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Agricultural Sciences

Appearing Oct. 6 • Antlers Deer Festival Nov. 16 • Guthrie Centennial Activities

This special Oklahoma Centennial Presentation of the Express Clydesdales is a gift from American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company and Oklahoma Farmers Union to the people of Oklahoma during the state's centennial celebration. Throughout 2007, the Express Clydesdales will visit centennial celebrations across the state, providing an example of how Oklahoma Farmers Union and American Farmers & Ranchers have contributed to Oklahoma and its citizens during the past 102 years.

AFR Oklahoma Farmers Union

American Farmers &Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company

800 N. Harvey• Oklahoma City, OK 73102 800-324-7771

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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS ... As Oklahoma celebrates its Centennial, we dedicate chis issue of the Cowboy journal to those who have helped make chis state what it is today. We appreciate the efforts made to put Oklahoma at the forefront of agriculture. In regards to Volume 9 No. 2 of our magazine, we wo uld like to give special thanks to the fo llowing individuals: Dwayne Cartmell, Cindy Blackwell, Tanner Robertson, Traci N aile, Sheri Ishmael-Waldrop, Elizabeth Whitfield, Jeremiah Allen, Bonnie Milby, Carl Hamby, Gayle Hiner, Melissa Dunn, Todd Johnson and Clay Billman. Cowboy j ournal wo uld not be published without your support. To our managing editor, Shelly, your guidance allows students to succeed both in and out of the classroom. T he dedication you provide to not only our department but also this class further prepares us to enter the industry. To our staff, thank you for all the time yo u contributed to this issue. We enjoyed working with each and every one of you, and without you there would be no Cowboy journal. Kath ryn Bolay and Nikki Hupman

COWBOY JOURNAL STAFF Caleb Zook (back row left), Nikki Hupman, Jake Kilian, Holli Leggette, Larry Mattox, Kathryn Bolay and Jared Nutter. Molly Hamlin (front row), Tammy Williams, Rebecca Lasich, Wravenna Phipps, Chancey Redgate, Jackie Haines, Ashley Mason, Katlin Amaral, Erin Portman and Megan Lawrence. Editors Kathryn Bolay Nikki Hupman

Graphics/Web Ashley Mason Larry Mattox


Advertising Jake Kilian Erin Portman

Managing Editor Shelly Peper Sitton

Photography Molly Hamlin

Assistant Managing Editors Dwayne Cartmell Cindy Blackwell

Circulation Katlin Amaral

Cover Photo by Molly Hamlin

Our current sponsors, and also to founding sponsors Limousin World, Quebecor, and Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

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Oklahoma Stare Un iversiry, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Execurive O rder 11246 as amended, Title IX of rhe 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 isabi lity or status as a veteran in any of its politics,

practices or proced ures. This includes bu r is not limited to adm issions, employment, financial aid and educational services. This publicatio n is printed by QuebecorWorld-Midland and issued two times a year by agricultural commun ications seniors in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It has been prepared and distributed at no cost ro the taxpayers ofOk.Jahoma.

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

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A different kind of chair • 14 Donors provide support for the future of agriculture at OSU.


Big sister makes big impact • 34 Alumna becomes involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

A family legacy contin ues throughout a century • 40 Family of OSU alumni support OSU and Oklahoma agriculture.


Ag Alumni News • 48 Ag Alumni Association promotes upcoming events.

STUDENTS Bringing Cowboys to the country • 18 OSU works to solve the rural veterinarian shortage in Oklahoma.

CASNR sets the bar high • 31 Blake Bixler wins the CASNR outstanding senior award.

RESEARCH DASNR goes fishing• 29 DASNR researches blue catfish populations in Oklahoma.

Adding more value • 32 FAPC puts more money in Oklahoma watermelon producers' pockets.

FACULTY Gifts beyond measure • 8 Donald Wagner and Charles Taliaferro retire.

Far and away research • 24 Sabbaticals prove to be great investment for CASNR faculty.

iTeaching reaches CASNR • 46 Patricia Ayoubi brings new technology to her classrooms.

EXTENSION A healthy heartland primes Oklahoma for the future • 6 FAPC helps Gosney family market organic wheat.

AgrAbility assists ambitious agriculturalists • 11 State project helps farmers and ranchers back into agricultural production.

Oklahoma blooms • 16 OSU offers Oklahomans a unique learning opportunity in the garden.

Connecting cattlemen of excellence • 21 Oklahomans provides hands-on training to Mexican cattle ranchers.

Shooting through the ages • 26 Shooting sports enriches youth and adults across Oklahoma.

A new focus for dairy producers • 37 Oklahoma dairy producers gather to increase dairy efficiency.

The beginning of a dream • 44 Culturally diverse youth learn through hands-on agriculture. Cowboy Journal • 5

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A healthy heartland primes Oklahoma for the future By JAKE KILIAN, Medford, Okla.

When farmers look to find new ways to improve their land or crop productivity, most cry fertilizers, pesticides or mix their farming patterns from conventional tilling to no-till farming. For John and Kris Gosney of Fairview, Okla. , GO Organic would be the way of their future. "Starting our organic farming was never really planned," John said. "The idea just kind of evolved." For the Gosneys, organic farming started when they first purchased organic land from their neighbor, who was an organic farmer. Even though they were not interested in organic farming, they decided to give it a try. "Getting started was difficult," John said. "Kris and I had to read many books, do research and attend organic meetings to learn from ochers already in the business."

Although the land was already organic-certified by an out-of-state certifying agency, the Gosneys said they learned quickly records and data always had to be collected to make sure no contaminants appeared in the soil. Also, an agency inspector comes annually to run soil tests to make sure the land stays certified. "Since we were moscly wheat producers, we decided to stay with wheat and start planting and harvesting organic wheat," John said. Raising organic wheat means having more rules and regulations to follow. First, producers cannot use any pesticides or fertilizers to try to improve the yield of the wheat. Traditional farmers usually wane to know how organic farmers help increase the productivity of their wheat crop and keep off the insects. John said the key ingredient to a great wheat crop is good soil. "Having healthy organic soil plays a big part in having healthy wheat crops," John said. ''Also, you can add sugars, haul in soft rock phosphate from mines or even practice crop rotation to help keep a healthy organic soil." One main regulation organic farmers have to follow is a certain standard set by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, and each year the ODAFF has a certified annual review as well as detailed records on the land and wheat crop. When it was time for the Gosneys to harvest their organic wheat, they hauled wheat to mills on semi trucks or by train cars. After they realized the demand for organic wheat, they decided to cry marketing their wheat kernels and their wholewheat flour.

"We never thought the demand for organic wheat and wheat products would be so high," John said. "We feel fortunate to be chis far in the business with a product more and more people wane and desire." When the Gosneys started processing whole-wheat flo ur, they found it, too, had to be ODAFFcertified, which involved making changes in their operation. Before marketing, the Gosneys learned from the Northwest Technology Center about Oklahoma Scace University's Food and Agricultural Products Center. FAPC workshops help entrepreneurs gain knowledge on starting a small business. "We provide the basic training workshop the third Thursday in every month," said Chuck Willough by, FAPC marketing specialist. "Our main goals for our clients include educating them about the food industry, exposing challenges they might face and assisting them with their marketing strategy." Willoughby said the workshops provide entrepreneurs marketing development opportunities. "When we visited OSU's FAPC, they were able to help us design a label and give us ideas on how to package our produces," Kris said. The Gosneys now package and label their whole-wheat flour and wheat kernels in their licensed facilities and distribute chem through places such as the OSU-OKC Farmers Markee, Oklahoma Food Co-op and the Health Food Center located in Oklahoma City. They also ship products direccly to consumers. Because the demand for organic wheat kernels and whole-wheat flour is high, the Gosneys are discovering new ways co package products.

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"We work very hard in trying to keep up with the orders," Kris said. "We need to redesign our labeling system so we can be more efficient and ship our products faster." A different product has evolved from the Gosneys' GO Organic wheat products: Cattle Tracks Beef. This product involves buying cows, bringing them to the operation and feeding them organic feed. "We are feeding nothing but organic to our cattle to produce natural beef, which is free from vaccines and growth implants," John said. "The operation is difficult because we have to monitor and keep records of everything the cows eat." Just like the GO Organic program, the Gosneys take data every day to ensure the beef is organic-certified. A representative from ODAFF also tests their cattle to ensure the organic certification. "I have talked to farmers, ranchers and other consumers who call and wonder what exactly you can feed your cattle to make sure they stay or-

ganic," John said. "We feed organic hay, grass, oats and barley, and this year we bought some organic milo. We also like to mix probiotic, natural enzymes and bacteria with small amounts of grain to help with the cattle's digestive system." When the Gosneys were ready to process their cattle, they ran into problems. Organic beef has to be processed by a certified-organic processor. However, no certified beef processors operate in Oklahoma. "Lucky for us, we found a certified organic beef processor in Kiowa, Kan., which is only one mile across the state line," John said. "The great thing about it is the Kiowa beef processor was able to work with the ODAFF to certify our beef with the Oklahoma seal even though they were in Kansas." The Gosneys' organic beef can be found at the same locations as the GO Organic products. The Gosneys said GO Organic and Cattle Tracks Beef have been a great business for their family.

