also was an active 4-H member in Washita County. Through this program, she gained experience in public speaking. It was one of her main project areas and a skill she further developed as an Oklahoma 4-H Ambassador and as Oklahoma 4-H reporter. In both of these capacities, Hubbard enhanced her skills in communications, public speaking, leadership and teamwork, all of which have assisted Hubbard in her broadcasting career. "I learned to speak professionally, but in a natural way," Hubbard said. "I think it helped that I started at a young age. "My first speech was in the fourth grade. We explained the concepts behind each phrase in the pledge of allegiance, and we made these hideous pointers with crepe paper and the wands of my parent's miniblinds." 4-H also gave Hubbard a network of friends and mentors to support and encourage her. "4-H gave Rachel a second family, a place to belong and also a place to develop herself as a person," said Charles Cox, state 4-H program leader and specialist and adviser for the OSU Collegiate 4-H Club. As a student in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Hubbard was involved in the Collegiate 4-H Club, the steering committee for Into the Streets and the ministry with the Church of Christ University Center. She also judged 4-H speech contests and twice participated in a program called Let's Start Talking. Through this program, Hubbard taught conversational English in Riga, Latvia, and in Kiev, Ukraine, and continued her education in communicating with others. "I learned to love people for who they are and where they're at," Hubbard said. "People are people, and with patience you can communicate with anyone. I remember a lady in a grocery store asking me why I was in

Kiev, and I was able to talk to her in German. She knew a little, and I knew a little. We were able to talk." During her years as an undergraduate, Hubbard also worked for a Star Schools Grant Project with the chemistry and physics departments. She did general communications work, including writing and editing news releases. "With that project, I learned that many times you can get wrapped up in your work and forget how the people you are trying to communicate with understand you and your message," Hubbard said. Shelly Sitton, Hubbard's academic adviser and one of her professors in agricultural communications, said Hubbard was one of the students whose interest in broadcasting pushed the department to offer more courses related to this field. "In working with Rachel, we discovered how much students could benefit from classroom broadcasting experience," Sitton said. "She helped future agricultural communications students to be better prepared for careers in broadcasting." Hubbard said her background in agricultural communications gave her professional knowledge to back up her speaking experience. Hubbard's career in radio broad-

Working at KOSU gives Rachel Hubbard the opportunity to inform the public about issues. (photo by Dustin Mielke)

casting continued at OSU. She worked as a student reporter for KOSU in 1999 as a freshman. During the summer of her junior year, she interned at KOSU to fulfill a requirement for her degree. Even at this point, Hubbard was not certain she wanted to be a radio broadcaster. "When I was a kid, I wanted to do television, but people told me I couldn't because of my freckles," Hubbard said. "I was crushed, so I tried all the random ways to remove them that I could think of. Lemon juice, etc. none of them worked. I gave up on television then until I had a professor who told me I was good at it." When Hubbard graduated in 2003, she had worked for KOSU for four years, and the state Capitol correspondent position opened. Hubbard was a perfect fit. "I don't think I ever thought about radio as an option when I was a kid," Hubbard said. "I just stumbled into it and never found my way back out. I'm kidding because I love my job, but that's what happened." Craig Beeby, director and general manager for KOSU, said: "I've seen Rachel grow and flourish from a student reporter to the current position she holds. As the Capitol correspondent, she has been both the eyes and the ears for the public, and she has been nationally recognized." During the four-month Oklahoma legislative session, Hubbard spends her days at the state Capitol building tracking people down to interview, listening to legislative sessions, keeping in tune with the daily occurrences at the Capitol and drinking too much coffee. Hubbard said she likes to keep the public informed and loves her job. It's fun for her to go to work every day, and while her work can be stressful and demanding, Hubbard said she thrives in this atmosphere. There is a lot of "hurry and wait" time at the Capitol, Hubbard said about work as the Capitol correspondent. However, this wait time gives Hubbard time to make more detailed observations about the different sessions and to discover the little, interesting details about the represenFall 2006 • 11


tatives and senators. For a political fanatic like Hubbard, this time makes her job even more enjoyable. Her passion for her work has helped her win national awards, including the Jack R. Howard Trophy from the Scripps Howard Foundation for the team coverage on the OSU plane crash in 2001. She has received an award from the Public Radio News Directors and an award from the Association of State Capitol Reporters and Editors for beat reporting. Beeby said Hubbard has won numerous other awards and is considered one of the top Capitol reporters in the United States. Another tangible outcome of her success can be seen by her recent promotion to news director. As the news director for KOSU, Hubbard will continue her award-winning coverage of the state Capitol and will coordinate overall news coverage and presentation for the station. She also will supervise students and professional news staff.

Rachel Hubbard enjoys talking to senators and representatives on a one-on-one basis. Here, Sen. Don Barrington offers some insight. (photo by Janet Herren)

"I hope to use my experience at KOSU to help our listeners receive better news coverage each and every day," Hubbard said. She also has done television work. Hubbard gives political analyses from the reporter's perspective for "Oklahoma Forum," a weekly show produced by the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. Hubbard also has been seen on "Oklahoma Horizon," the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education's program. Hubbard said she prefers radio to television because it gives her more creative freedom. "With commercial television, ratings would dictate what all of my stories were about," Hubbard said. "This way I can do stories on the random things I wonder about. Someone else has to wonder about them, too." As a professional, she gives back to the programs that helped her along the way. Hubbard has spoken at 4-H Day at the Capitol to show how 4-H helped her. "Rachel is a good role Working at the Capitol provides Rachel Hubbard with model," Cox said. "She cona unique setting to track down people for interviews. tinues to do good things." (photo by Dustin Mielke) She also has served as 12 • Cowboy Journal

a mentor for current agricultural communications students. Hubbard spoke to them about her experiences in radio broadcasting and what to expect out of life after they graduate from college. One of the best lessons current students can learn from Hubbard is that hard work and dedication pay off. From her early start in radio broadcasting to all of the people and organizations along the way that helped to guide her, Hubbard is living her dream of informing the public through radio broadcasting and is enjoying the success her hard work and dedication has brought her. "Rachel has been promoted based on her performance," Beeby said. "She has the talent to work anywhere in the country, and she has chosen to keep her talents here in Oklahoma. Rachel has the potential to be one of the best news directors the station has seen." Anyone watching Hubbard rush around the rotunda of the Capitol can tell she is where she belongs. Hubbard is successful even with her beautiful freckles because she found a way to combine her two passions: politics and public speaking. In her words, there is no where else she would rather be - not even the pool. , .

Learn more about Hubbard's reporting work on 91.7 FM in central Oklahoma, on 107.5 FM in northeastern Oklahoma and on 101.9 FM in the Okmulgee area or at www.kosu.org.


Alumni

Harvey steps up as president by Autumn Ankenman, Miami, Okla. From Okmulgee County 4-H and Beggs FFA to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Jason Harvey has represented success. The Agriculture Alumni Association should expect nothing less from its newly elected president. "I wanted to be in a position to represent agricultural alumni and also be able to give back to the college," Harvey said. Between growing up in the rural community of Beggs, Okla., and observing his father teach agriculture, Harvey developed a passion for agriculture and achievement at a young age. He credits his accomplishments to his sturdy family relationship. "My family was always very supportive but never overly pushy," Harvey said. "They always encouraged me not only to be involved in agriculture but also in other organizations such as church and athletics." During high school, Harvey balanced academics, athletics and agriculture while helping his father with their show pig and cow I calf operation. He said he was always enthusiastic and involved. "I've been very fortunate to have grown up with team-oriented goals constantly being reinforced around me," Harvey said. After graduating from Beggs High School in 1991, Harvey decided to attend Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton. He started junior college to pursue an associate degree with the expectation of becoming a physical therapist. However, it did not take long for him to return to his agricultural roots. "After my first year of studying physical therapy, I realized I wasn't as happy as I should have been with my major," Harvey said. Harvey switched his major from physical therapy to animal science and found his place. After graduating from Eastern Oklahoma State College, Harvey transferred to Oklahoma

State University to pursue a degree in agricultural education, focusing on the professional service option. "If you are going to be at OSU, you might as well be a leader," Harvey said. While attending OSU, Harvey became involved in many campus organizations, including Agricultural Ambassadors, Agricultural Student Council and Collegiate FFA. He was an active member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Harvey said becoming more involved in these organizations helped him to develop into a well-rounded individual. "One of the things that helped me the most when I was at Oklahoma State was AGR," Harvey said. "I was pretty shy growing up, and AGR helped me to become involved on campus and prevented me from becoming a face in the crowd. AGR

helped me to become somebody who was there to make a difference." By listening to the enthusiasm in his voice when he talks about the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, it is evident he is passionate about the prosperity of CASNR and the university. "The students and faculty make the college unique," Harvey said. "The faculty has a heart for students and wants to see them succeed. The college of agriculture is just like a huge family." Harvey graduated from OSU in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in agricultural education and a minor in agronomy; he completed a master's in agricultural education in 1997. Since 1997, Harvey has been an agricultural marketing coordinator for ODAFF. Harvey coordinates programs that help rural Oklahoma de-

Each year, Jason Harvey devotes his time to help the agricultural community by volunteering at the Oklahoma You th Expo. (photo by Autumn Ankenman) Fall 2006 • 13


velop and thrive in the agricultural industry. Harvey said many of the skills he practices every day are skills he attained while attending OSU. "Oklahoma State prepared me for many obstacles and challenges that I have had to face in the work force," Harvey said. Some of the skills Harvey said he learned at OSU were time management, multi-tasking, leadership and public speaking. Also, Oklahoma State taught me how to relate with a variety of different kinds of people," Harvey said. This is Harvey's third year on the Agriculture Alumni Association board of directors. He previously served as the secretary I treasurer of the board. Barry Bessinger serves on the board with Harvey. "He's young and energetic with an easygoing style and attitude that everyone likes," Bessinger said. Brent Kisling, former Agriculture Alumni Association board president, said he has high hopes for Harvey. "Jason brings to the board his 11

14 • Cowboy Journal

ability to lead," Kisling said. "He always seems to be on top of every issue that arises, and he has a vision of how we as an organization can better serve OSU and our alumni all across the state." Harvey said his appreciation for the alumni association began when he was a student at OSU. "Being involved in Agricultural Student Council, I was always aware of the activities that the alumni association held," Harvey said. "I could see that they were all people who were making a difference in the field of agriculture across the state of Oklahoma." Harvey said he recognizes the importance of the Agriculture Alumni Association and has an enormous amount of respect for the group. "Jason will be a great president because he loves Oklahoma State University," Kisling said. "He understands the agricultural industry, and he is a very organized leader." The board of directors remains confident in its new president.

"His predecessors, Brent Kisling and Sean Kouplen, did such a good job," Bessinger said. "Jason is definitely in that league; he will, without a doubt, do a good job and lead our group forward." Harvey is an example of what knowledge and the will to succeed can do. "Jason is the same mold as many of our past leaders of the Agriculture Alumni Association," Kisling said. "He comes from strong OSU roots, and he has a knack for getting the job done regardless of what level of effort it takes." Harvey humbly credits his family, OSU and agriculture for the person he is today. 'Tm hoping to give back to the college," Harvey said, "and maybe be a little bit of an inspiration to future alumni." JIii'

For more information about the Agriculture Alumni Association, please see page 49.


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Alumni

Still outstanding by Whitney Highsmith-Collins, Vinita, Okla. From a wheat field in Guthrie, Okla., to a law office in Oklahoma City, Kenny Davis' life has changed since being named the 1986 College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' outstanding senior. "I remember the relationships I built at OSU most," Davis said. While at Oklahoma State University, Davis' adviser, Dan Badger, had an important influence on him. Badger supported Davis, and with an open-door policy, Badger would talk with him about anything. Agricultural economics faculty Robert Oehrtman, Dan Tilley and Marcia Tilley also influenced Davis' education. They taught him life lessons and made it possible for him to see a future beyond farming. Marcia Tilley suggested Davis consider going to law school. "Kenny was an excellent student and wrote great answers to exam questions," Marcia Tilley said. "Whenever I see students who appear to have promise as attorneys, I suggest they consider a legal career. "Good students have many opportunities, and each has to find the career path that best suits his or her interests, but legal knowledge has many applications, even if they decide not to practice law." After leaving OSU, Davis farmed full time for his parents, Ernest and Shirley Davis, for a year before attending law school at the University of Oklahoma. "When Kenny decided to go, Ernest was upset and hurt," Shirley Davis said. "I always felt like the kids needed to do what they wanted to do and understood his reasoning for wanting something to fall back on if something happened to the farm." When Kenny Davis graduated from law school, he worked full time for the Hartzog, Conger, Cason and Neville law firm for three years. However, Davis said he always knew he wanted to continue to be a part of the farm. When he decided to 16 • Cowboy Journal

start a family, he went back to farming and now practices law part time during the winter. "His father didn't think he would return to farming," Shirley Davis said, "but I had talked to him and he said he wanted to raise his kids around the farm and he didn't like being stuck in the office all the time." Davis said he continued farming because it was a part of him. "I grew up on the Kenny Davis, 1986 CASNR outstanding senior, continfarm, and that is the only life I have ever ues a family farming tradition at Davis Farms in Guthrie, Okla. (photo by Whitney Highsmith-Collins) known, was comfortable with and enjoyed," Since Davis is close to home durDavis said. ing most of the year, he is involved Davis Farms is located southwest in his community. He actively is inof Guthrie, Okla. They plant about 3,100 acres of wheat a year and have volved with Harmony Community about 2,400 acres of grassland. The Church and served on the Logan farm has 160 dairy cows and 175 AnCounty Hospital board for 11 years. "A lot of my time at this point gus/Chianina/Maine-Anjou cattle. "A large part of our farm is buyin my life goes to my kids and their activities," Davis said with a laugh. ing 400-pound Holstein heifers, which we raise, breed and then sell "It seems like any free time I have is to dairies, primarily in New Mexico," taken up by them." Davis said. Davis and his wife, Gina (HarraEven though he had not considman) Davis, have four children inered going to law school until taking volved in sports and showing livestock: Jill, 13; Luke, 12; Beau, 9; and agricultural law at OSU, he said it is useful when managing a farm. Callen, 7. "No matter what business you "I decided to quit practicing law are involved in, the understanding of full time about the time I started a law is a good tool to have," he said. family," Davis said. "I thought it was Davis gravitated toward comgood to be closer so that I could get mercial law and real estate, but he them involved." said when you are only in the office Although the Davises do not push during the winter, you do whatever their children to be involved, "They is needed at the time. want to participate in everything. "My primary responsibility on "Our children are very self-driven, which they get from their dad's the farming operation is the wheat crop, and during the winter we have side of the family," Gina Davis said. "We don't push that they get insome down time," Davis said. "The volved. We don't force it." down time has allowed me to be involved in the practice of law and still Davis' children keep him running be able to farm." from ballgames to livestock shows.


Kenny Davis helps his son Beau with his steer at the Logan County Livestock Show. (photo by Tracy Smith) "Being involved allows you to manage time better," Davis said. He should know. During college, Davis was active in Aggie-X, Agricultural Student Council, Blue Key Honor Society,

Omicron Delta Kappa and Student Government Association. "The extracurricular activities in the college of agriculture opened up a lot of opportunities to get involved all over campus," Davis said.

Davis also served as president of FarmHouse Fraternity. The people he lived with were a big part of his education and life. "FarmHouse had a big impact on my life, as well as my development throughout those years," he said. Through the opportunities of his extracurricular activities, he was able to be seen as an active and well-respected student. Aside from being named Alpha Zeta Outstanding Senior, Davis was Outstanding Agricultural Economics Senior and a Top 10 Senior of OSU. Davis said memories he made at OSU were vital to his social growth. Although he was there for an education, he said, "Without the social maturing process, it wouldn't have been as beneficial as it was." Davis said students should be involved in many activities. Aside from time management, involvement allows endless opportunities, and one never knows when a door will open from one of those opportunities. JII'

Fall 2006 • 17


Faculty flunk retirement by Jennie Kirkland, Edna, Kan. While peers hit the golf course or travel the globe, three retired professors in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources are still in the classroom, working to improve the lives of students. Jim Key, Robert Oehrtman and Joe Berry want their students to succeed, but these men are truly flunking retirement. A lifetime in agricultural education

With five years of Air Force training and a few years of teaching high school vocational agriculture classes under his belt, Key started his career at Oklahoma State University. Although he officially has retired to a 25 percent teaching schedule, Key is not slowing down. Hired by Bob Price and George Cook in 1969 to teach a research design class, AGED 5983, Key still teaches the class today. Key gradually decreased his class load from 100 percent to 25 percent, a phasing retirement plan he encourages other professors to investigate. "The university and I have an agreement," Key said. "Anytime they don't want me or

anytime I don't want to teach, that's when we quit." With his 37 years of experience, he said he still enjoys watching students succeed. His pleasure can be seen in his enthusiasm of watching doctoral students finish their oral exams. He said this is a great accomplishment for his students and for him. "When I see students achieve and accomplish goals that they have been trying to reach, it gives me a great amount of pleasure," Key said. Key may have decreased his inclass teaching, but he has done the opposite in the community. He owns a cow-calf operation and harvests hay for himself and his neighbors. Retiring in 1998 at age 62, Key has devoted his time to bringing an international ministry program to Oklahoma. Kairos Prison Ministry is a Christian-based prison ministry in 33 states and five foreign countries. Kairos means "God's timing" in Greek. Key, a primary founder of the Oklahoma division, is part of a network of 250 to 300 volunteers. "That's my primary job now," Key said.

Joe Berry (left), Robert Oehrtman and Jim Key provide expertise even in retirement. (photo by Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop) 18 • Cowboy Journal

Part of the job includes going to the Davis Correctional Center in Holdenville, Okla., once a week. Key said he puts 20,000 to 30,000 miles on his car per year just visiting prisons. Key is involved in Kairos at both state and national levels. "You see guys and gals who have no hope, and they're incarcerated and have no hope of getting out," Key said. "They can get hope through this ministry. It's well worth it." Numbers, numbers, numbers

Another faculty member who refuses to give up his CASNR post is Oehrtman. His tenure at OSU is proven by the stacks of papers towering over his desk and his office. Oehrtman joined the OSU family in 1970. After attending the other two OSUs, Ohio State University and Oregon State University, as well as Iowa State University, he stayed at the third and final OSU. "I made it to all three OSUs," Oehrtman said, "and the colors of Oregon State University and Oklahoma State University are actually the same." It was not his love for the color orange that brought him to CASNR; it was a faculty position, where he did 25 percent teaching and 75 percent research. "My assignment has changed over the years," Oehrtrnan said. "Now, I do 80 percent teaching and 20 percent research." Throughout the years, Oehrtman has taught nine different agricultural economics courses, ranging from AGEC 1114 Principles of Agricultural Economics for freshmen to AGEC 5113 Applications of Mathematical Programming for graduate students. He was the only teacher for AGEC 1114 for 20 years -well known for his 20-plus-page exams. Today, Oehrtman teaches AGEC 4333 Commodities Futures Markets, and he does not plan to leave CASNR's classrooms any time soon. Oehrtman also serves the campus


and community. A 16-year member of the University Health Care Committee, Oehrtman has played an important role in improving health care benefits for OSU faculty and staff. As the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity adviser for 27 years, Oehrtman has earned the national outstanding adviser award twice. In addition to these awards, Oehrtman has received more than 40 other awards, including the American Agricultural Economics Association's Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1984. "I forget about these things until I look back through them," he said. Boy Scouts of America has provided another service opportunity for Oehrtman. He has served as a scoutmaster for area Boy Scouts since 1981. Oehrtman said he has hiked the Washita Mountains with the Boy Scouts more than 20 times. Oehrtman still plans to travel. He said he hopes to take a fall trip to follow the leaves changing color, driving south from New Hampshire.

In the meantime, he is still working in Agricultural Hall, claiming in 10 years he still will be cleaning out his office.

Thriving in poultry production After teaching for 35 years, Berry finds himself flunking retirement. Berry, who retired in 2003, still teaches ANSI 4023 Poultry Production, which is one of the original classes he began teaching nearly 25 years ago. "I enjoy staying in contact with people and helping our students," Berry said. He became interested in majoring in poultry after a student teacher in his high school vocational agriculture class in Sayre, Okla., said there were plenty of jobs for graduates. Berry said his greatest accomplishment is being a positive influence on students. "That's what you hope if you are an educator, that students are better by having your class," Berry said. An influential person on Berry's

career as a teacher was his high school vocational agriculture teacher, Henry Heise. Berry said he encouraged him to do some things he might not have done, including attending OSU. In retirement, Berry is still active outside the classroom as a member of the Oklahoma Egg Council. "It keeps me up to date on what's going on," Berry said. Always willing to help, he and his wife, Margaret Ann, recently assisted with two Oklahoma Egg Council-sponsored omelet breakfasts for 250 people that were fund-raisers for the American Heart Association. Berry said he also enjoys spending his spare time working on the family farm and fishing. Berry said he hopes to retire permanently in a few years. Key, Oehrtman and Berry continue to make a difference for CASNR in their retirement and their commitment to students is unwavering. "I never want to sit and rock," Berry said. "I want to wear out, not rust out." ~

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Fall 2006 • 19


Students

Agricultural careers: the BIG picture by Jen Biser, Keymar, Md.

Looking for a job? Enjoy working with people, large corporations or even national security? Want to be your own boss someday? The Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources career services office can help by showing you "the big picture." Amy Gazaway, CASNR career development coordinator, said the latest projections indicate there will be a surplus of job opportunities available to college graduates compared with the number of applicants qualified for those positions. Gazaway says this visible shortage of agricultural college students presents an excellent opportunity for recent and future graduates to start their careers in a variety of agricultural fields. On average, projections show 52,000 job opportunities in the agricultural industry will be available each year between 2005 and 2010 for the 49,000 available graduates from agricultural colleges, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. USDA and CSREES researchers have divided their projections into four broad categories covering the strongest occupational opportunities for an agricultural career: management and business careers; scientific and engineering careers; agriculture and forestry production careers; and education, communication and government services careers. "Look at the projections within the industry," Gazaway said. "Look at your own personal interests, values and personality. Then, balance the opportunities with your own specific abilities and needs to find a career field that will suit you." Management and Business Careers

Defined by the USDA, management and business occupations will 20 • Cowboy Journal

account for 46 percent of the 52,000 entry-level jobs in the agricultural industry. With 24,000 annual openings within management and business fields, the top three employment areas are sales and technical services, product value enhancement and business management. Kim Anderson, an agricultural production and marketing professor in the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics and an extension economist, said he teaches a student how to survive in the real world and how to be successful in these fields. "What I teach is not how to push a product," Anderson said, "but how to communicate, listen and build relationships while helping to identify [a customer's] needs and wants." While he teaches the foundation to give each student the confidence to be successful in any job, Anderson's

ultimate goal is to teach students how to learn. Loni Robbins, a consumer lending assistant at Arvest Bank in Fort Smith, Ark., and an agribusiness and finance alumna, said students need to broaden their horizons. "I had to explain to potential employers and businesses that having an agricultural degree brings the best of both worlds," Robbins said. "From my education, I gained more knowledge in more than just one area." Robbins encouraged students to find something they are passionate about and to explore internships available through career services early. Do not wait until the senior year, she said. "Interning gives you the opportunity to see and feel the job," Robbins said, "confirming if it is really what you want to do."


Scientific and Engineering Careers

Accounting for one-fourth of the annual positions in agriculture at 13,000, scientific and engineering careers provide opportunities in the broad fields of genomics and bioinformatics, food quality and nutraceuticals, and environmental quality. Michael Lorenz, dean of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said his students have many opportunities available and he introduces them to networking through an array of options. Lorenz said the positions available to Veterinary graduates are more limited compared to those graduates who go for a doctoral degree or residency training in a specialized field. "The majority of our students, about 80 to 90 percent, graduate to enter into private practice," Lorenz said. "Even with this majority, there is still a rural-area shortage of private practitioners. "Our goal is to engage our students in a large number of career opportunities through public practice." Public agencies that need veterinarians include the USDA, Food and Drug Administration, National Institute of Health, public and state health departments, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and pharmaceutical companies. "There is a huge shortage of applicants in public practitioner careers," Lorenz said. "We offer business and business management electives to our students to help them with self-management," Lorenz said. "We also introduce them to corporate industry where pet foods and pharmaceuticals are two of the largest employers." In pharmaceuticals, Lorenz listed the largest employers as Merck and Co. Inc. and Merial Pharmaceutical, along with Pfizer, Fort Dodge and Novartis animal health companies. In pet foods, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Nestle Purina, Royal Canin and Iams are some of the largest employers. Agricultural and Forestry Production Careers

A "hot" topic in agricultural sciences and natural resources is maintaining the rigor of the environment

and the ecosystem essential to the sustainability of agriculture. Jeff Hattey, professor in the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said greater environmental challenges have forced farmers and ranchers to be more efficient, producing more food and fiber without increasing inputs. Positions of specific interest in the future are production careers related to forest ecosystem management, specialty crops and greenspaces. Hattey said greenspaces are land areas set aside to build connections to the community, much like Boomer Lake in Stillwater and Central Park in New York City. These areas are used to add aesthetics to the urban landscapes. Hattey said a percentage is mandated to be incorporated to control undevelopable areas such as waterways and wetlands. In addition to adding aesthetical and environmental quality to the landscape, greenspaces also are a part of a larger employment opportunity through natural resource management and environmental planning, two of the largest opportunities, Battey said. "We cannot provide enough students in the soil sciences degree to fill the need," Hattey said. "The primary need is students with a bachelor of science degree with an emphasis on land management. "We need students who are definitely interested in science, want to

be out in the field and are looking for a job. Plant and soil sciences is definitely a growth area." Education, Communication and Government Services Careers

While this category represents the smallest number of projected agricultural job opportunities within the next few years, approximately 7,000 openings are still anticipated each year. Chandra Orr, OSU alumna and staff writer for the Paint Horse Journal, said she found her job opportunities through networking. "Getting my name out there by meeting people and making contacts is what worked for me," Orr said. "Interviews, internships and even department listservs can give you a 'heads up' in available opportunities in your field." Still worried about finding a job after graduation? Just remember to know yourself and know the CASNR career services staff is available to all students to help each find his or her right direction. You just have to be ready to be a part of the next big picture. ,,,.