"We hope some day chat we might be able to open our operation to the public for people to come and see the difference of raising organic," Kris said.121

For more information about the Gosneys and their GO Organic products, please visit their Web site at http://www.johnsfarm.com. To learn more about FAPC, visit its Web site at http://www.Japc.biz.

John (right) and Kris Gosney market their GO Organic flour throughout Oklahoma. (Above photo by Jake Kilian; opposite page photo by Mandy Gross)

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Left: The new swine barn was dedicated in December 2004. Donald Wagner (right) and John Staude, assistant herd manager, inspect a two-week-old litter in the farrowing house. (Photo by Erin Portman) Right: Charles Taliaferro is known for his research in bermudagrass. (Photo by Todd Johnson)

Gifts beyond measure By ERIN PORTMAN, Calera, Okla. With a combined 80 years of working for Oklahoma State Universiry and more than 460 journal articles, books and publications between them, two distinguished members of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources faculry are saying goodbye to OSU. Donald Wagner, department head of animal science, and Charles Taliaferro, regents professor emeritus in plant and soil sciences, have retired from OSU. Both men held similar rypes of positions in CASNR. Taliaferro worked in research with graduate students; Wagner worked with undergraduate and graduate students. Both left distinguishing marks on the universiry and the college.

Donald Wagner Wagner started with OSU in 1965 as part of the Point IV Program 8 • Cowboy Journal

in Ethiopia after graduating with his doctoral degree from Cornell Universiry in Ithaca, N.Y. Point IV was a government program implemented by the United States in cooperation with universities to establish land-grant-rype universities in other parts of the world, Wagner said. The program needed someone who was well-grounded in animal science and knew about more than one species of livestock. "They needed someone who knew quite a bit about a lot of different things in the livestock industry," Wagner said. "Fortunately, I had what they were looking for." Point IV lasted for 15 years. Wagner was in Ethiopia for the final three years of the program. "By that time the program was transitioned because students who had gone through the program and

received their advanced training in the U.S. or Europe were taking the program over," Wagner said. Wagner's time in Ethiopia was similar to his teachings at OSU. "For m any years, I have taught a variery of nutrition courses in the livestock area," Wagner said. "I taught applied nutrition and advanced beef courses off campus in many locations." While an employee of OSU, Wagner traveled to more than 30 countries, including Morocco and the Middle East. "You really come back with a different perspective in many respects," Wagner said. "One thing you appreciate is this country and the many wonderful benefits we have, and you realize the rest of the world may not have been blessed like we are." While growing up in western Ohio, Wagner and his family were

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involved in raising beef and dairy cattle, sheep and two breeds of purebred swine. With his background, animal science was a natural fit. "I truly love livestock and always have," Wagner said. "It's not just cattle or pigs or sheep. I like all kinds. I never truly thought about other areas." Even though he never thought about other areas for a profession, Wagner has interests in diverse areas. "I took courses in economics, horticulture, literature and language," Wagner said. "I was never interested in doing just the minimum and graduated with more hours than needed for a bachelor's degree because I like school." The animal science department went through many changes in research, teaching and extension while Wagner was there. "Sophistication of research has become more extensive, and the importance of research has increased," Wagner said. "There is a lot more research support from grant sources than in the past." The department also has seen demographics change in the gender and background of students. In the 1980s, only 5 percent of animal science students were female. The percentage of female students in the 1990s jumped to 30 percent, and today, 60 percent of all animal science students are female. The current freshman class is 70 percent female. "When I started in this department, female students were a rarity and urban students were almost nonexistent," Wagner said. "Now, more than half of the students have no farm or ranch background." The number of students from other states also has increased. "Last decade we had an average of 35 to 37 states represented," Wagner said. "Currently, one-third of our undergraduates are out-of-state students. This is a little more than three times the university average." Out-of-state students come to the animal science department because of the OSU livestock program's reputation, the livestock resource base and the department's reputation

for teaching, advising and believing in students, Wagner said. In extension, the way the department conducts programs and approaches the needs of agriculturists has changed. "Extension has always been customer service-oriented," he said. "Today's focus is more specialized." Today, few mid-size farms exist; therefore, extension offers programs to meet the needs of both large and small farms, Wagner said. "The environment has changed," Wagner said, "and the extension program meets that." Edwin Miller, associate dean for academic programs in CASNR, was a fellow department head with Wagner. Miller was in forestry while Wagner was in animal science. "Dr. Wagner was good at his job because he was a good manager, continued to have a positive attitude, was a good leader and was a good philosopher," Miller said. "He understood the importance of this department in teaching, research and extension to people in the state. The next animal science department head needs to address all three aspects, also." Wagner was always quick to give credit to his colleagues, as well. "As faculty, I do not fully believe we ever really accomplish anything by ourselves," Wagner said. "But if we are fortunate enough to work in the right place and be surrounded by the right people, it is amazing to see what good things can happen."

Charles Taliaferro Taliaferro transferred to OSU after obtaining an associate's degree from Murray State College in Tishomingo, Okla. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in agronomy with a field crop option, Taliaferro went to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, to continue his studies. He obtained his Master of Science in agronomy in 1965 and his Doctor of Philosophy in plant breeding and genetics in 1966. While completing his doctoral degree, Taliaferro worked in Tifton, Ga., for the Agricultural Research Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In August 1968, Taliaferro accepted a position with OSU in the plant and soil sciences division. "The position was attractive, and it was exactly the kind of position I felt I wanted," Taliaferro said. "It was a position where I could do research with species in which I held an interest and also interact with graduate students. These species were perennial grasses and primarily bermudagrass, which was what I was working with in Georgia." Taliaferro became interested in the agronomy field while working on the family farm. "I developed an interest in crops, and plants in general, while in high school as a participant in FFA and associated farming activities," Taliaferro said. "Also, agronomy instructor John Ringwald at Murray State

The Willard Sparks Beef Research Center is one of the premier research centers in the nation. Graduate student Ben Holland (left), Donald Wagner and associate professor Clint Krehbiel work there along with dozens of undergraduate students. (Photo by Erin Portman) Cowboy Journal • 9

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Charles Taliaferro works with bermudagrass in the greenhouses on OSU's campus. (Photo by Erin Portman)

College stre~gchened my interest in che discipline, and I felt the discipline offered good career opportunities and an opportuniry co contribute co che well-being of sociery." Throughout his 37 years at OSU, Taliaferro advised 14 master's students and 15 doctoral students. "One of the highlights of my career was che many graduate students . I advised," Taliaferro said. "Ir is pleasing co me co see success in their lives and see che contributions they have made and are making in che field." These students are working in che United States, Saudi Arabia, Columbia and Thailand in leadership positions with universities and private organizations. A former student, Yanqi Wu, rook Taliaferro's position when he left the universiry. Wu finished his doctoral degree in 2004 while working with molecular, cyrogenecic and morphological characterization of Cynodon germplasm accessions under Taliaferro. 10 • Cowboy Journal

"Dr. Wu is well-trained," said Robert Westerman, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources assistant vice president for program support. "We look forward co seeing his program grow and maintain the same level of qualiry as Dr. Taliaferro's program." Taliaferro worked mainly with bermudagrass while at OSU. He contributed many hours co research co better explain the biological bases ofbermudagrass in terms of breeding and generic control of traits. "In addition co basic research over the years, we have attempted co improve varieties through breeding," Taliaferro said. "The breeding was directed at developing better varieties for both pasture and turf use." Taliaferro is responsible for developing Riviera Bermudagrass, a cold-hardy turf grass established by seeding. Riviera is used domestically throughout ocher parts of the world where bermudagrass has been adopted. Riviera also is used in Scillwacer,