For information regarding the statistics and occupational fields available for agricultural graduates, consult the USDA/ CSREES Web site: http://www. csrees. usda.gov/newsroom/news/csrees _ news/USDA_05_Report2.pdf

OSU's Agricultural, Food, Environmental & Natural Sciences Career Fair gives students the opportunity to meet with representatives from leading companies in agriculture to learn about jobs and internships. This year's career fair is Sept. 14, in the Wes Watkins Center. (photo by Todd Johnson)

Fall 2006 • 21


Students

Good ride, cowboy by Missy Nilan, Oakland, Iowa

A cowboy nods his head, the chute gate opens and a bucking horse lunges into the arena, trying his best to buck off the cowboy. With each jump, kick and belly roll of the bucking horse, the cowboy responds ... or falls. Oklahoma State University Cowboys Luke Reed, Kyle Stein and Patrick Sievert began the 2004 fall semester - their senior year in agricultural engineering - working to help prepare cowboys for riding. All OSU biosystems agricultural engineering seniors are introduced to their year-long senior capstone project, BAE 4012 and BAE 4022 Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Capstone, at the beg~ing of the fall semester and complete the project with a presentation at the end of the following spring semester. Reed,

Bill Beaty, owner of Rockin' B Bucking Machines, gave students advice throughout the project. (photo by Missy Nilan)

22 • Cowboy Journal

Stein and Sievert had a unique project: design and build a bucking horse machine. "I am always looking for interestOSU students observed horses to find the course of action ing, real-world projto achieve the same motions given by a real bucking horse. ects for students to (photo by Missy Nilan) work on," said Paul Weckler, assistant professor in the sional rodeo cowboys who compete OSU Department of Biosystems and in the rough stock events of bareback Agricultural Engineering. riding and saddle bronc riding. Rockin' B Bucking Machines are The Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence and the Oklaknown for their mechanical bucking homa Center for the Advancement of bull machines. Ty Murray, sevenScience and Technology make projtime World All-Around Champion ects accessible to students through the Cowboy, endorses their machines. Celebrities, including Madonna and Application Engineers Program. The program works with small manufacBrooks and Dunn, own bucking bull turers in rural areas of Oklahoma to machines. The machines have been help provide engineering assistance. seen in one of Madonna's music vidKnowing that, Paul Walenciak, eos, as well as on her concert tours. manufacturing extension agent for Currently, their bucking bull mathe Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacchines can be found at fairs, rodeos turing Excellence, came across a comand bars where vendors sell rides on pany with an idea, one he was sure the machine. "I want to broaden our market would interest Weckler. more to rodeo cowboys," Beaty said. When professional rodeo cowThe Idea Rockin' B Bucking Machines is a boys told Beaty they wanted a bucksmall company in Cheyenne, Okla., ing machine with the movements of a bucking horse rather than a buckwhose mechanical bucking bulls have worldwide recognition. ing bull, he decided he would accept "We market to 10 or 12 different their challenge. countries and to every state," said Bill Beaty, owner and president of Rockin' The Project B Bucking Machines. After the students received their Beaty's initial idea was to build a project assignment, they visited with mechanical bucking horse for profesBeaty, collecting research and draw-


ing plans using engineering computer programs. "We designed the entire project in Pro Engineer and Pro Mechanica," Stein said. The students found a bucking bronc executes different movements in comparison with a bucking bull. "A bronc works off a vertical aspect, whereas a bull jumps from the front to rear legs in a pivoting motion," Stein said. "A horse gets completely off the ground." The use of hydraulics was the students' first idea to power the needed movement for the bucking machine. However, hydraulics have a tendency to leak, and Beaty declined the idea. "Most of the machines I sell are used in buildings," Beaty said. "I wouldn't sell nearly as many as I do if my machines leaked on the floors." After discussion between using computer-controlled linear actuators, which convert electricity to mechanical force, or a pitman arm system, which is a series of rods and shafts used to change the direction of movement, much like what is used on Rockin' B's bucking bull machines, the students had a challenge. "We researched both aspects, finding that we couldn't achieve the movement we needed with linear actuators without going overboard on price," Stein said. "Linear actuators cost $2,000 each, and this project required the use of three. "With the total being around $6,000, not including the price of a computer control system we still had to design, the use of linear actuators was way out of the budget." The students then were forced to approach the project by maximizing the lower technology approach and using a series of pitman arms. The Change

With the project underway, the students presented their findings and progress at the end of the fall 2004 semester. After the presentation, Beaty informed the students he wanted to change the project. "Not only did he want a bucking horse, but also a horse that would simulate a riding horse," Weckler said. Beaty wanted a mechanical horse

for people who wanted to ride without bucking. The new mechanical horse would walk, trot and canter like a regular horse. "The idea shifted the focus of the project," Stein said. "We had to be more accurate in our studies and research as to how a horse moves." The change in the project made the students reevaluate their initial plan of action. "We went from building a rude, crude and general motion bucking machine to a very accurate machine that could be something you can have at a workshop where kids can learn to ride," Stein said. The students turned back to looking at videos of horses. They learned how a horse walks, trots and canters, as well as how their legs carry their movement through the animal. The only way for the students to achieve the exact data was to put a motion-detecting device on a horse and record the data found through tests of walking, trotting and cantering a horse. Through research, the students found Michigan State University already had collected the needed data. With all of the needed information at hand, the students decided a simple pitman arm system could not create all of the movement needed for all phases of the project: walk, trot, canter and buck. However, with the use of additional cam mechanisms, which tell the machine what to do, it still could be possible. The customer buying the machine could buy only one cam, either one for riding or one for bucking. With the use of simple controls to adjust the speed and the addition of a rotating base, the bucking horse machine was ready to be tested on fellow college students. "It brought quite a bit of attention when we took it to the Gamma Phi Beta house," Stein said. "It's really fun to know that at a flick of a button you can flip anyone off of the horse."

"The machine could use some tweaking to smooth out the motion of the machine," Beaty said. "But without high demand right now, we have time to work out the glitches." According to the students' preliminary research, the demand for riding training devices is not strong and the current machine is too expensive for a rodeo cowboy's income. "We're trying to decide if it is currently worth the effort to go ahead with it and, if we do, what direction to take," Beaty said. So watch the rough-stock events closely the next time you attend a rodeo. When the cowboy nods his head, the chute gate opens and a bucking horse lunges into the arena, the cowboy can make a qualified ride. Depending on Beaty's decision, the cowboy on the back of the bucking horse might owe the development of his technique to practicing on a bucking horse machine designed by students from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. , .

The Future

Beaty has yet to decide the future of the mechanical horse. With the ability to market to two entirely different audiences, Beaty said he is happy with the quality of work.

The bucking machine built by OSU students is located in Cheyenne, Okla., at Rockin' B Bucking Machines. (photo by Missy Nilan) Fall 2006 • 23


Students

International students become CASNR Cowboys by Becky Rowles, Lander, Wyo.

Oklahoma State University is now "home" to many international students. They attend OSU because of its reputation in other countries, but what does it take for them to become Cowboys? OSU has a prominent College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. As of spring 2006, 2,231 students were enrolled in CASNR. Among those enrolled were 127 international graduate students. "OSU is a very prestigious university in the USA," said Claudia Cerruto, food science master's student from Bolivia. When international students come to OSU to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in agriculture, many say they hope to one day return to their homelands, help better rural lands and improve food safety. "Think of the graduate program at OSU like a machine," said David Henneberry, assistant dean of international programs in agriculture. "The domestic students are the machine, and the international students are the sprockets that keep the machine running. Without the international students, OSU's graduate program would not be as strong as it is." To be eligible for enrollment at OSU, an international student must go through a series of exams and applications that can take months to complete, according to the OSU Graduate College. The process is long and grueling, and many do not realize the extent of the process. First, the students must apply to the OSU Graduate College and meet specific enrollment deadlines. The international admissions application can be completed online or be mailed to the student. A $75 fee is due with the application. If the student is not accepted on the first try, a $25 fee will be charged for every additional application. 24 • Cowboy Journal

Who makes our food so good? Stanley Thomas, international student from India, works in the Food Science Lab researching bacteria in food. (photo by Becky Rowles) All transcripts or foreign mark sheets m ust accompany the application . If the student has received a diploma or a degree certificate, all verification is sent with the application. Liliana Ramos, veterinarian and an international meat science master's student from Chihuahua, Mexico, came to OSU for an internship before applying to the OSU Graduate College for a degree from CASNR. "I knew Dr. Henneberry from a trip he had made to Mexico," Ramos said . "Dr. Henneberry invited me to tour the college and gave me the opportunity to come for an internship to learn the English language." Ramos, like many other international students, had to learn English before applying to OSU. "I am fortunate tha_t I hag_ a semester at OSU before applying to the graduate college," Ramos said. "I got

to know the people on campus, found an adviser and decided what I exactly wanted to do." The second step for international students is to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. The prospective students must score above a 213 on the computerized test or they can take the written exam scoring a 550 to pass the TOEFL, according to the OSU Graduate College. "I didn't know English when I came to OSU," Ramos said. "Before I could apply to the graduate school, I had to take a semester to learn the language through the English Language Institute. After an intense semester was over, I took the TOEFL." For an international student to receive employment or an assistantship, the student must demonstrate an acceptable level of English as a second language. Employment requires


demonstrated proficiency on the Test of Spoken English or by taking OSU's version of the Spoken English Assessment Kit. The test score is used as a condition of employment and doesn't affect admission into the university. "I ended up being very lucky," Ramos said. "I got an assistantship." Once students pass both the TOEFL and the TSE, they must participate in the international teaching assistant orientation and evaluation workshop to teach in the classroom. After orientation, the students who pass the Spoken English Assement Kit and International Teaching Assistant tests will be eligible to teach. After a student has applied to the university and passed the language tests, the third thing he or she must do is apply for a visa. Students have two options when applying for visas. Students can apply for an F-1 visa, which allows them to stay in the United States and gain work experience upon graduation. Students also can apply for a J-1 visa, which allows them to attend a

U.S. school, but must return to their country upon graduation. "I applied for an F-1 visa because I was unsure what I wanted to do after graduation," Ramos said. "Food safety is a large concern in Mexico. I want to help improve our export relations and the safety of the food, and so I will return to Mexico." After students have their visas, financial verification has to be shown. "Students have to show that they have financial support, either in their bank account or through their government," Henneberry said. The cost of education is high for international students. They have to demonstrate financial security to ensure the university they will be able to repay their financial obligations. "I had to show that I had money in the bank to cover my expenses while at OSU before my visa would be issued," Ramos said. International students are not eligible for U.S. financial assistance. Students are, however, able to apply for financial assistance through their

home country to help pay for their schooling. In addition, the students are eligible to work on campus or receive an assistantship that is paid through a grant. "I received the Fulbright Scholarship to attend OSU from Bolivia," Cerruto said. The experience an international student gains at OSU is memorable and will last a lifetime, said Linda Guenther, meats lab manager. "The experience I have gained at OSU has been great," said Stanley Thomas, food science master's student from India. "I wouldn't trade my experience for anything." Thomas is not the only international graduate student glad to be at OSU; Ramos agrees. "OSU is famous in Mexico," Ramos said. "Everyone wants to come here to go to school." , .

For more information about international admissions, call the OSU Graduate College at (405) 744-6368 or visit www. gradcollege.okstate.edu.

Fall 2006 • 25


~ Students

A9rielflltlfralJ stlfdo1tts so,110 eaH by Jenny Matthews, Okarche, Okla. If you dedicated your hands to larger service or you lived to serve, chances are you were in a community-service-oriented organization. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources supports organizations that value service. This is evident by the caliber of community-service projects in which the students of CASNR participate. " All of the organizations I am involved in have excellent community-service programs," said Jonathon Knopfel, agricultural leadership junior. "What I like about CASNR is being involved in organizations that are involved in the community." Students who help the community learn and grow outside and inside the classroom. Many organizations base their values on this philosophy. "One of Alpha Zeta's fraternal goals is to be involved in the comm unity in which we live," said Jenna Noah, animal science junior. "Members gain awareness of social issues and grow personally through helping others in the community." The activities Alpha Zeta selects each year change with what members feel is important. "Each year the officer team selects the events Alpha Zeta will participate in," Noah said. "Having six to eight community-service activities a year encourages members and pledges to get involved in the community."

Hunting for help

Other clubs, like the newly formed Leadership League, chose a service-related theme, "Preventing Hunger," and launched a service project, "Hunt for Hunger." "Poverty is a big issue," said Ashley Marquart, animal science and agricultural leadership junior. "So many different countries can't feed their people. The statistics on hunger really made me realize that there needed to be something done." Leadership League invited all CASNR organizations and individuals to participate in this event. Each club was given an area of Stillwater to hunt for nonperishable food items. By the end of the night, 14 organizations had collected 1,106 items from Stillwater residents. All the items were donated to Mission of Hope, just in time for them to be sorted and distributed for the holiday season. The mission houses homeless and needy residents and helps these individuals find employment in the Stillwater area. Leadership League plans to hold the event again in October. "I am really glad so many people were able to help us," Marquart said. "I hope this year more organizations will be able to participate." Christmas time caring

The Hunt for Hunger is one way

clubs help the community during the holiday season. Another creative way CASNR has contributed to the community during the holidays is the Agricultural Student Council Christmas Tree Philanthropy. "The Christmas trees were a unique idea with a significant impact on the community," said Dwayne Cartmell, OSU agricultural communications assistant professor and Ag Student Council senior adviser. "The project was easy for several organizations to do. It helped to make the college visible and spread holiday cheer throughout the community." Hobby Lobby of Stillwater donated artificial Christmas trees to give to each student organization in CASNR. The trees were then decorated and donated to the Stillwater Housing Authority. The newly decorated trees were given to families in the comm unity who could not afford Christmas decorations. By using an artificial tree, the recipients can enjoy the tree year after year, Cartmell said. "This is a project that has an impact on the receiver for years to come," Cartmell said. "They get to keep the trees, so each year we are helping a new set of people." Another holiday project unique to CASNR is the Live Nativity Scene, which Cowboys for Christ has put together on the Edmon Low Library Lawn for the past 10 years. The mem-

Photos from left: Janlyn Griffin decorates a nursing home with Alpha Zeta; Ashley Seaster, Ray Pankey and Kara Graham assist Matthew Sitt during the Big Event; Maggie Hoey helps Kelsy Kelemen and Danna Kelemen with a game at the Harvest Carnival. (photos by Jenny Matthe


bers act out the nativity with live animals. It is free entertainment for anybody on campus or in the community who would like to attend. "We do it to show our faith and a little bit about our organization to the community," said Chelsea Farris, animal science graduate. "We just want to do something nice for the Stillwater community."

as reading buddies at Highland Park Elementary and Sunnybrook Christian Academy. In this program, college students are paired with elementary students to read together for 30 minutes each week. Several other organizations participated in reading buddies, and the program benefited everyone because of the one-on-one interaction between students, Banzet said.

National recognition

In addition to the personal satisfaction gained through community service, some CASNR clubs have received national recognition for their efforts. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow received the 2005 National Community Service Award from the National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. "This award shows our involvement in the community," said Gail Banzet, agricultural communications senior. "It proves our commitment to the chapter and the community." The Ronald McDonald House is ACT's national philanthropy. OSU ACT donated toiletry items and household supplies at the December club meeting. In the spring, ACT members collected pull-tabs from aluminum cans and donated money during the local 4-H Kids Helping Kids Campaign, which raises funds for RMH in Oklahoma. OSU ACT members also served

Other opportunities to get involved

In addition to these communityservice programs, CASNR students also can participate in several campuswide community-service events throughout the year. Into the Streets, which is in early November at OSU, is a national volunteer program that gives clubs, organizations and individuals an opportunity to give back to the community through service. OSU has consistently put on one of the largest and most active community-service efforts in the nation. Fellowship and fund raising are the name of the game when it comes to Relay for Life. This American Cancer Society event is a nationwide community-service activity that brings cancer research to the forefront of everyone's mind. Stillwater holds different Relay for Life events, one in the fall for the community and one in the spring for the university.

The Big Event is a national service project sponsored by the Student Government Association. Each spring its goal is to get organizations to help the residents of Stillwater have a better place to live. "The Big Event allows us to do something for someone who needs it," said Megan McConaghy, agribusiness senior. "If we aren't helping other people, we really aren't doing much for ourselves because you grow a lot when you put yourself aside." Some students use their interests and skills to volunteer in the community on a weekly basis. One place agricultural students in particular can use their skills is at Turning Point Ranch. Turning Point Ranch is a therapeutic riding center northeast of Stillwater. At the ranch, people with disabilities receive equine therapy. "It is a valuable project because of the joy it brings to children who normally wouldn't have the opportunity," said Kristen Marcus, Turning Point Ranch volunteer and CASNR graduate. "Without volunteers, this program wouldn't exist." None of these community-service programs would exist without the dedication of CASNR students' time and energy. Through their efforts, students continue to grow outside the classroom as they make a transition into the workforce. JI'

ton at Turning Point Ranch; Gail Banzet and Ruth Bobbitt lend a hand with an Ag Council project; Josh Grundmann works in the community :ws, Dustin Mielke, Janet Herren and Kathryn Bolay)


Students

A leader 15 years in the making by Tracy Smith, Guthrie, Okla. Fifteen years ago, 6-year-old Travis Jett ran after his dad, trying to keep up while feeding cattle in Slapout, Okla. He had no idea the next 15 years would prepare him for a future as a national FFA president.

Travis took the lead of our junior parliamentary procedure team. From that point on, he was very active and successful." State office

The beginning

Jett's experience in the FFA started at an early age; however, it was not completely his decision. "Actually, he didn't have a lot of choice in the matter," said Jett's dad, Alan Jett. "There were two things I required of my children: one, that they gave speeches; two, that they joined the FFA." Jett said it took him some time to get excited about the FFA. "I wasn't really fired up about it until state convention my eighthgrade year," Jett said. "After that, the FFA was cool. That convention lit the fire in me. Josh Brecheen's retiring address changed my life." After the 1999 convention, Jett got involved in every aspect of the FFA he possibly could. He showed cattle, participated in prepared and extemporaneous public speaking contests, and developed a supervised agricultural experience program in beef entrepreneurship and placement. "I have had many other wonderful memories throughout my FFA career," Jett said. "One of the highlights was placing second in the state extemporaneous contest my junior year. I'll also never forget stock shows and spending hours upon hours in the Houston airport on the way home from national convention." Jett credits his agricultural education instructor, Brad Ashpaugh, for encouraging him to take advantage of opportunities in the FFA and for challenging him to grow as a person. "I always knew Travis was going to be very successful in the FFA," Ashpaugh said. "As an eighth grader,

Jett said his years as a Laverne FFA member exposed him to the power of service to others. As a result, he decided to run for a state FFA office. Travis Jett is Oklahoma's first National FFA officer in Jett served as the 15 years. (photo courtesy of Oklahoma Horizon) 2003-04 Oklahoma FFA Northwest District Vice President and the 2004-05 Oklahoma of our state officer team," Walker said. "Travis led our team in the right FFA President. Kent Boggs, state FFA executive secretary, recognized a dedirection. He was there to lend us a velopment in Jett's leadership skills hand, but he allowed us to hone our during those two years. leadership skills individually." While Walker was sure Jett would "The thing I noticed about Travis between his vice president and state run for national office, Jett was not. president years was that he devel"I didn't start thinking about it oped a leadership style," Boggs said. until after state convention," Jett said. "It was really cool to see it develop "I spoke at a few banquets and realand how he'd relate to his team." ized I wasn't done. I went to WashKelly Barnes, state president durington, D.C., and was really out of the ing Jett's first year of office, said he FFA world. I was interning for Rep. knew Jett would continue to do great Frank Lucas, and he spoke to the things because of the maturity he Washington Leadership Conference students. When I saw them in their showed while in office. official dress, I knew I wasn't finished "If you needed to get something withFFA." done, you could always ask Travis," Barnes said. "He was always professional in everything he did. CASNR's role in Jett's election When Jett decided to run for na"Travis matured and became tional FFA office, he said he knew how more focused during his first year. When people get elected as state ofto prepare. He served on the National ficers, they know they are successful. FFA nominating committee the year The great ones want to be significant. before and understood the process. Travis wanted to be significant, and The nominating committee is he was." made up of nine state officers from Cale Walker, a member of Jett's across the nation. The candidates go second team, said he was sure Jett through six rounds of evaluation: two would not be finished with FFA when personal rounds, agricultural issues his time as a state officer ended. and agricultural education issues "National office was an obvious rounds, and two group rounds. They next step for Travis because of the also take a written test and complete leadership he possessed as president a writing assignment. Fall 2006 • 29


Jett laughs as he thinks back to his preparation for the process. "When I decided to run, I decided I was going full-out," Jett said. "I wanted to be burnt out from studying by the time I got to convention, and I was. I only took Tuesday /Thursday classes and studied for the process six to eight hours a day." Several students, faculty and organizations in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources helped Jett with his preparation. "I worked with several professors," Jett said. "One in particular was Dr. [Larry] Sanders. He spent a lot of time out of class working with me on agricultural policy issues. I also met with Dr. [Craig] Edwards and talked about agricultural education topics." Sanders said Jett easily caught on to class discussions and was able to assess the issues and speak about them in an effective manner. "Travis is an example of most of our students in the agricultural economics department," Sanders said. "We are deep in capable students who are dedicated to service. You can go into any class in Ag Hall and find

the best and brightest in Oklahoma. Travis is a good example of why I love what I do." Jett said the courses he took gave him a basic understanding of the issues, but he knew he had to dig a little deeper. "I didn't want to just memorize the issues in agriculture," Jett said. "Instead, I wanted to figure out what made them issues. I wanted to have all of the facts and a great understanding of the issues." Jett also honed his leadership skills through campus activities such as the Homecoming Steering Committee, Speakers Board, President's Leadership Council, Student Alumni Board, Agricultural Student Council and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Jett credits CASNR organizations for much of the development of his leadership skills. "I learned a lot about leadership through Ag Student Council," Jett said. "One of the best things that happened to me was getting beat for vice president of student affairs. I realized that I was falling into the 'campusclimber' category. I was in some clubs

and activities that didn't interest me. Losing that election made me decide to participate in things because I cared about them. A lot of doors opened up from that decision." During his preparation time, Jett also spoke with people who had gone through the nominating process. "The best advice I received was that you are not preparing for the process, you are preparing to be a national officer," Jett said. "It made a big difference in the way I prepared." Jett said he did this by making personal gains in four areas of his life: spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. Regardless of the outcome, he wanted to walk away from the process as a better person. Finally, after 15 years

Jett walked away as the 2005-06 National FFA President. "They read off the results of the four regional vice president officers and my name wasn't called, then national secretary and again no name, and then the presidency," Jett said. " It was very nerve-racking." The Oklahoma FFA officer team kept track of the elected national officers' regions. "They called two people from the central region, which is the region Oklahoma is in," said Austin Horn, 2005-06 Oklahoma State FFA Reporter. "We thought there was no way they would pick three from the same region with there being six officers total. Our hearts were sinking, but we still had hope." Boggs said he also was aware the chances were somewhat slim. "It was down Jackie Mundt (right), 2004-05 National FFA President, pulls Travis Jett (left) on stage as his name is anto the last office," nounced as national FFA president. (photo courtesy of the National FFA Organization) Boggs said. "The 30 • Cowboy Journal


for two years serving as an Oklahoma state officer, and then to have one more year! It was pure joy." Boggs said the plane ride home was a happy one. "Oklahoma had the best national convention in years," Boggs said. "Teams and individuals were winning. I usually come home disappointed, but it was a good change."