Okla., at The Links apartment complex on che golf course fairways. Patriot, another turf bermudagrass developed by Taliaferro, is used throughout the United States, particularly in the upper south because of its cold hardiness and high turf qualiry. Ir is used on the OSU practice football field and baseball infield. Super Bowl XLI winners, che Indianapolis Colts, also use Patriot on their practice field. "Dr. Taliaferro is the premier plane breeder in turf and forage grasses in the world," Westerman said. "He has a long history of producing varieties that are superior co ocher varieties in the marketplace." Taliaferro saw significant changes within the plant and soil sciences department during his 37 years. "Teaching, research an d extension programs in the department have changed as mandated by the rapid expansion of new knowledge, changing dynamics of agriculture, environmental concerns and globalization," Taliaferro said. "The revolution in molecular biology directly impacts agronomy, particularly with respect co the development and use of new plane varieties." Similar to animal science, the plane and soil science department saw demographic changes. "The number of female and minoriry students in agronomy has increased, and an increasing number of agronomy majors come from urban backgrounds," Taliaferro said. Taliaferro's most memorable experiences with OSU were his interactions with graduate students and faculry with whom he worked. ''Any accomplishment I have made over the 37 years I was active has co be partially attributed to the support from administration, fellow faculry and graduate students," Taliaferro said. "Virtually all my work involved faculry colleagues and graduate students, and there was a great deal of multidisciplinary effort." With alumni working in Wagner's and Taliaferro's respective fields, their legacies will live on in the agricultural world although OSU has wished them "happy retirement!" ~


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(Photo by Sarah

AgrAbility assists ambitious agriculturalists


By LARRY MATTOX, Drumright, Okla. A smile adorned the face of everyone in the shop, but no smile matched that of the farmer who sat in the driver's seat. With two thumbs up, Donald Jantz greeted those who had gathered. His greeting was received by a cheering crowd and a thumbs up from another happy man, Hubert Von Holten. Jantz, a farmer from Grady County, will now be able to get into his tractor more easily with the help of a lift provided by Von Holten and a program called AgrAbility. The program serves individuals who would like to maintain a lifestyle working in agriculture after an accident. "It helps individuals who have a handicap that prevents them from doing their job," said Raymond Huhnke, Oklahoma AgrAbility Proj-

ect director. "AgrAbility gives them some insight as to what they can change on their farm to make their job easier and safer. "Oklahoma State University's tie to AgrAbility is very direct," Huhnke said. "The funds are available through the United States Department of Agriculture. Those funds come through the extension arm of the university." Huhnke said the university's role is to act as the educational arm of the program. "We educate the agricultural community about the ability AgrAbility has in assisting farmers and ranchers as well as communicating what other agencies can provide in terms of services and advice," Huhnke said. Oklahoma AgrAbility is a joint project of the Oklahoma Coopera-

rive Extension Service, the Center for Outreach Programs at Langston University and the Oklahoma Assisrive Technology Foundation. District 41 State Representative and AgrAbility client John Enns said he would like to see the AgrAbility Project grow. "I would like to see more funding for AgrAbility," Enns said. "I had an accident on April 21, 2004. It was a heavy equipment rollover, and I was in the hospital for two months. I got in touch with vocational rehab who got me in touch with AgrAbility. I found that it was a very professional organization." Enns introduced legislation that, if passed, could impact greatly the future of AgrAbility. "The bill basically creates a state AgrAbility program," Enns said. Cowboy Journal • 11

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"Right now, we are not appropriating any money with it. But in the future, as funds become available then maybe we can pitch some in. We are hoping to establish a state match of the federal program." When he is not in the office, Enns spends much of his time at his farm southwest of Enid. "We farmed a little over 1,000 acres of wheat, alfalfa, milo and pasture land for cattle," Enns said. "Some of it was rented land. After my accident, we let one of my friends farm some of it, so now I am down to farming 320 acres. I hope to bring that up eventually. "AgrAbility came out and helped me problem solve," Enns said. "They came out and assessed the situation, initially, and saw what kind of injury I had, and suggested equipment that I needed. Then they got me in couch with the people who could provide me with that. "This is one of the most professional institutions that I have ever worked with," Enns said. "With an established state AgrAbility pro-

Donald Jantz of Chickasha will be able to get into his tractor a little easier with the help of his new tractor lift, made possible by the Oklahoma AgrAbility Project. (Photo by Larry Mattox) 12 • Cowboy Journal

gram, and I would hope an increase in funding, maybe we could double the efforts. We already have federal funding; now we could possibly get state funding and help so many more get back into agriculture." According to AgrAbility, approximately 17,000 Oklahomans working in agriculture experience injuries that limit their ability to perform essential farm tasks. The program helps people in all sectors of agriculture and can provide adaptations for nearly any disability. 'Tm just glad that I will get to keep farming with this equipment, and I am able to give it another try," Jantz said. "If it wasn't for this equipment or other outside help, then I would have had to quit farming. I just couldn't do it." Jantz has paralysis of the lower limbs, a condition that developed when he was a yo ung child. He said he has been confined to a wheelchair for about three years. With the help of AgrAbility, Jantz will be able to continue working the land his dad once farmed.

"I started farming with my dad when I was about 14 years old," Jantz said. "When he passed away, I took over the farm. "We raise about 140 acres of wheat and 90 acres of alfalfa for hay," Jantz said. "The rest is pasture for cattle." Jantz said the farm has been in the family for more than 80 years. "Farming is something I grew up doing," Jantz said. "I like co get out there and see things grow. Of course, it's got a lot of back sets, too, like the rain coming when your hay is cut. Those are things that just go along with it. But I wouldn't want to do anything else. I don't think I could go and sit in an office all day. I just don't think I could handle it." Jantz learned about the services AgrAbility offers from the staff at his local tractor dealership. "I went to the implement dealer and cold him that I needed a way to get in my tractor," Jantz said. "He got on the Internet and then someone from AgrAbility called me. Then Carla Wilhite, the occupational therapist for AgrAbility, came out and interviewed me, and that is how it started. They made recommendations on what kind of equipment I needed and turned the case over to vocational rehab." After the AgrAbility occupational therapist meets with the clients and assesses their needs, manufacturers like Von Holten are contracted to build the equipment. Von Holten's company, Life Essentials, has been involved in many AgrAbility projects across the nation, but Von Holten's company designs more than just tractor lifts. "We build products that give people the ability to work," he said. AgrAbility is unique in its approach to rehabilitation services. "We don't just try to place our clients in any job," said Traci Naile, Oklahoma AgrAbility coordinator. "We try to make it easier for them to get back to doing their own job in agriculture."~

For more information about AgrAbility, visit http://agrability.okstate.edu or call 405-744-2398.

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A different kind of chair By MOLLY HAMLIN, Collinsville, Okla. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in animal science in 1964 from Oklahoma State University and then with a Master of Science in the same field in 1969. Education has been a large part of his life, and he is giving back to the school that gave him so much. His name is Dennis White, and he and his wife, Marta, are ensuring the Department of Animal Science will continue to be successful.

Dennis, a native of Ninnekah, Okla., met Marta, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia who gained political asylum in the United States in 1969, while working in the same building at Elanco research headquarters in Greenfield, Ind. "I would have liked to work in Oklahoma, but I enjoyed Indiana, and it was a great company ... there wasn't a company in Oklahoma like that," Dennis said. Dennis worked for Elanco, which is the animal health division of Eli Lilly, while Marta was a senior librarian for the company. Prior to working for Eli Lilly, Marta worked as a chemist developing lipstick for Elizabeth Arden. She joined Eli Lilly when the firm acquired Elizabeth Arden in 1971. They moved to Ninnekah, Okla., in 1999, and have been ranching there ever since. They are involved in activities such as the Sirloin Club and the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encoun-

(Photo by Molly Hamlin) 14 • Cowboy Journal

ter. Marta also serves as a docent at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City; Dennis serves as a nonresident fellow for the Noble Foundation. In 2004, Dennis and Marta decided to create an endowment at his alma mater and the school she has adopted. They chose to strengthen the animal science department because of their belief in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. For donors like the Whites, the decision to endow a chair rather than set up a scholarship fund was obvious. While working on his doctorate at Texas A&M, Dennis was involved in research and saw the influence professors have. This experience coupled with matched funds from the state, allowing the money to go further, made the decision easier, Dennis said. Their decision to endow a chair, though, was not contingent on matched funds. ''A really good professor influences lots of students; a scholarship only goes to a few," Dennis said. The Dennis and Marta White Endowed Chair in Animal Science, which is dedicated to improving stocker nutrition and health, is waiting for state matching funds. For now, the animal science department has not seen direct benefits of the endowment. Marta, however, pointed out the indirect benefit of generating interest in endowments: The Dr. Robert "Bob" Totusek Endowed Chair in Animal Science. Dennis was involved with the Totusek Endowed Chair, serving as chairman of the fundraising committee. He was elected chairman by his fellow committee members at the first meeting. He attributes this to the available time he had as well as his confidence in asking for money for this cause.