A year of service Jett's year has included numerous plane rides as he traveled the nation promoting agriculture and the FFA. "Time flies when you are never in the same place two days in a row," Jett said. Jett will have traveled more than 100,000 Travis Jett sings during his state president's retiring admiles, 300 days of the dress at the State FFA Convention. (photo courtesy of year, and will have Oklahoma FFA) made stops in 40 states when his year of serchances of them calling three, half of vice is complete. He will have met the team, from the central region were with FFA members, agricultural eduslim. To be quite honest, I thought it cation teachers, FFA supporters and wasn't going to happen." agricultural industry leaders. Jett has dedicated this year to But it did happen. At the 78th National FFA Convention, for the first helping the FFA focus on local-level time in 15 years, Oklahoma would activities. He said it is the foundation leave the convention with a national of the national organization and he officer. Although it has been 25 years wants to do what he can to reach that since Oklahoma has had a national important aspect of the FFA. president, the association has had a "My overarching focus is to do total of seven, ranking it first in the what I can do to make things better nation in total presidents. for the local level," Jett said. "When Horn said Jett looked like a naI visit states, I ask the state officers tional president as soon as he made it what they are doing to help members on the local level. I do the same when onto the stage. "He walked up to the podium I am visiting with sponsors or board and took charge," Horn said. "He members. How can we hit every student on that level? Those are the ones looked the part." who need FFA. They are all at a pivJett's parents were in the audiotal moment in their lives, and they ence, anticipating the announcement desperately need FFA's influence." of the new team. While he is focused on the local "It was pure joy to hear his name level, Jett's travels took him all the called," said Jett's morn, Alyson Jett. "I was thinking how truly blessed he way to Japan in February. "We learned a lot about agriculwas to be a spokesperson for the FFA

ture and met with FFA sponsors," Jett said. "We had the chance to experience their culture firsthand. We stayed with a host family for two days and visited a high school while on Atsurni Peninsula." While in Japan, Jett experienced as much of the culture as he could. He said he knew it was a once-in-alifetirne trip and wanted to make the most of it. "I'm not going to be eating seafood for a while," Jett said as he remembers the experience. "I ate fish eggs, seaweed, hard-boiled duck eggs - those were the worst - a fish head and octopus." Even though Jett is on the road for more than 300 days, he is able to go home about once a month. "We actually see him more now than we did last year when he was at school," Alyson Jett said. "We see him three to four days a month." National FFA convention in October will mark the end of Jett's year. "When the year is over, I'll be ready to return to OSU," Jett said. "There is still a lot for me to do, and I want to continue to be active in CASNR. I am excited about the chance to get to know more people in CASNR. There is a good chance some of them could end up being business partners in the agricultural industry."

The next 15 years Jett said he hopes it will not be 15 more years before Oklahoma gets another national officer. "I hope a tradition of national officers from Oklahoma will start this year," Jett said. After graduation, Jett plans to keep his roots in the small northwestern Oklahoma town of Slapout. "After I finish my degree in agricultural economics, I plan to go to law school and hopefully practice law close to home so I can continue to work on the ranch," Jett said. Many people have high hopes and expectations for Jett. "His work ethic is unreal," Ashpaugh said. "When he decides to do something, he does it." Wherever Jett ends up, he will serve agriculture, the industry he loves most. JIit, Fall 2006 • 31


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Students

CASNR helps change the face of agriculture by Nancy Potter, Merritt, Okla.

More than 40 years ago, higher education opened its doors to people who previously had seen the doors locked. As the doors opened, colleges and universities saw women and minorities begin to take advantage of educational opportunities. Women and ethnic minorities slowly have begun to break into fields like the agricultural sciences and careers as academic faculty. Oklahoma State University's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' students and faculty break these historic gender and racial barriers every day. Since 2001, minority and female enrollment in CASNR has increased. Women currently constitute about 48 percent of CASNR students, which is up 7.3 percent since 2001. The enrollment of Hispanics has increased 10.7 percent, while that of African-Americans and Native Americans have increased about 25 percent. AsianAmerican enrollment has increased by the greatest amount with a 155.6 percent increase. Administration and faculty desires to broaden CASNR's student body have fueled the enrollment increases. This change is taking place not only at OSU and CASNR but also in agriculture. Women as CASNR faculty Jacque Fletcher has witnessed the change firsthand. Fletcher has been a professor at OSU for 21 years. As a doctoral student at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, studying plant pathology, she did not have any female professors to look to as mentors. In fact, there were few women in the field at that time. Because of this, Fletcher never saw a woman balance a professional career and home life. Now, she is ensuring female students in the OSU Department of En-

tomology and Plant Pathology do not have that void. Fletcher works to show the women she mentors they can develop their careers in such a way as to have a well-balanced life. Fletcher said she hopes because of women like herself who forged the way for women in the sciences, women will no longer have to choose between a career and a family. Fletcher said women should "go for it" if they are contemplating a CASNR degree in a science field, which is usually dominated by men. She said women will find many opportunities, assistance, support and mentoring from CASNR faculty. "The future is bright for women," Fletcher said. American Indians as CASNR students Cara Cowan Watts, a Cherokee, is making the most of her bright future at OSU through CASNR. Watts received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's in telecommunications management from OSU. She has chosen CASNR to pursue her doctoral degree in biosystems engineering. As an American Indian active in her community, a community tied to agriculture, she wanted a program that shared her commitment to affecting change and being actively involved in the community. Watts said she found that in CASNR. "Faculty members in CASNR are fighting to preserve and conserve our natural resources and are very passionate about it," Watts said. "These are concerns very close to the American Indian community." Watts said minority groups tend to have "holes" in their education. "When these holes are filled, all groups will be successful," she said. CASNR is recruiting students

with strong interests in biotechnology, science, engineering and areas that at one time were not considered to be agriculture-oriented. Programs like The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, of which Watts is a part, are designed to strengthen the preparation and increase minority students in underrepresented fields. The LSAMP program has the long-term goal of increasing the production of doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields with an emphasis on entry into faculty positions. The LSAMP program has given Watts the opportunity to focus on school without financial worries. Through the program she has found mentors and people who always are available to ask for help. CASNR's participation in the program was one of the driving forces of her decision to join the college. African-Americans as CASNR students Matthew Nash is also in the LSAMP program. Nash is an AfricanAmerican student majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. Nash said he decided on OSU because he was offered large scholarships, but his decision to join CASNR was based on the faculty. "The biochemistry program took interest in me immediately and made me feel special," Nash said. Nash has not seen his minority status raise any hurdles for him at OSU or in CASNR, he said. "The faculty make themselves available whenever you need them," Nash said. "I know I can walk in without an appointment and never get turned away." Nash has found CASNR faculty and staff to be helpful in many ways. They send him information about Fall 2006 • 33


scholarships, summer internships and tutoring. They also alert him to information on how to better manage his college life and opportunities including club meetings. Women in CASNR math and science fields Kristin Stephens knows she is one of the few women at OSU studying engineering, but she does not seem to notice. She is an undergraduate in the OSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, where she serves as the president of the student section of The Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Stephens grew up interested in farm machinery and always wanted to study mechanical systems. She found CASNR provided a welcome and friendly atmosphere and an education that fit her interests. Stephens said CASNR is open to her as a woman and the faculty is helpful. She said she has never felt she was at a disadvantage in the mostly male engineering field. "In fact, I have found I have an advantage over my male counterparts because I am able to bring dif-

ferent viewpoints to the field," Stephens said. Although traditionally women have not been thought of as strong in math and science, Stephens encouraged women to pursue degrees in such fields. "Don't let stereotypes scare or deter you," Stephens said. "There are many opportunities for women. "I have never felt at a disadvantage because I am a woman." Organizations focused on high school students also are helping to reshape stereotypes in agriculture. FFA, for example, now offers scholarships to minorities wishing to pursue studies in agriculture. Asian-Americans as CASNR students Tony Subketkaew had an agricultural background in the FFA during high school and said he wanted to do something agriculturally related when he got to college. The agricultural economics major fits his career interests perfectly. "I'm glad I found the right fit," Subketkaew said. Subketkaew, who is Thai, is an

Jillian Prather, biochemistry and molecular biology sophomore, stops in the Noble Research Center for a student meeting. Organizations play a role in retaining female and minority students. (photo by Nancy Potter and photo on page 33 by Dustin Mielke) 34 • Cowboy Journal

agricultural economics junior. An attractive scholarship program influenced his decision to attend OSU. He said his decision to become a part of CASNR seemed only natural to him after his experience in the FFA. Subketkaew said CASNR does a great job of recruiting and retaining minority students. "Most minorities within CASNR tend to stay here for the duration of their undergraduate career, so it seems we are doing something very well," Subketkaew said. Subketkaew said CASNR' s studyabroad programs are one of its strongest appeals to minority students. A lot of minorities, even from different academic colleges, choose to partake in CASNR study-abroad programs. Through these programs, students experience their ancestral country, and some programs include experiences that would be inaccessible to actual citizens. "The college manages to provide a level playing field for everyone," Subketkaew said. "Everyone has equal opportunities as far as academics or activities are concerned." Subketkaew said too many minority students choose to exile themselves to the few students to whom they can relate. "Although this comfort zone provides a degree of safety for them, they are truly missing out by not participating actively on the campus," Subketkaew said. His advice to minority students? "Try to expose yourself to some of the culture Stillwater has to offer," he said. "If anything, I have found that most Oklahomans appreciate the differences brought to Stillwater by other cultures." CASNR always has been a technological leader in the field of agriculture. Now, they are successfully working to lead other institutions in increasing opportunities for minorities and women in agriculture. , .

For more information about opportunities for minorities, call the Multicultural Student Center at (405) 744-5481 or visit www.msc.okstate.edu.


Students

CASNR seniors lead by example by Jen Biser, Keymar, Md.

Ten seniors from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources capped their experience at Oklahoma State University by receiving Top 10 Senior honors at the college's annual banquet. Jordan Russell from Freedom, Okla., received the Paul Hummer Outstanding Senior Award for his leadership and accomplishments. "OSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have opened many doors," Russell said, describing what OSU has afforded him. While at OSU, Russell studied in Europe, served as a Congressional intern in Washington, D.C., "meeting friends who will last a lifetime." As an agribusiness major with an emphasis in pre-law and a minor in political science, Russell is well on his way to achieving his dreams. On campus, Russell was an active member of the Agricultural Student Council, Student Government Association, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Student Alumni Board. Russell attributed his experiences from his hometown for his leadership skills and desire to give to others. "I come from a small town," Russell said. "The same people you see at home are the same people who you see helping others, which has taught me to serve and act selflessly." Russell thanked his grandparents for teaching him what it means to give to others. "They have led by example," he said. "They taught me it's important to be involved, to be a respected community member and to keep the community running." This summer, Russell participated in an OSU Agricultural Leadership Encounter where he and 12 peers from OSU immersed themselves into the Brazillian culture for two weeks. The tour was accompanied by Oklahoma agricultural industry leaders from across the state, including key political leaders.