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Dennis and Marta White, pictured at their Ninnekah, Okla., ranch are supporters of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. (Photo courtesy of the OSU Foundation) Acquiring funds for the Totusek endowment took about a year and came from nearly 400 individuals and industry partners - the largest number of contributors for a single endowed chair. Dennis was not only able to help recognize the impact of his former adviser but also to ensure Totusek's legacy would live on in the animal science department. "Endowments fund research, recruit professors, provide funding for conferences or allow for graduate assistants," said Becky Endicott, director of marketing and communications at the OSU Foundation. Donors who would like to endow a faculty position have two options: a faculty chair or a professorship. A chair is a larger gift established with a minimum $1 million, while the minimum for a professorship is $5 00,000 . Both forms of an endowment qualify for matching funds from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. According to the OSU Foundation, these matching funds provide faculty with greater research capabilities. Chairs and professorships can be named after the donor, like the Whites, or after a memorable educa-

tor, like the Totusek chair. Endowed faculty positions guarantee OSU's continued academic strength and excellence because only investment earnings are spent. "The endowed faculty positions increase the prestige of a college," Endicott said. CASNR currently has 24 endowed positions, ranking second at OSU behind the Spears School of Business. Endowed positions attract reputable faculty to the college, Endicott said. The faculty members who hold chairs and professorships are considered experts in their fields and are highly regarded in the academic world, according to the OSU Foundation. Endowed positions not only establish excellence at OSU, but also they increase the status of the faculty member in that position. These professors increase the university's ability to attract and retain outstanding educators. The Whites see the impact great educators have on students, and they would like to see students give back when they have the opportunity. "When you are able, give back to the school," Dennis said.

Dennis has given back with more than money to OSU; he currently serves on the board of governors for the OSU Foundation. He has served four years with the Animal Science Alumni Association, including one year as president. For the past four years, he has been found lecturing once a semester in Gerald Horn's stocker and feedlot management class. With their volunteering spirit, the Whites have some advice for students and young alumni. "Don't be afraid to leave Oklahoma and experience other states or even international assignments," Marta said. "Take risks," Dennis chimed in. They have both taken risks: Marta when she left Czechoslovakia all those years ago and Dennis when he left the comfort of rural Oklahoma. Now, their endowment will touch the lives of countless students who will do the same. ~

For more information on how your financial contributions can benefit the College ofAgricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, caLL Francie Tolle at 405744-7964 or visit http://OSUgi,ving.com.

Cowboy Journal • 15


By KATHRYN BOLAY, Perry, Okla.

Education is the root to developing a blossoming and fruitful skill set. The development of such knowledge in the area of horticulture and landscape activities is a main focus of the Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum system.

Budding knowledge Signed into law in 1991, the statewide arboretum system makes Oklahoma one of two states to have such a program. This organization, coordinated by the Oklahoma State Univeristy Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, links gardens, arboreta, parks and zoos across Oklahoma. "The Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum system started from the standpoint of recognizing a need and lo9king at an opportunity," said Dale Maronek, horticulture and landscape architecture department head and director of the OBGA. The horticulture and landscape architecture department presented the concept of a statewide system to several state legislators. "We were successful in getting legislation passed to create the statewide botanical garden system," Maronek said. "The legislation also designated the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources as being the leader in the sy~tem area." The OBGA conducts research and communicates results through workshops, short courses and TV programs. Oklahomans of all ages can enjoy educational display gardens and conservation areas. The OSU Botanical Garden serves as the headquarters and is located on 100 acres in Stillwater, Okla. "As we looked at all the different things we do, we thought developing our botanical garden here at Oklahoma State and then using our ex-

tension programming efforts would allow us to help other gardens get started," Maronek said. The OBGA system consists of 18 affiliate gardens located throughout the state. OSU helps these gardens become established, or if they are already established, they are assisted in creating more community development, Maronek said. "The system is a value-added project," Maronek said. "Through research and extension, we disseminate information to affiliate gardens. With these gardens situated across the state, we can distribute plants and have the gardens help evaluate the performance."

Gardens bloom The OBGA system houses a variety of affiliate gardens, from zoos to arboretums and botanical gardens to wildlife preserves. These gardens serve as a museum of collected living

plants. The living plants are grown for exhibition and scientific study in a botanical garden or as a collection of trees and shrubs in an arboretum. "The common glue for these gardens is plants and education," Maronek said. "Regardless of if it's a zoo or a public park area needing to be developed, the common tie is plants and the willingness to display and share information about them." This variety of opportunities allows Oklahomans to learn about horticulture and landscape activities within the state. The headquarter garden not only houses a botanical garden bur also is home to other educational opportunities. These include the award-winning television show "Oklahoma Gardening" and a research center for turf, greenhouse and nursery industries. "Because of the OBGA arrangement, we can go to these botanical gardens and promote them and their

The Myriad Botanical Gardens, located in Oklahoma City, is an affiliate member of the OBGA system. (Above photo courtesy of Myriad Botanical Gardens; left photo by Kathryn Bolay)

FALL 2007

different events on our television show," Maronek said. "We can help with marketing, science, programs, education and information transfer." While the OSU Botanical Garden serves as an outdoor classroom for members of the community and state, it also serves as a resource for faculty members within the OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Students use the facilities to gain experience by planting, maintaining and designing areas within the gardens. Michael Holmes, assistant professor of landscape architecture, uses the gardens for the capstone course he teaches. This course develops students' design techniques, computer skills, construction methods and applications for the landscape industry. "For two weeks out of the semester, we are working at the OSU gardens," Holmes said. "Each semester, the class develops a wooden structure project and a hard-scape surface." In the fall 2006 semester, the students took their lessons outside to create a physical outdoor classroom for the OSU Botanical Gardens. "The class created a 500-squarefoot concrete-paver walkway and a series of wooden benches chat now make up an outdoor classroom accommodating up to 40 students," Holmes said. For students within the construction class, the opportunity for real-world experience is invaluable. "I can say I've had some experience," said Jessica Waugh, landscape architecture senior. "It's helpful and beneficial because employers find it positive that you've had hands-on experience even though you haven't had a job yet."

Jessica Waugh (left), landscape architecture senior, and an industry professional, install brick pavers at the OSU Botanical Gardens as part of the Construction Ill class. (Photo courtesy of Michael Holmes)

Membership grows As the OSU Botanical Gardens continue to grow and develop, the OBGA system as a whole continues to grow. As more gardens are developed, opportunities for Oklahomans to learn about the many industries involved in horticulture and landscape architecture are on the rise. The OBGA also has a membership organization for people committed to conserving Oklahoma's natural resources, supporting educational programs, and preserving the land's horticultural and landscape heritage. ''As an individual member of OBGA, people can participate in our workshops and programs as well as get information about different events at our affiliate gardens across the state," Maronek said. Whether being an individual member of OBGA or working with an affiliate garden, Oklahomans cak-

ing advantage of chis rare opportunity within the state are developing their knowledge and making their gardens grow.

Centennial celebrations As Oklahoma celebrates its centennial, the centennial committee has developed a chance for communities across the state to create a living tribute to the community and the state with a Centennial Grove. These commemorative groves will serve as permanent monuments by planting 100 trees in any community, enhancing its geographical features. This project is a program of The Tree Bank Foundation. If you are interested in establishing a Centennial Grove in your community, call The Greater Oklahoma City Tree Bank Foundation at 405-330-4701 or visit http://www. chetreebank.org. ~

Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum Affiliates • Cann Memorial Gardens (Ponca City) • Honor Heights Park (Tulsa) • Joe Allyn Lowe Park (Bartlesville) • Lendonwood Gardens (Grand Lake) • McAlester Arboretum • Morrison Arboretum • Myriad Botanical Gardens (Oklahoma City) • Northern Oklahoma College (Tonkawa) • Oklahoma City Zoological Park & Botanical Garden • OSU Botanical Garden (Stillwater)

• Omniplex Gardens & Greenhouse (Oklahoma City) • OSU-Oklahoma City • University ofTulsa • Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum • Washington Irving Memorial Park & Arboretum (Tulsa) • Will Rogers Park & Arboretum (Oklahoma City) • Woodward Park & Arboretum (Tulsa) • Woolaroc Museum, Wildlife Preserve & Gardens (Bartlesville)

Cow boy Journal • 17

FALL 2007


OSU preveterinarian student Matt Bauer, Sallisaw, Okla., looks to his future in veterinary medicine with excitement as he plans to practice in rural Oklahoma. (Photo by Wravenna Phipps) In recent years, more and more veterinarians are choosing to practice near large communities. Consequently, rural communities face a dilemma: a shortage of rural and food animal veterinarians. Oklahoma State University's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences has implemented the Veterinarians for Rural Oklahoma Initiative to deal with this issue. The goal for this program is to bring Cowboy veterinarians back to the country. "This program is designed to increase graduates in rural communities, specifically in food animal positions," said Michael Lorenz, OSU CVHS dean.

Why Cowboy veterinarians are leaving rural areas Lorenz said money is the primary reason for the deficit of largeanimal veterinarians. With the inflated cost of veterinary school, most graduates choose to locate in or near metropolitan cities because of the increase in dientele and additional opportunities for specialized practice. This has led to the increase of small-animal veterinarians, he said. "Most vets graduate with debt ranging from $60,000 to $80,000," Lorenz said. "With this kind of fi18 • Cowboy Journal

nancial situation, most students are looking for the best paying opportunities when they graduate, and these tend to be in larger communities." Along with this, most veterinarians are double-income families, Lorenz said. "To make ends meet, most vets have a spouse or significant other who brings in a second income," Lorenz said. "However, there are limited job opportunities in rural communities, which adds to the decision of practicing in more populated areas." Most students attending veterinary school are from urban areas, which also contributes to the shortage of rural veterinarians. Consequently, practicing in a rural location does not fit their background or interest, Lorenz said. "Only 3 percent of high school students are from rural backgrounds," Lorenz said. "Most vet students are three to four generations removed from actual experiences with large animals and a rural lifestyle." Furthermore, the dedication and hours of being a large-animal veterinarian in a rural community is not always appealing, Lorenz said. "It is not your typical 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job," Lorenz said. "You never know when you might have an emer-

gency or have to drive a long way because you are the only vet around." However, there is a positive. Veterinarians such as Alvin Baumwart, rural veterinarian of Arapaho, Okla., finds the rural communities perfect for animal care. "There is no more fulfilling profession than being a large-animal vet," Baumwart said. "God made the veterinary profession special. We have to use knowledge, senses and talents to do our job right."

Benefits to rural veterinarians Baum wart and his three children graduated from the OSU veterinary college. His daughter, Angie DuBois, graduated in 1999, son Ryan in 2002 and son Chad in 2004. He said he initially encouraged his children to pursue other careers. However, he said they could see how he enjoyed his job and wanted the same thing. This, coupled with their experience growing up involved in his veterinary practice, helped chem develop a passion for chis career at a young age, he said. "Ic was a decision they made for themselves," Baumwart said. Baumwart said he chose to be a vet because he wanted variety and a working environment chat was ever-

FALL 2007 changing. He said this would also provide him with something new to learn every day. 'The greatest advantage to being a vet in rural Oklahoma is every day you get to go out and accomplish something significant," Baumwart said. "Working outdoors with farmers, ranchers and country people makes this job enjoyable." Although Baumwart said he would absolutely do it all again, his life is not all fun and relaxation. "It's hard," Baumwart said. "With this profession, we are the lowest paid, we work harder and think more, and there are no tips." Baumwart said having a supportive wife who knows and understands livestock is a must for a rural practitioner. His wife, Donna, plays this role for him and his practice. Baumwart said he would compare the decision of becoming a veterinarian to that of choosing who you would marry. "You must know a lot about it before deciding on veterinary medicine as your career," Baumwart said. "Ask questions, conduct research, do internships and put yourself in a position to learn from a professional. Then decide if this is right for you." According to the OSU CVHS, many rural veterinarians like Baumwart are willing to work with young people to increase the number of rural Oklahoma veterinarians.

OSU's initiative Katrina Meinkoth, manager of veterinary medicine recruitment for OSU, said the OSU CVHS has developed the Veterinarians for Rural Oklahoma Initiative to deal with the shortage of rural veterinarians . "We started a camp last summer targeting high school students," Meinkoth said. "The experiences gained and time spent at OSU will work as a recruiting tool for the college and show advantages of being a veterinarian in rural Oklahoma." OSU is planning to make this camp an annual event. Campers experience a broad range of veterinary practices with a variety of species. "Students were enthusiastic and loved the experience," Meinkoth said. "It opened their eyes of what practice in rural America would be like. That is the goal: to educate students and promote this occupation." Lorenz said the camp is funded by the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and is designed for rural kids to be part of a bigger picture of the Veterinarians for Rural Oklahoma Initiative. In addition to the camp, OSU is working with the Oklahoma legislature and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to provide monetary incentives for practitioners in rural locations. "The plan is vets who have 10 years or less experience in rural communities and spend 50 percent of

their time with food animals would receive additional financial support," Lorenz said. Lorenz said $15,000 tax free would be paid every year for five years for a person practicing in rural communities of Oklahoma. A stipulation with this support, Lorenz said, is recipients must practice there for five to eight years. If they choose to leave, there is a payback clause. How long they stay determines how much they may have to pay back. If the recipients stay eight years, they pay nothing back. "We hope to give 10 of these allotments away," Lorenz said. This totals $150,000 in one year and $750,000 for every five years. Another idea is to provide incentives for veterinarians to "reinvent themselves," Lorenz said. Group practices he! p young veterinarians as they are mentored during their first few years of practice. "Young people come out and want to be mentored - this would do that," Lorenz said. The mindset is established veterinarians provide a position and mentor a recent graduate. Consequently, the graduate would most likely want to stay in the same environment, Lorenz said. An additional aspect of the initiative is community support. "In some cases, rural communities have offered students the opportunity to receive financial support

OSU Statistics

• 132 Oklahoma residents apply to the OSU veterinary college (56 openings available) • 268 non-residents apply (24 openings available) • 73.75% of OSU veterinary students are female

• Average GPA is 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

Students attending the OSU CVHScamp gain hands-on experience and education to pursue veterinary medicine as a career. (Photo courtesy of OSU CVHS) Cowboy Journal • 19

FALL 2007

during school, if they return to that community to provide animal care for a certain amount of time," Lorenz said. "We would like to see this happen in more areas."

OSU veterinary students receive hands-on training during their education. (Photo courtesy of OSU CVHS)

you are doing your undergraduate work," Meinkoth said. "Keep your grades up and know how the business world works." OSU does not want students from just one demographic, Lorenz The Cowboy way said. At the same time, they are not Through this initiative, OSU is interested in educating only those pursuing careers in rural areas. dealing with the declining number of veterinarians in rural Oklahoma an d "Our vets are leaders wherever also "starting young" with program they land," Lorenz said. "However, recruitment, Meinkoth said. we are working hard to provide more "If you are interested in becomveterinarians to rural areas as we see a ing a veterinarian, stay focused while need for care there, specifically with _ _ _.,...,..._,.,,.., food animals." OSU CVHS is committed to its mission: to educate the

world's best practitioners. Through this m1t1at1ve, OSU plans to increase the number of these practitioners in rural communities. So where are all the veterinarians going? Some would say the city. But through OSU's Veterinarians for Rural Oklahoma Initiative, more Cowboys will go to the country. ~

20 • Cowboy Journal

1. Acquire experience working with a veterinarian. 2. Complete 64 hours of preveterinary college courses specified by OSU CVHS and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8. 3. Complete the Graduate Record Exam and its Biology subject Test 4. Complete the electronic application to the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. 5. Provide official college transcripts and three letters of recommendation (at least one must be from a veterinarian) with the application. For more information, call CVHS at 405-744-6596.


FALL 2007

Connecting cattlemen of excellence By CHANCEY REDGATE, Waynoka, Okla.