The CASNR Outstanding Senior Award winner for 2006 was Jordan Russell. With him are his parents, Julie and Tom Russell from Freedom, Okla. (photo by Jen Biser) This fall, Russell has two options: to accept a policy position in Washington D.C.; or to attend law school at the University of Oklahoma. Russell's long-term plans are to pursue a career at a financial institution focusing on financial and estate planning and help rural economic development efforts in Oklahoma. Although the future has many options, Russell still has his family to support him. He said even if his plans do not work out, he can always help at the Russell family cattle ranch and work for his grandfather in the family-owned and operated Freedom State Bank. Four CASNR seniors joined Russell in March to receive the Dean Fred LeCrone Leadership Award: Ashleigh Boggs, Michael Albert, Ashley Nichols and Zachary Pogue. Boggs grew up in Cyril, Okla., and remembered who has stood behind her during her time at OSU. "I would like to thank my parents, grandparents, friends and collegiate mentors for being constant sources of inspiration and encouragement," Boggs said. "I would also like

to thank my uncle, Kent Boggs, for always being there for me. I will forever be grateful for his support and interest in my endeavors." Boggs said her time at OSU kept her busy. As an agribusiness major with a pre-law option and an English minor, Boggs was an Agricultural Ambassador for three years and served as the 2005-06 president. Other achievements include being honored as CASNR's Browning Outstanding Freshman; serving as a Student Academic Mentor for AG 1011, as Chief Justice of the OSU SGA; and being an initiate in Phi Kappa Phi. "My dream is to practice environmental law and ultimately be a judge in Oklahoma," Boggs said. Albert of Beaver, Okla., was a landscape architecture major with a minor in international business. "My education has shaped me into an individual who appreciates agriculture and the future opportunities it possesses," Albert said. "The college has instilled intellectual, social and professional values, all of which will aid in my future endeavors." Albert was active in AGR fraFall 2006 • 35


Ten students earned Outstanding Senior honors at the 2006 CASNR annual banquet: Michael Albert (back left), Ashleigh Boggs, Zachary Pogue, Jordan Russell, Jess Waddell, Grace Hale (front left), Traci Harp, Ashley Nichols, Laura Townley and Tyler Dean (not pictured). (photo by Jen Biser) ternity and the Agricultural Student Council, served as a Student Academic Mentor, led the university as the executive director of Homecoming and served as the OSU president of Sigma Lambda Alpha National Honor Society. Albert's accomplishments included the Romshe Outstanding Undergraduate Senior Award, the Mosel Top GPA Senior Award and an American Society of Landscape Architects award for design; he also was selected as an OSU Leadership Legacy and a Senior of Significance. In addition to his on-campus activities, Albert participated in internships in China and Poland. Nichols of McAlester, Okla., said an education includes being involved in activities outside the classroom. As a pre-veterinary major, Nichols personified this perspective through her involvement with oncampus activities: The Pre-Vet Medicine Club, Freshmen In Transition, Student Academic Mentor, Alpha Zeta and the CASNR Scholarship and Awards Committee. Nichols said Agricultural Ambas36 • Cowboy Journal

sadors allowed her the opportunity to give back to the university, college and department that "provided her with so much support." As an applicant to the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Nichols' passion to be involved in the agricultural industry and desire to be challenged will be the driving force to help her through veterinary school and into the future. Pogue, of Velma, Okla., majored in animal science and minored in agricultural economics.

In addition to taking on the responsibilities of teaching assistant for Rodney Geisert' s animal reproduction class and serving as an Agricultural Ambassador, Pogue stayed active as a member of the 2005 Animal Science Quadrathalon team, Alpha Zeta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Golden Key. Topping off the Top 10 seniors are Jess Waddell, animal science, Sutton, Neb.; Laura Townley, pre-vet, Little Rock, Ark.; Traci Harp, biochemistry and molecular biology, Pawnee, Okla.; Grace Hale, animal science, Glencoe, Okla., and Tyler Dean, agribusiness, Forgan, Okla. The college presented several other awards at the 2006 CASNR annual banquet. Lindsey Kuzma of Lodi, Wisc., received the 2006 Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman award as a result of her leadership through her participation in OSU's Horseman's Association, President's Leadership Council, Iota Kappa and the OSU women's polo team. This year marked a record in scholarships awarded to CASNR students. The college presented $815,900 in scholarships for 2006-07. "The college was exceptionally fortunate to have such loyal donors to make this record possible," said Ed Miller, associate dean for CASNR. "To our donors, giving back to the students through scholarships is a personal thing - a feeling of service and wanting to give back to the system which helped them." "What better way is there to invest in the future?" II'

Other CASNR winners Alpha Zeta recognized two individuals for outstanding leadership. The Alpha Zeta Outstanding Freshman Award went to Megan Downing, an animal science pre-vet student from Locust Grove, Okla. Rod Geisert, an animal science professor, received the Outstanding Teacher Award and a "fond farewell." In July, Geisert accepted a position at the University of Missouri. Animal science professor Bob Kropp received the Agricultural Ambassador Outstanding Adviser Award. Determined by a student vote, Kropp was commended for his personal investment in students' well-being and career development. The Agricultural Ambassador Outstanding Support Staff Award was given to Debbie Porter for her assistance and commitment to the plant and soil sciences department. Collegiate FFA was recognized as CASNR's Outstanding Club.


Research

Museum provides national resource by Wesley Watson, Piedmont, Okla.

Sometimes, you do not know what you have until it is gone. Not so for Oklahoma State University's Arthropod Museum, but the 80-year-old resource is in danger of extinction. Established in 1924, the OSU Arthropod Museum has been a staple of the entomology department for research and extension. "The museum is an invaluable resource for students, faculty and the public," said Andrine Morrison, entomology graduate student. The Arthropod Museum began in its own illuminated apiary; the building's perforated sides allowed the capture of nocturnal insects. The museum's collections were relocated to Life Sciences East in 1964 and were moved to Life Sciences West in 1972. Since 1990, the museum has been in the Noble Research Center. "The Noble Research Center is regarded as the cutting edge of science," said Richard Berberet, professor of entomology. "However, the collections are not appreciated as part of this." What makes the arthropod museum important? The answer involves the actual collections and Arthropod Museum curator, Don Arnold. OSU's collection is one of the top 10 collegiate insect collections in the United States. "Reference specimens from the museum are loaned to graduate students and researchers from across the United States," Berberet said. "New specimens are identified frequently, even within the collections." The museum includes 250,000 to 300,000 different species of arthropods and countless specimens. "The louse collection is the world's third largest lice collection," Arnold said. "We have 50,000 lice in the collection, and they represent 85 percent of all known lice species." Another notable international in-

sect collection includes 100,000 specimens and was given to OSU by alumnus KC. Emerson. Well known in his field, Emerson published more than 140 books and articles about medical veterinary entomology, parasitology and ecology. "Numerous specimens in this collection are over 100 years old and are irreplaceable," Morrison said. The KC. Emerson collection is relevant because of these unique specimens and is valued between $100,000 to $200,000, Arnold said. As the only Arthropod Museum curator, Arnold monitors the museum and fulfills all of its inherent obligations. He is the heart and soul of the OSU Arthropod Museum. Arnold has been immersed in entomology at OSU for more than 30 years and has served as curator for 15 years. In addition to his curator duties, Arnold ranks as one of the top three taxonomists in Oklahoma. He receives specimens for identification purposes from across the country. "The guaranteed way to get Don Arnold to smile is to show him a unique arthropod," Berberet said. "His dedication and love for entomology is that strong." Despite the benefits the Arthropod Museum offers, it may disappear because of the irreplaceable nature of faculty like Arnold. "Taxonomy has been in decline for 35 years," Berberet said. "This discipline enables natural history museums, like ours, to continue." Taxonomy, the field of science that classifies life, is studied and practiced differently than it was 200 years ago. Scientists use natural concepts and Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus' system to classify specimens. Advances in knowledge of morphology, evolution and genetics have modified modern taxonomic classification, but few students focus in taxonomy.

The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly and the Sucking Louse are two of the specimens provided in the OSU Arthropod Museum. (photos courtesy of OSU Arthropod Museum)

"We will still offer a class in insect taxonomy, ENTO 4464 Systematic Entomology, in the fall," Berberet said. "This will be the last time I teach the course, and we are hoping to hire a new faculty member who is interested in teaching this course and some other basic entomology courses." "We have no replacement for Don," Berberet said. "His tenure and experience make him indispensable. Taxonomy is needed as a basic resource for entomology as a whole. "Since we have few students Fall 2006 • 37


studying taxonomy, who would replace him? Without Don, the museum would not exist. It is happenstance that it remains." The Arthropod Museum is worth saving for numerous reasons, Berberet said. The vast numbers of insects on the planet, coupled with their inherent and undiscovered uses, necessitate the Arthropod Museum's existence, although the number of visitors has declined in recent years. "Five years ago, we had 200 to 300 visitors annually," Arnold said. "Now, we are lucky to have 100. Although I still have consistent clients, too few people know about the existence of our museum. Even on campus, many people still do not know it is here.", . Don Arnold, curator, views slides from the museum. (photo by Wesley Watson)

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The Ranchers Club, located in the OSU Student Union, opened in September 2005. The Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center selects, ages and hand cuts all of the restaurant's beef products. (photo by Dustin Mielke)

by Courtney Hentges, Perry, Okla.

Paintings of ranches, bronze Western statues, plaques depicting brands and antler chandeliers do not seem like the typical decor for fine dining. But then again, the Ranchers Club at Oklahoma State University was never intended to be typical. What began as a service for campus hotel guests and visitors has turned into a dynamic relationship between two thriving programs: OSU's School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration and the Oklahoma Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center. The Ranchers Club, which opened in September 2005, is a fine-dining restaurant that is a part of the Ather-

ton Hotel on campus. Jim Barnard, manager of the Atherton Hotel, said he wanted to create the restaurant's menu around beef, so he sought help from meat experts at FAPC. "I'm a firm believer in trying to unite different areas of the campus into projects," Barnard said. "I went [to FAPC] and started asking questions. It's an unbelievable facility. I was blown away by what was going on over there." In fall 2002, FAPC and the Ranchers Club began working together to get high-quality meat products for the Ranchers Club restaurant. "The Ranchers Club asked for help designing the menu; writing

specifications for cuts; determining aging requirements, trim specifications, quality grade and yield grade; and finding suppliers of the meat," said Jake Nelson, value-added meat processing specialist for FAPC. In May 2005, after nearly three years of working with the restaurant, FAPC specialists began cutting meat products to determine specifications that would create a consistent product. During this time, they considered what cuts Chef Ben Coffin preferred and what Barnard liked. "One of our main cuts was an accident," Barnard said. "I knew I wanted to have a bone-in ribeye. We cut one, and it looked like something Fall 2006 • 39


you'd see on 'The Flintstones.' It was huge ... massive. We just laughed and said it would never work." After comparing it to the others they cut, everyone from FAPC and the Ranchers Club agreed it w as the best, Barnard said. It became the signature cut, called "The Rancher," which is a 3-inch cut with at least 22 ounces of U.S. Department of Agriculture prime beef. Although only 2 to 3 percent of beef in the United States grades prime, all of the beef served during dinner at the Ranchers Club is USDA prime. The three full-time and 13 student employees at FAPC also hand cut a beef ribeye steak, strip loin steak, tenderloin steak, ground beef patties, beef kabobs and smoked pork loin. All meat is aged between 21 and 28 days to improve tenderness. The Ranchers Club is the only client for which FAPC fabricates meat in retail form. "The Ranchers Club is not a typical client of the center," Nelson said. "Working with them allows us to learn some of the challenges and procedures another processor in the state might have when they provide a similar service to a customer of theirs. "When these facilities come to the center for technical and business help, we have firsthand experience at what they go through, and hopefully

we can address those problems much easier and much faster." Nelson, along w ith other FAPC employees, led a seminar for all of the wait staff, front-end staff and kitchen staff before the restaurant opened to make it easier to an swer questions about the product they w ere serving. Planning to open the restaurant was not limited to the m enu. Barnard and others working to open the restaurant had to find donors to fund the more than $1.3 million renovation. Since many of the d onors h ad agricultural backgrounds, Barnard said it m ade sen se to honor them through the decor of the Ranchers Club. Above each booth is an original oil p ainting of the ranch owned by a d onor, w hom the Ranchers Club refers to as a founder, alon g with the founder 's name and brand. "The m ost interesting p arts of the decor were the oil paintings of the ranches and the brands," said Jennifer Dassel, agricultural communications master 's student. "It really says a lot about Oklahoma's ranching heritage." Dassel, a Californian, d ined at the Ranchers Club for the first time on Valentine's Day. "I was looking for an upscale restaurant that w as appropriate for a romantic holiday," Dassel said. "The decor, style, classiness and the way

Josh Schatte, plant and soil sciences senior, is one of the students who prepares beef at FAPC. The center provides students hands-on experience in meat processing. (photo by Courtney Hentges) 40 • Cowboy Journal

Tyler Hickman, animal science senior, cuts steaks at FAPC. The center prepares beef in retail form for the Ranchers Club. (photo by Courtney Hentges) the restaurant was set up drew me into the Ranchers Club." Dassel, who served as an Executive Fellow for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said she had many finedining experiences in California, but dining at the Ranchers Club was one of her favorites. While the Ranchers Club provides the quality of food and service of an upscale restaurant, it tries to maintain a comfortable atmosphere for any type of guest, said Jennifer Grandpre, food and beverage manager for the restaurant. "We have a lot of people who say they would not feel comfortable coming to a fine-dining restaurant; however, they can walk in here and it's more laid back, so they can feel comfortable," Grandpre said. The Ranchers Club serves about 90 people each weekend, Grandpre said. A lunch at the Ranchers Club costs between $10 and $15. Dinner prices range from $25 to $50. Customers include OSU students, faculty and administration, as well as the Stillwater community and campus visitors. Barnard said the Ranchers Club is a source of pride for OSU. Few universities have a restaurant with the same quality of food and service. Many people agree the relationship between FAPC and the Ranchers Club is a success. Dassel said she noticed the menu stated the meat had been selected, aged and hand cut by FAPC.