Finding friends in Oklahoma was no challenge for 10 Mexican cattle ranchers. These cattlemen found more than just friends; they discovered fellow ranchers with the same passion to produce high-quality beef. In addition to a shared passion for beef production, the states of Chihuahua and Oklahoma have distinct commonalities: diverse geography, genuine hospitality, rich agricultural heritage and economic dependence on the beef industry. Understanding the significance of the beef industry on both sides of the border, Enrique Sanchez, Oklahoma State University alumnus, serves as the director of the Chihuahua Cattlemen's Association. Gerald Horn, OSU animal science professor, said Sanchez completed his doctorate at OSU and is familiar with the beef cattle industry in Oklahoma. Chihuahua is the largest cattle producing state in Mexico; however, the number of young people returning to farming and ranching operations is declining. "We were looking for a prestigious institution of higher education that could match and complement our dominant beef cattle production systems," Sanchez said. With a passion to keep young Chihuahuan cattlemen on the ranch

in Mexico, Sanchez used his contacts at OSU to expose Mexican ranchers to Oklahoma agriculture, said David Henneberry, OSU director of international agricultural programs. Sanchez, the Secretariat for Rural Development, the Chihuahuan Producers Foundation and the University of Chihauhua conceived a program to reverse the trend of rural youth leaving the state for work.

The relationship between the two universities started four years ago with the cooperative animal science doctoral program. Horn taught classes in Chihuahua during the summer of 2005. After returning to Stillwater, Horn

Top: Cow-calf herd at the Charles Nichols Ranch, Arnett, Okla. (Photo by Gerald Horn; artwork by Chancey Redgate) Middle: Mexican cattlemen Daniel Martinez (left), Oscar Rodriquez and Ramon Garcia meet with Ver/ Brorsen of Brorsen 8/uestems, Inc., Perry, Okla. (Photo by Gerald Horn) Bottom: State Rep. Don Arms (left); Kelsey Walters, agricultural economics senior; the group of Mexican cattlemen; Rep. Ryan McMullen; Rep. Wade Rousse/at; and Scott Dewald, executive director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, visited the Oklahoma Capitol. (Photo by Chancey Redgate) Cowboy Journal • 21

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t e Chihuahua Secretary of Rural Developm ent and the University of Chih uahua asking OSU to develop an internship program to expose Mexican cattlemen to the Oklahoma beef industry and to offer hands-on training for them. "It wo uld take an additional faculty member to grant the magnitude of their request; however, we wanted

to do something," Horn said. "In place of the request, the Chihuahua Cattlemen of Excellence program was born." Horn is one of33 OSU CASNR faculty members who represented OSU by teaching classes, presenting seminars or attending conferences in Chihuahua within the past three years. With a healthy relationship and history of collaboration, the University of Chihuahua and OSU developed the Chihuahuan Cattlemen of Excellence Program to provide training and inspiration to young Chihuahuan cattlemen. "This program goes way beyond OSU and the University of Chihuahua," said Terry Bidwell, OSU natural resource ecology and management professor and extension specialist. "It is a program that fosters good relationships berween rwo countries." Funded entirely by Chihuahua, the Cattlemen of Excellence program is meant to encourage young ranchers and create new jobs through rural

Top: Mexican cattlemen and Rod Schemm, manager of Henry C. Hitch Feedyard, Guymon, Okla., view a pit of high-moisture, ground-insiled corn. (Photo by Gerald Horn) Bottom: Mexican cattleman Adalberto Vazquez Herrera (left) obtains an ultra-sound of a steer's ribeye with guidance from ultrasounding technician Don Vick of Reproduction Enterprises Inc., Stillwater, Okla. (Photo by Chancey Redgate) 22 • Cowboy Journal

economic development stimulated by operation expansion, Horn said. The program goal is to improve their operations to the extent they can stay on their ranches and prosper in Mexico, Henneberry said. "We showed them some of the best Oklahoma cattle operations with the hope that some of the underlying philosophies and production practices would be useful to them back home," Horn said. The program consisted of four separate training segments in Oklahoma; however, these training segments were not classroom lectures but hands-on, guided experiences. OSU faculty members representing animal science, agricultural economics, and natural resource ecology and management departments joined forces to create hands-on curriculum for the Mexican cattlemen. The 10 Chihuahuan cattlemen ranging from ages 17 to 45 were selected by the Chihuahua Cattlemen's Association through an application process. The ranchers were selected based on operation goals, willingness to learn and amount of passion shown toward the beef industry. "The program has given these cattlemen opportunities to not only hear abour ranch management and technology advances but also it offers hands-on experiences," said Lorenzo Duran, agricultural lecturer at the University of Chihuahua. Each training segment was 10 days in length. According to the Chihuahua young cattlemen, every day of each visit was busy and full of exciting, educational experiences. The first segment was in September 2006, and the last of four segments took place in April 2007. "We wanted the Mexicans to experience all aspects of the beef industry, starting with production and conservation practices to public policy and decision making," said Michael Dicks, OSU agricultural economics professor. The emphasis areas of the visits included production, management and financing for cattle operations; conservation and use of natural resources in the cattle industry; organi-

FALL 2007

zational infrastructure for cattle producers; and value-added businesses and market development within the beef industry. Focusing on application rather than theory, OSU faculty exposed the cattlemen to ranches, stocker operations, feed yards and packing plants. To emphasize the importance of long-term research, the ranchers visited the USDA Agriculture Research Service research stations and Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Stations. The group's tours included Reproduction Enterprises Inc.; the Oklahoma Capitol; Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; Oklahoma Farmer's Union; Oklahoma Farm Bureau; and the Kansas City Board ofTrade. "Oklahomans have been so warm and receptive," Duran said. "Our group is eager to learn, and Oklahoma State and Oklahomans are eager to share ideas." Henneberry said everything is done by translation. A competent translator from the University of Chihuahua, knowledgable in agri-

culture, accompanied the cattlemen on each Oklahoma visit. Translation was a small challenge for Oklahomans; however, Shida Henneberry, professor of international agricultural trade policy, said translation did not seem to be a learning barrier for the Mexicans. "These Chihuahuan cattlemen are very developed," Shida Henneberry said. "They know their business and are good at marketing and production. Turning what Mexicans view as impediments into teaching points and learning moments, we really learn from each other." Learning from each other involves a willingness to learn about and appreciate different cultures, Bidwell said. "The Cattlemen of Excellence program has not only impacted the beef industry but also the cultural development of people living in rural communities," Sanchez said. Connecting Mexican cattlemen and American cattlemen provides opportunities to exchange opinions, ideas and perspectives.

"The more times you connect people, the more barriers you break down," Dicks said. This training provides key knowledge and skills pertaining to international markets, Sanchez said. "In my opinion, the most important thing is establishing new potential partnerships and making new friends that will be significant in the future," Sanchez said. Shida Henneberry said the relationships formed could bring business to Oklahomans, encourage trade and improve the beef industry. "The expected results are already beginning to show," Sanchez said. ''After the trainees returned to their respective cattle operations, they immediately started to implement new learned technologies." Relationships were formed because of a shared passion among C hihuahua and Oklahoma cattle ranchers. The young cattlemen returned to Mexico with more than friends; they returned with new ideas, techniques and philosophies to use and prosper on their ranches for years to come. ll!3

3 credits

2weeks + 1 international location Study Abroad Japan· Peru· China· Costa Rica Thailand · Honduras · England Italy· Brazil · Mexico · Germany 139 Agricultural Hall· 405-744-5398 david.he1111eberry@okstate.edu adel.to11gco@okstate.edu http://i11ter11atio11alagprograms.okstate.edu

Cowboy Journal • 23

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Far and away research By KATLIN AMARAL, Denair, Calif.

Sabbaticals allow you to get a chance to do something you've never done before.

Steve Hallgren

Clare Hall is where VerchotLubicz will study. (Photo courtesy of the University of Cambridge)

From Stillwater to places far, far away, College of Agricultural Scien ces and Natural Resources faculty have expanded their experiences - and improved their classes - by participating in sabbaticals. Sabbaticals have long been a professional development tool for professors at Oklahoma State University. CASNR supports sabbaticals to strengthen research - one of the college's three core values. According to OSU, the sabbatical candidate must have served as a faculty member for six academic years since initial appointment or a previous sabbatical leave. Marlene Strathe, interim OSU system chief executive officer and president, provost and senior vice president, said she is supportive of faculty and believes the experience of a sabbatical benefits the professor by enriching classroom learning and continuing scholarly activity. Each year the university awards 20 to 25 sabbatical leaves. "Every person I have ever known who has gone on sabbatical leave will tell you they will go again," Strathe said. "It can really be a career-changing experience." Since 1960, 104 professors have

taken sabbatical within CASNR, including Leon Spicer, professor of animal science, and Stephen Hallgren, associate professor of natural resource ecology and management. Jeanmarie Verchot-Lubicz, associate professor of entomology and plant pathology, plans to go this year.

Where do they go? Spicer went on sabbatical in 2005 to Stanford, Calif, where he was a visiting professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University Medical Center. "Stanford matched my research interest, and the San Francisco Bay area matched my personal interest, as it is my favorite area," Spicer said. Hallgren has been on two sabbatical leaves. In 1993, he went to Bayreuth, Germany, and in 2001, he went to Avignon, France. "A university professor with teaching and research should seek a diversity of ideas for discovering new knowledge," Hallgren said. "There's no better way to do that than to travel internationally." On both sabbatical leaves, Hallgren was able to become an academic adviser for graduate students, which helped integrate him into the environment, he said. Verchot-Lubicz will participate in a six-month sabbatical leave July 31 to Dec. 31 at the University of Cambridge. She has lived in England before, and she said this will enable her to reconnect with colleagues and leaders in the field and bring an opportunity to enrich her research.

What is the cost? To apply for a sabbatical, the individual decides on a research topic and submits a proposal to support the topic. After funding is found, the department head must approve the sabbatical. OSU pays for six months salary whether the professor takes leave for six months or a full year. 24 • Cowboy Journal

It took Spicer five years to plan his sabbatical, and with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he was able to supplement the cost to afford the trip. Spicer applied for a USDA National Research Initiative Competitive Program grant in the animal reproduction area. More than 100 applications were sent in, and only 18 percent received funding. "With the grant, I could use the new human-oriented technology and, upon my return, apply it to farm-animal research," Spicer said. Spicer's primary goal was to enhance his ability to obtain competitive government research funding. His overall funding at OSU has been reduced to half the dollar amount he had 17 years ago when he started, leaving him with 30 percent less funding for his research. "Due to the delayed revision process and low funding rates, it can take two or more years before funding is secured," Spicer said. "My experience at Stanford gave me new ideas so I could write new grants to submit and be more competitive." Hallgren received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to reduce the financial burden of a half salary, and the French government provided a supplemental stipend for his second sabbatical in Avignon. Lubicz-Verchot received funding from the University of Cambridge, which includes 31 colleges. She will study in Clare Hall, a center for advanced studies. At the end of her sabbatical, she will be eligible to become a life member, which would enable her to return to the campus. "With the fellowship providing on-campus housing, which is 90 percent of the personal cost, the issues I will have to deal with as a working mother will be transportation and daycare," Verchot-Lubicz said.

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Who goes with them? Sabbaticals, while funded, can be expensive endeavors because most professors will still have a mortgage to pay while on leave. If the whole family moves together, it enables them to rent the house. In Spicer's case, his family stayed home, so he lived in an apartment in Stanford. Spicer said this was in part because his wife, Maria, had a full-time job and two of his children, Michael and Melissa, were in the last years of their high school education and did not want to leave. "My children were able to spend two summer months with me," Spicer said. "They learned to be more independent. They took instrumental lessons from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and fencing lessons at Stanford, so they grew in knowledge and experience." Hallgren's family traveled to Germany with him, and his children, Katie, Maggie and William, returned fluent in German. During his sabbatical in France, two of his children went with him, and they also became fluent in French. He said the international experience enriched their lives and brought them closer as a family as well as strengthened, added to and changed his career. "From a personal point of view, it was important for me to include my family," Hallgren said. "It gave my children a better understanding of cultures and their own society."

What do they research? Spicer studied ovarian research in A.J. Hseuh's laboratory, one of the world's top research laboratories studying ovarian function. Each year, the National Institutes of Health and other funding sources award the laboratory about $750,000. "With the resources available at Stanford, including people and equipment, any experiment could be conducted," Spicer said. "I was fortunate to be able to use state-of-the-art technology during my sabbatical." While in Germany, Hallgren studied the effect acid rain has on tree roots' ability to absorb water. In

France, he researched how different types of trees transport water and the effects on their productivity. "The sabbatical allowed me to gain knowledge about tree function and bring that knowledge back to enrich my students," Hallgren said. Verchot-Lubicz will conduct research on host defenses to viral pathogens in plants. "The sabbatical will allow me to create new projects in areas which I have an interest but lack expertise," Verchot-Lubicz said. While gone, Verchot-Lubicz will keep in touch with students and researchers working in her laboratory with the use of Web-based meeting applications and a Quick Cam. "I will be able to talk to my laboratory daily, and my students can show me their data and ask questions," Verchot-Lubicz said.

How it benefits the university Spicer works with more than 100 students each academic year. The sabbatical allowed him uninterrupted time to focus on his research. Upon his return, he enriched the lives of the students he advises, teaches and supervises in his animal science laboratory. "My enthusiasm has spilled over to my graduate students," Spicer said. "With my new ideas, we have been more productive this year." Hallgren would recommend a sabbatical to any professor. "Sabbaticals allow you to get a chance to do something you've never done before," Hallgren said. "You make new contacts and expand your skills. To achieve full professor, the university requires international recognition, and an international sabbatical is a logical approach." Verchot-Lubicz said sabbaticals help create different ways to solve problems and help individuals look beyond their cultural biases. "The lab I am going to has experience in defense pathways, and by going there, I can speed my progress in this field and position myself to get grants and include new collaborators in my program," Verchot-Lubicz said.~

Top: Leon Spicer (right) assists Derek Thralls. (Photo by Todd Johnson) Middle: Steve Hallgren enjoys his time in France. (Photo courtesy of Steve Hallgren) Bottom: Jeanmarie Verchot-Lubicz manages a laboratory in the Noble Research Center. (Photo by Katlin Amaral) Cowboy Journal • 25

FALL 2007


Shooting through the ages By REBECCA LASICH, Fort Collins, Colo.

Although it is now a form of recreation, shooting sports once provided a way to survive the American frontier. Today, shooting sports also provides hunting and competitive opportunities for children and adults. Through 4-H, youth ages 9 to 19 have the opportunity to experience shooting sports.

Youth shooting Oklahoma 4-H offers a variety of shooting sports projects and activities for young people. "The purpose of the 4-H shooting sports project, as with other 4-H projects, is youth development," said Charles Cox, Oklahoma state 4-H program leader. 4-H involvement begins with enrollment at county extension offices, said Kevin Allen, assistant professor in the Oklahoma State University Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and state 4-H shooting sports coordinator. Youth participating in the program have different opportunities for involvement. First are state-level contests. Second, youth can use shooting sports 路as a 4-H project and complete a record book judged at the state level. Third is the opportunity for youth to be selected for the Oklahoma team, which travels across the nation to the annual National 4-H Shooting Sports contest. Safety is an important factor for 4-H shooting sports, Cox said. "It's a sport that has the lowest incidents as far as accidents," Cox said. "We really emphasize to young people that a shotgun, a pistol, a rifle, and a bow and arrow are not weapons; they are sporting arms." Firearm accidents among chi!-

dren ages 14 and under declined by 69 percent from 1995 to 2003, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Before becoming involved in shooting sports, 4-H'ers must complete an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife hunter education class and complete eight hours of instruction with a certified state leader to shoot in Oklahoma 4-H, Allen said. Through leaders and project work, 4-H teaches youth life skills and involves children in beneficial youth and adult relationships. Shooting sports teaches decision-making, team building, safety and self-control, Allen said. Youth who are interested can choose a shooting sports discipline and gain these life skills. 4-H' ers can choose among seven different shooting sports disciplines and projects, including shotgun, air rifle, air pistol, archery, muzzleloading, hunting and wildlife, and living history, Cox said. Living history is one of the state's new projects as is hunting and wildlife. The hunting and wildlife project examines environmental resources, resource management and other environmental practices. Living history relates back to the early United States and examines the impact of natural resources, shooting sports and the development of the country. Youth in this project select a person, current or historical, and determine the person's impact on environmental education, Cox said. Allen said these projects could help boost interest in the shooting sports program. "It would really help to ex-

pand participation in more than just shooting," Allen said. The Oklahoma 4-H shooting sports program is funded through grants and special projects. One of the largest contributors is the National Rifle Association through the Friends of the NRA Foundation. "Since the late 1990s, within Oklahoma, the NRA Foundation has provided about $135,000 for local county programs to help support the shooting sports," Cox said. The Friends of the NRA help counties in Oklahoma fund ammunition, firearms, targets and equipment, and it sometimes aids in developing shooting ranges, Cox said. In 2006, Oklahoma received 59 NRA Foundation project grants. "There is a partnership with public and private groups that helps support this project," Cox said. Grants from the National Wild Turkey Federation also help Oklahoma 4-H shooting sports programs. The Oklahoma City Gun Club and the Grand National Quail Hunt provide scholarship programs for the shooting sports program, Cox said.