"You feel great to be eating there and supporting the university," Dassel said. "I think it is the most efficient and effective use of resources that the university can display to the public." Combining resources within the university system was one of Barnard's goals when he sought the help of FAPC. "[The FAPC employees] were just so welcoming to me and made me feel like part of the family; I never felt like there was another way to go," Barnard said about choosing to use FAPC as its meat fabricator. "They've been terrific. We could have never done this without them." Grandpre said the convenience of having FAPC located just across campus has been beneficial to the Ranchers Club. "Having a relationship right here on campus has been a blessing be-

cause of the fact that they understand what we need," Grandpre said. As for the future, both FAPC and the Ranchers Club plan to continue their relationship. Barnard said the Ranchers Club is still looking for ways to expand, and FAPC already has helped the restaurant cooperate with an Oklahoma coffee grower who now brews the Ranchers Club a signature roast. "The FAPC continually exposes us to new folks who come through their doors over there who may be of service to the Ranchers Club," Barnard said. The restaurant's next project with FAPC may be learning how to package and market boxed beef and a marinade with the Ranchers Club brand, Barnard said. Helping the Ranchers Club develop new value-added products is the type of service the center

provides to Oklahoma businesses every day. "I consider us another one of their success stories, another Made in Oklahoma product," Barnard said. Customers also are looking forward to their future experiences at the Ranchers Club. "I've been trying to think of excuses to go there and have a really great meal," Dassel said. "When my family comes to town for my graduation, I plan to take them there to eat." A meal at the Ranchers Club is sure to provide a taste of Old West charm, an education about Oklahoma's rich ranching heritage and an opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy Stillwater's dining at its finest. , .

To learn more about the services provided by FAPC, call (405) 744-6071 or e-mail jim.brooks@okstate.edu.

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Research

From tomatoes to wheat? OSU researchers help farmers by Katie Stacy, Oktaha, Okla.

Water, water everywhere. Chances are, if you live in Oklahoma, this is not a phrase you have heard lately.

While the Sooner State has its advantages, it also has some areas that leave its residents "out to dry."

OSU researchers examine tomato plants in the project greenhouse. These tomatoes are essential to the next phase in the research process. (photo by Katie Stacy) 42 • Cowboy Journal

One of these circumstances is the weather. Oklahomans know putting away seasonal clothes is not wise with the way temperatures regularly go from 90 to 50 degrees in a day; however, it is something the devoted residents accept. But what about Oklahomans who make their living from farming? What do you do when there is no rain for six months at a time? "If you don't have moisture, you don't have growth," said Mike Bomhoff, a farmer and rancher from Okarche, Okla. "It takes a lot of moisture to grow forage." Thanks in part to researchers at Oklahoma State University, farmers like Bomhoff might not have to worry about this problem quite so much. Bjorn Martin, professor and researcher of plant and soil sciences at OSU, and Charles Tauer, professor and researcher at OSU, along with a post-doctoral researcher and several OSU students work on this project. They are members of a consortium funded by the National Science Foundation with Cornell University, the University of North Carolina and the Boyce Thompson Institute to better understand, and potentially increase, water-use efficiency in plants. "Water is the most limiting resource for growth," Martin said. "Some plants can produce lots with little water while others cannot." The project was developed because of the realization of water-use efficiency in wild plants. Researchers study domestic and wild breeds of certain plants to try to pinpoint drought resistance to transfer it to domesticated plants. According to Cornell University, reduction in crop yield due to water stress is estimated at 65 percent globally; up to 80 percent of stream and river flow is already diverted to human use in many semi-arid regions.


As reported on the project Web site, the consortium will use a stable isotope technique to screen genotypes of modern crops and their wild relatives to identify differences in wateruse efficiency. A measure of naturally occurring, non-radioactive stable carbon isotope composition, known to be associated with plant water-use efficiency, will be used to perform a broad analysis of genetic factors that condition water-use efficiency in plants. This will be followed by molecular techniques of fine mapping and marker-assisted selection to pinpoint the location of important genetic loci. OSU researchers are applying their knowledge to tomatoes and Cornell is working with rice. Martin has worked with wild tomatoes since 1985 and was asked to be part of the project because of his expertise in the tomato area. "We have evaluated 50 lines containing fragments of wild tomato chromosomes for water-use efficiency and have found one line that seems to be especially drought resistant," Martin said. "We have separated this line out and are trying to find the one gene within the line that carries the drought-resistant trait." Martin and Tauer, along with OSU post-doctoral research associates Xiangyang Xu and Jun Yang, hope to identify which specific gene or genes are responsible for water-use efficiency. They then will be able to clone it to put into other species to make them more water-stress resistant. It is difficult to say how long this research will take, but Martin estimates it will take another five to 10 years; Martin said it is still much easier than to attempt it by traditional breeding methods. "Breeders have not been able to breed for water-use efficiency because it is so difficult to identify water-use efficient plants from those that are not," Martin said. Martin said they hope to transfer what they learn about drought resistance in tomatoes to wheat. With wheat being Oklahoma's largest agricultural commodity, Oklahoma farmers have much to gain from this. Martin said the knowledge they

learned from tomatoes will be useful in wheat. He said although wheat is hexaploid, a tomato is diploid, which makes it easier to analyze. Martin said researchers should be able to pinpoint the drought-resistant gene more quickly with tomatoes than working specifically with wheat. "All genes are similar on a molecular level, and knowledge is transferable," Tauer said. "Anything learned OSU student researcher Adam West examines tomato chrofrom one plant can mosomes under a microscope. Researchers hope tomatoes be used for another. will be able to unlock the key to drought resistance in wheat. With tomatoes, we (photo by Katie Stacy) can learn so many things rapidly. "This knowledge can be transweed specialist. "Less wheat also £erred back." means less forage for cattle." So, why would a successful outWith all of the implications the recome be beneficial for Oklahoma's cent drought has shown Oklahoma's farmers? The recent drought is probfarmers and ranchers, OSU's waterably more than enough to answer that use efficiency research has become question for many people. much more important to farmers. "With technology comes great "Not having enough water at the right time is the No. 1 yield problem promises, but advances are a slow in Oklahoma," said Jeff Edwards, process," Edwards said. "If they are OSU small grains specialist. "While successful, this could be feasible for farmers to use, but it will take a nummany times we may get enough total rainfall throughout the year, it arrives ber of years to implement it." This will not just have positive very sporadically. This is not good for results for Oklahoma agriculture. plant survival." The seed will not only be delivered Tauer said he hopes this research to OSU breeders for distribution but will help reduce the need for irrigaalso likely will go to major national tion. As someone who relies on his breeders, as well. wheat pasture to help feed his cattle, Because of the complexity of Bomhoff said he hopes these researchwheat's infrastructure, it will take ers are correct. "The wheat that I planted in Septime to implement what is learned tember is still green, and I am able to from the studies. But to many, it will run cattle on it, but anything planted be worth the wait. If researchers are after that has not done well," Bomable to create more drought-resishoff said. tant wheat, Oklahoma's farmers and Bomhoff is certainly not alone ranchers will be able to say fewer in this. Many farmers and ranchers prayers for rain. I" across Oklahoma have experienced the same problems. For more information on the prog"The bulk of wheat is dual purress of the water-use efficiency project, pose," said Case Medlin, extension visit http:/I isotope.bti.cornell.edu. Fall 2006 • 43


Extension

Little flies fulfill big dreams by Tierra Layton, Welch, Okla.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's .. . Superfly! A South American parasitic fly may be coming to the rescue for many agricultural producers and Oklahomans by helping control the red imported fire ant population. Fire ants infest more than 318 million acres in the southern United States, where they have become a considerable agricultural pest and a significant health hazard to people and animals, according to the Oklahoma State University Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service is the lead agency for the Areawide Fire Ant Suppression Program, said Russ Wright, professor and former head of the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, 44 • Cowboy Journal

South Carolina and Texas work with the USDA-ARS to help with the parasitic fly research and establishment. "There is a problem with fire ant populations in Oklahoma, and one of the reasons we are releasing the parasitic fly is to aid in control of the fire ants," Wright said. "This has been an ongoing program for four years, and we are starting to get some results from the release of the parasitic fly." The parasitic fly being released and trying to gain establishment in Oklahoma is a type of Phorid fly called Pseudacteon curvatus. This fly is used because it is a natural enemy of the fire ant. The natural enemy can provide control because it affects only fire ants, not other species. P. curvatus also can improve and extend the effectiveness of insecticide treatments, according to the USDA-ARS.

"We have released two species of the parasitic fly in Bryan County, but the one that over-wintered was the P. curvatus, and it was released in late May and early June of 2004," Wright said. "Wayne Smith, OSU Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management educator for Bryan County, has performed and monitored all of the releases in the area." Wright said the USDA-ARS suppression program has released parasitic flies on two sites: one site is in southern Bryan County, and the other is in northern Bryan County. "Although Oklahoma has other types of Phorid flies, they are not the kind of flies that will attack the red imported fire ants," Smith said. "One of the most important concerns with fire ants is the sting that is inflicted onto humans and wildlife,"


Smith said. "Given the high numbers of ants that attack, the volume of venom is greater than that of other ants found in the United States." Fire ant venom is composed of alkaloids that are different from other ants and other stinging insects. Other insect venom is high in protein. "Some people react severely to the fire ant sting and may go into shock, which can lead to death," Smith said. "There are one or two deaths every year related to fire ant stings and that's usually someone who has a medical condition." In addition, fire ants are known to cause damage to Oklahoma pastures. In pastures, especially hay fields, the fire ants build large mounds of dirt. The large mounds can cause damage to hay equipment. "In pastures, fire ants are detrimental toward wildlife," Smith said. "Ground-nesting birds and mammals are subject to ant stings on the newborns, which can lead to death. I have personally seen a nest of baby doves killed and have had reports in my office of people who have lost a litter of puppies or kittens killed by the ants. Even birds nesting in trees can have their hatchlings killed by fire ants." Fire ants make it to the states

Red imported fire ants first came

to the United States around 1930. More than 70 years later, there are five times more ants per acre in the United States than in their native land of South America, according to the USDA-ARS. Natural enemies of the fire ants keep most of the South American ants in check. The red imported fire ant was recorded in parts of Oklahoma as early as 1985. Fire ants have been found in 39 Oklahoma counties as of late summer 2004. In the past, eight counties in southern Oklahoma have come under federal quarantine, with special requirements for the shipment of certain goods out of those counties, according to the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Until now, the primary method of controlling fire ants has been to use insecticides. The only way to maintain control has been to apply insecticides two to four times a year at a cost of at least $10 per acre for each treatment; thus, treating all infested land would cost $6 billion to $12 billion a year, according to the USDA-ARS.

They're going into attack mode

Wright said part of the fire ants' control mechanism is to avoid the flies. When parasitic flies are around, fire ants do not forage well. "The parasitic fly, which if you can imagine is actually only a half to a quarter of the size of the fire ant, stings the ant," Wright said. "It has been kind of interesting to watch the fire ants and parasitic flies interact with one another." When the fly stings the ant, it is actually laying an egg into the abdomen of the ant. The fly stings the ant through the exoskeleton and into the side of the body. "The egg goes through its lifecycle as a maggot," Smith said. "The maggot stays in the body of the ant and eventually migrates to the ant's head. While inside the head, it eats the membrane of the ant and the ant's head will eventually fall off." That is why these flies are sometimes called "decapitating flies" because they cause the ant's head to fall off, Wright said. "The adult fly emerges from the mouthparts of the ant's head," Smith said. "This process takes between 30 to 40 days to complete. Once the adult fly emerges from the fire ant, it will only live three to five days."

(Illustrations by Marcus Ashlock and Tierra Layton) Fall 2006 • 45


Smith said the parasitic fly can infect up to 200 ants per day, but, realistically, the fly will lay about 100 to 150 eggs in fire ants per day. I've never seen a fly like that!

The first step to releasing the parasitic fly in Oklahoma was to get the parasitic fly into the state. "All of the flies have to come through the USDA facility in Gainesville, Fla.," Wright said. "Right now, we have to send ants to Florida to get infected with this parasitic fly, and then those ants are reintroduced into their original mounds back here in Bryan County, Okla." Smith has assisted with all of the parasitic fly releases in Bryan County. He started by gathering ants from 112 mounds total from the northern and southern locations in Bryan County. He said once the ants are infected with the parasitic fly, the process will begin and flies will be seen within 30 to 40 days. "The flies over-wintered, which is the first time they have done so in this state," Wright said. "We found them at both sites in Bryan County in

the early spring of 2005. The parasitic flies also were spotted three to five miles from each of the sites in Bryan County during the first two weeks of July 2005. We continued to look for them all summer. The extreme drought situation made it hard to find them, but they're there." Wright said in late October and November 2005, the flies were still present near the sites where they were released. "We are very hopeful that these flies are established and will continue to expand their range," Wright said. "If the flies follow the pattern of releases in Texas and Tennessee, they should expand 10 to 15 miles a year." Smith said since the flies are established in Oklahoma, the USDAARS can try to relocate some of the flies to the surrounding areas of Bryan County.

they'll aid in keeping fire ants from foraging, and they'll aid in knocking down the population of fire ants." Wright said the parasitic flies should make their way across the fire ant range in Oklahoma within four to five years. The parasitic fly is bringing financial benefits to Oklahoma as well as to the nation. Areawide suppression using baits and biological controls of fire ants is expected to save more than $4.6 billion a year in fire ant damage in the United States, according to the USDA-ARS. The parasitic fly is expected to save money, time and resources for Oklahomans. It will reduce the stress for animals and producers by lowering livestock production costs and increasing farm-worker safety. It truly is a Superfly. , .

The flies are here to stay

For more information, visit the USDA-ARS Areawide Fire Ant Suppression Web site at http://Jireant.ifas. ufi.edu/ or the USDA Web site at http:// www.ars.usda.gov. Or e-mail Wayne Smith at wayne.smith@okstate.edu.

"The parasitic flies are not going to completely control the fire ants, but we've got big hopes for this little fly," Wright said. "Although they will not eradicate the fire ant population,

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46 • Cowboy Journal


Extension

Fight

with

by Luke Carr, Coffeyville, Kan. The high winds and lack of rain starting in the fall and carrying into winter last year aided in the loss of Oklahoma homes, livestock and even residents. The state was declared a national disaster area by President George W. Bush. As of April 7, more than 560,000 acres, 1,000 homes and three deaths had been reported, according to newspaper reports. Rusty Martin, former Oklahoma State University football player from Checotah, Okla., lost several cows but said it could have been worse. "Ilost16cowsand 11 calves,"Martin said. "My fences were too good, I guess, because they got pushed down into a corner and couldn't get out. I burned the break lines and the paint on my truck trying to get to them." Martin said he had his livestock insured but the insurance did not cover fire loss. It only covers cattle if they get out and are hit by a vehicle. "I asked the driver of the fire truck if he ran over 16 of my cows," he said with a laugh. "I have to joke about it or else I'll cry." Martin said the fire was southwest of his land and headed right at his house, but luckily the wind changed the direction of the fire. "If the fire wouldn't have changed direction, I would have lost everything," he said. "My horses, barn, house, I wouldn't have anything left. I think the good Lord was watching out for me that day."

ican Indians by the Europeans, who had no controlled fire in their culture for land management. Fire suppression led to the increase of cedar trees, danger to firefighters and the public from wildfires, and allergies for humans. Fire suppression also decreased wildlife species, forage production and accessibility for cattle, and water quality and quantity. A large concern for rangeland ecologist Terry Bidwell is the Eastern red cedar. "The Eastern red cedar has taken over millions of acres since the Europeans introduced fire suppression," said Bidwell, OSU extension specialist and professor of rangeland and ecology management. Prior to statehood, Eastern red cedars were confined to rock outcrops and areas fire could not reach. Fire suppression, farming and overgrazing have allowed the cedars to spread to areas where they were historically not present, Bidwell said. By 1950, the cedars had taken over 1.5 million acres, and by 1985, they covered 3.5 million acres. The trend continued, and by 1995, the cedars had taken over more than 6 million acres, approximately 15 per-

cent of Oklahoma's total land area. Ten million acres now have been over taken by the Eastern red cedars. The Eastern red cedar is taking over 782 acres per day and 300,000 acres per year. They can grow one foot in diameter and one foot in height in one year. As they grow up and out, they force out other plants and trees native to Oklahoma. One acre of Eastern red cedars can absorb 55,000 gallons of water per year, which is 10 to 30 gallons per day. They leave all of the important vegetation around them dead and dry, a perfect situation for a wildfire, Bidwell said. In the 2005-06 fall and winter, there was an insufficient amount of precipitation for a substantial amount of time. When the other vegetation went dormant for the winter, the Eastern red cedar did not. Even though the cedar is green, it is a volatile, dangerous fuel to firefighters and public safety, Bidwell said. Remove Eastern red cedars to reduce wildfire intensity

Landowners can keep these plants from taking over prairies and forests. As with anything else, these

Fire not new to Oklahoma

Controlled burning has been around for more than 10,000 years. The American Indians adopted it as a management process. Native plants and animals are adapted to fire and require it to remain healthy. Fire scars on trees show fire occurred every three to five years in all seasons. This kept the prairies clear of trees and the forests open and healthy for all wildlife habitats. In the 1830s, a cultural change occurred with the removal of the Amer-

Luke Bell, plant and soil sciences alumnus, controls a prescribed fire. (photo courtesy of the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences) Fall 2006 • 47


control methods come with a cost, but the cost of doing nothing is the most expensive, Bidwell said. In 2001, the economic loss due to catastrophic wildfires that caused the loss of cattle production, wildlife habitat, recreational leasing and water yield was $218 million. If no action is taken, the loss in 2013 is projected to be $447 million, Bidwell said. One type of mechanical control is bull-dozing. Dozing costs $90 to $100 per acre. This is the most expensive mechanical control and is not practical, Bidwell said. Another type of mechanical control is a skid-steer loader with a hydraulic tree shear, $50 per acre, or a hydraulic tree saw, $40 per acre. Two bulldozers with a steel cylinder and 200 feet of anchor chain would cost $25 per acre. The cheapest mechanical control is using hand tools such as a chain saw, ax or tree pruners, $11 per acre. All of these methods should be followed by fire to remove the debris, and none of them are cost effective, but they will work if cost is not a concern, Bidwell said.

"I know farmers and ranchers who just carry a pair of loppers in their truck, and when they are driving through their pasture, if they see a small tree sprouting up, they jump out and cut it off," Bidwell said. "The most effective and cheapest way to keep these cedars out of pastures and forests is prescribed burning." The U.S. Department of Agriculture has programs to help farmers and ranchers reclaim their pastures. An example of these programs is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, a cost-share program in which the USDA will help pay for the services rendered to reclaim the burned land. Bidwell teaches national fire courses, as well as two in Oklahoma. These courses are to teach people about the importance of burning to keep wildlife species and beneficial forage from decreasing. "People from all over come to these classes," Bidwell said. "The more people we reach the better." Cattle owners benefit from higher fire frequency. The sprouting of woody plants decreases each time

a pasture is burned, which creates more space for beneficial vegetation for cattle consumption. Gain increases on stocker cattle 10 to 15 percent and body condition score by one on cows, thus making the producer more money, Bidwell said. Numerous factors contribute to uncontrollable wildfires. With the help of government programs and educational courses, like the ones that Bidwell teaches, the odds of having wildfires can be reduced. Bidwell said the best way to reduce or eliminate damages from wildfire is to reduce wildland fuels by prescribed burning. There always will be costs, but when the cost of either mechanical control, herbicide control or the way the yard is landscaped is weighed against the cost of the home and belongings that were lost, not to mention the memories, being fire wise seems cheaper. ~

For more information about prescribed burning and wildfire safety, visit wwwfirewise.org or e-mail Terry Bidwell at terry.bidwell@okstate.edu.

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48 • Cowboy Journal


AG ALUMNI NEWS

CASNR honors Rep. Frank Lucas Rep. Frank Lucas received a Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award on April 24. The presentation of the award was highlighted with a seminar by Lucas that focused on the next Farm Bill and the status of base funding through the Hatch and McIntireStennis programs. The criteria for receiving the Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award are broad, as there are many ways alumni have made a positive impact on society and the agricultural industry. "Whether working as a farmer, Oklahoma State Legislator or U.S. Congressional Representative, Frank has always had Oklahoma agriculture at the center of his attention," said Larry Sanders, agricultural economics professor. Distinguished alumni have ex-

celled in business, science, politics, education and public service. Most have been leaders in agriculture or natural resources but not all. For example, some have had long and successful careers in the military. Rep. Lucas is serving his sixth full term as a member of Congress, representing Oklahoma's 3rd Congressional District. He serves on the agriculture, financial services and science committees, and he is the chairman of the agriculture subcommittee on conservation, credit, rural development and research. Lucas is a fifth-generation Oklahoman whose family has lived and farmed in Oklahoma for more than 100 years. He votes in Washington during the week, and on the weekend, he operates a farm and cattle ranch in Roger Mills County.

Lucas was born Jan. 6, 1960, in Cheyenne, Okla. He graduated in 1982 with an agricultural economics degree. The Lucases have three children and one grandchild. ,,.

Rep. Frank Lucas received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Distinguished alumni are chosen based on the positive effects they have had on society.

Comments from the Dean As we near 2007 and Oklahoma's centennial celebration, the scope of contributions made by the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources during the last century showcases our most important resource: people who see the value of the land-grant mission. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources awarded a record-setting $815,900 in scholarships to deserving OSU agriculture students for the 2006-2007 school year. The generosity of our many loyal donors and alumni make these scholarships a reality for our students. One of the great privileges I have is to speak about the commitment shown by our extended OSU family in supporting the dreams and aspirations of our students. Be sure to read pages 35 and 36 for information on some of our award recipients.

We also have been grateful for legislative support that allowed us to hire nearly two dozen faculty members in the past year, as part of our Second Century Initiative. We have created seven high-priority research and extension thrusts, organized more than 20 task-oriented teams to address these priorities, and integrated research and extension professionals who possess the ability to be on the cutting edge of research, while communicating daily with Oklahoma residents. We are excited our leadership team is complete with the addition of Jim Trapp and Clarence Watson as associate directors. In today's increasingly complex world, our land-grant mission has never been more vital. Our mission of conducting applied research and disseminating research-based information help state citizens and com-

munities solve issues of importance to Oklahomans. As a bonus, these research and extension priorities find their way back into our classrooms and provide undergraduate and graduate students with numerous research opportunities to explore cutting-edge applications of knowledge. In my opinion, there never has been a more exciting time in the division's storied history. Please accept my heartfelt invitation to visit us. Our strength is, always has been, and always will be our people. Welcome home.

Robert E. Whitson Vice President, Dean and Director Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Fall 2006 • 49


Ag Alumni Association Board of Directors Jason Harvey, President El Reno, Okla. Shelly Ramsey, Vice President Jones, Okla. Kim Spady, Secretary Hinton, Okla. Brent Kisling, Past President Enid, Okla. Barry Bessinger .... Watonga, Okla. Wes Elliott... ............ Elk City, Okla. Brent Garvie ..... Burlington, Okla. Clay Jones ................ Durant, Okla. Jami Longacre .... Kellyville, Okla. Steve Upson ........ Ardmore, Okla. Wayne Walters ........ Canute, Okla.

50 • Cowboy Journal

DASNR tours agribusinesses The Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources conducted its third Access Tour on May 30-31. The twoday tour across the state makes stops at many agricultural areas of interest. This year, the tour traveled northeast of Stillwater. During the first day, participants made stops at the Head Country food processing facility, at the Tall Grass Prairie to learn about control burning and land management, and at Hughes Ranch to tour their livestock operation. After lunch, participants headed to Chelsea to see the first operational biodiesel processing facility in Oklahoma. The day ended at Port 33 with dinner and a facility presentation. Day two began with a visit to a sod farm in Bixby, then on to a Porter peach farm and the Haskell Experiment Station, followed by a visit to a meat goat farm where participants learned about goat embryo transfer and artificial insemination. The group completed its journey at the ever-popular stop at a local winery.

"The Ag Access Tour was started to show the diversity of agriculture in Oklahoma," said Jason Harvey, Agriculture Alumni Association president and coordinator of the 2006 tour. "It offers our faculty, students and alumni the opportunity to see what is happening across the state and how these projects reflect back to OSU. "Each tour stop offered a different aspect of Oklahoma agriculture, and we are very appreciative of the different businesses and operations that opened their doors to us." The OSU Agriculture Alumni Association, Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and various sponsors funded the tour. The Agriculture Alumni Association looks forward to future tours and invites current and future alumni to mark their calendars for the 2007 Access Tour in May. ~

For information on the 2007 Access Tour, as well as future tours, call the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at (405) 744-5395.


College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources • Oklahoma State University 136 Agricultural Hall• Stillwater, OK 74078 • (405) 744-5395 www.casnr.com • careerservices@casnr.com 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 v8n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 8, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2006 Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Cowboy Journal v8n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 8, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2006 Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

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