Tracing history 4-H offers a way for youth to be connected to the past through projects and family involvement; however, some students go the extra mile. In fact, two 4-H'ers traveled miles up the Missouri River and traced the footsteps of the past. In August 2005, Trent and Eric Pribil, Oklahoma County 4-H shooting sports participants, retraced the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The

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twins found an online essay contest sponsored by the National Guard, and upon winning the contest, they received a trip to the Youth Rendezvous in North Dakota. The Pribils traveled to the Corps of Discovery for the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They spent five nights touring sites Lewis and Clark had visited. Eric Pribil was at Fort Mandan exactly 200 years after Lewis and Clark. "We went representing Okla-

homa," Trent said. "All but six states were there." Trent started in 4-H shooting sports in fifth grade, while Eric, who was more involved in Boy Scouts, started shooting several years later. Trent and Eric participate in shotgun and several other 4-H disciplines. Eric said they have always been interested in the outdoors, and Trent said they chose the fur trading period because they knew people involved

in the re-enactment for this period. What began as an eighth-grade history fair project turned into a hobby for the Pribils. They used the re-enactment for 4-H speech contests, and following the advice of one of the judges, the two started giving re-enactment presentations for

elementary schools and 4-H clubs. They give four to five presentations per year. For the presentations, Eric portrays Clark and Trent portrays Lewis. The Pribils have researched the expedition and the 31 people who traveled with Lewis and Clark. "We're continually learning about the Corps [of Discovery]," Trent said. Both said introducing more youth to shooti.og and outdoor sports has been a great accomplishment. "It has opened up different opportunities for us," Eric said. Re-enacting has connected the Pribils with people who are interested in re-enacting in similar eras. Some of the attire the Pribils wear for their presentations was donated by a re-enactment group from Kansas. To authenticate their presentations, Eric and Trent have collected items from the fur trading period, including feathers, hides, a coyote pelt and a beaver pelt. The Pribils made their own leggings and moccasins. Trent and Eric attend Edmond North High School. Eric said he will continue to re-enact, and both boys are looking for different opportunities for their final years in 4-H. Trent said they are looking at colleges that offer shooting sports programs to enable them to compete in shooting sports at the collegiate level.

OSU shotgun sports For 4-H youth who want to continue shooting after high school, some colleges offer collegiate shooting sports clubs for students to join. However, the OSU Shotgun

Sports Club is not limited to students who know how to shoot. Matt Dent, club president and animal science senior, said members come to the club for several reasons. "Some come just to learn how to shoot," Dent said. He said the chance to compete draws some members; others want to improve their hunting skills.

Trent (left) and Eric Pribil dress in period costume for their re-enactments. (Photos by Rebecca Lasich)

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Trevor South OSU Shotgun Sports Club member and animal science student, practices shooting skeet for collegiate competitions. (Photo by Rebecca Lasich) Dent and four other students founded the OSU Shotgun Sports Club in 2005. These students saw their friends at other schools participating in shotgun sports clubs and decided to start a club at OSU. Kevin Coffman, Garfield County 4-H shooting sports alumnus and wildlife and fisheries ecology student, said he became interested in the OSU Shotgun Sports Club because of his 4-H shooting sports experience. "I didn't know [OSU] had [shooting sports], and I enjoy shooting," Coffman said. With the 5,000 4-H shooting sports participants, OSU Shotgun

Sports members said they hope to provide an opportunity for 4-H 'ers to continue shooting shotgun if their paths bring them to OSU. ''I'd like to have it be an extension of 4-H for 4-H'ers to continue their shooting careers," Dent said. The OSU Shotgun Sports Club serves competitive and non-competitive interests. The club participates in sporting clays, trap, skeet and fivestand shotgun disciplines. The club competes at competitions in other states, including Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas. Members participated in the national competition in San Antonio in April.

"These gain recognition for not only the person but also the school that they represent," Dent said. OSU Shotgun Sports does not require members to obtain hunter education cards; however, it is encouraged, said Dent. "We will always need safety," said David Henneberry, director of international agricultural programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at OSU, who serves as the club's adviser. "It is a never-ending issue." Henneberry said the club fits well with CASNR. "It is one more way for students to develop," Henneberry said. Having opportunities for student involvement in both youth development programs and collegiate programs is important, Henneberry said. However, shooting sports involvement does not have to stop after graduation; students can stay involved after high school and college. "The network of people you meet is enormous," Dent said. So, whether you are a sharpshooter or just gaining interest in shooting sports, find a discipline you like and continue the traditions of this country.~

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DASNR goes fishing By CALEB ZOOK, Waynoka, Okla.

Imagine a calm summer evening on one of Oklahoma's premiere lakes. With a fishing pole in your hand, you relax beside the water. Suddenly, you feel a jerk, and your line is reeling off the spool. It is the giant blue catfish you have been waiting to catch your entire life. You may not realize it, but the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University is fishing for research to make your catch possible. In fall 2006, DASNR added the wildlife and fisheries program from the OSU College of Arts and Sciences to the department of natural resource ecology and management. With the move came new opportunities for DASNR students to broaden learning as well as new research for the division. William Fisher, adjunct fisheries professor, said the move will benefit students as they will have the chance to learn from professors in all areas of natural resources. "I think the students will really benefit," Fisher said. "As faculty, we have worked cooperatively across departments in the past by incorporating all the areas of natural resources into the curriculum. Students ultimately will be the real winners." Fisher said the move will help fulfill the goal of the department to be leaders in research and education. "The vision that a lot of us have is that we want this department to be one of the strongest in the region," Fisher said. "We would like to be sort of a beacon, and I think the potential is there." As students broaden their learning horizon, the move also brings new research to DASNR. 'Tm excited to be a part of

Matt Dent spends time fishing at Boomer lake in Stillwater, Okla. (Photo by Caleb Zook) DASNR," said Dan Shoup, OSU assistant fisheries professor. "It's a great college. My lab's mission and the college's mission are very handin-glove." Shoup works closely with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on research that will benefit Oklahoma fisheries. Fishing is an important part of Oklahoma's economy. According to the ODWC, fishing generates $992 million per year in economic output. Among other projects, Shoup and his graduate students work with ODWC to research the blue catfish. Many Oklahoma anglers pursue this game fish, but other than angling techniques, very little is known about blue catfish populations in the state. "There is a good angling base for that species," Shoup said. "If we don't manage it appropriately, the quality of the fisheries will decline, and that's not good for the angler." Shoup supervises graduate student Kris Bodine, who is researching blue catfish. "The problem wildlife officials have with managing the blue catfish is they do not know enough about the number and size of blue catfish in Oklahoma lakes," Bodine said.

He said researchers have found it difficult to get accurate samples of the fish population with current sampling techniques. Fisheries managers need to know the dynamics of fish populations to develop regulations that benefit the anglers and the fish population. In this study, fish are categorized by their size and weight as either "big fish" or "small fish." To be characterized as a "big fish," the catfish must be 30 inches long. "When managers have their population estimates and they do not know how many big fish are out there, they are probably under representing the big fish population," Bodine said. "If this is true, their management regulations are probably not correct." Bodine said current fishing regulations do not favor big fish. "I think we are probably overharvesting big fish," Bodine said. "The regulations we currently have are liberal. We have a big umbrella regulation that allows you to take 15 blue catfish with no size limit. This means anglers can go out there and catch 15 blue catfish over 30 inches long with relative ease." Fisheries researchers sample Cowboy Journal• 29

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A catfish spends time among some rocks. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


fish populations using a technique called electrofishing. Researchers use 1,000-volt electric pulses to bring fish to the surface where fish are netted, measured, weighed and released. Electrofishing does not harm the fish and is more efficient than other sampling methods, Bodine said. Shoup said current sampling techniques allow researchers to sample most fish species in an area approximately 10 feet by 10 feet. However, the blue catfish react differently as researchers can sample an area approximately 150 yards around the electrofishing boat. "They don't act like normal game fish," Bodine said. "Normal game fish get tetanized. They have muscle twitches that basically draw them to the electricity. Blue catfish don't do that." Bodine said they do not know what brings the catfish to the surface but believe the electricity may bother catfish much like a fingernail

running down a chalkboard bothers some humans. Electricity seems to have little effect on larger fish, Shoup said, making it difficult to sample the blue catfish population accurately. Shoup and Bodine said they are concerned their study is biased toward small fish because of their inability to sample large fish. "We know what is out there in terms of fish under 30 inches because we can sample them with ease," Bodine said. "We can't sample the big ones. If we have no idea what's out there, then we have no way of judging whether you are hurting the fishery or helping the fishery." Bodine's research will hinge on finding a way to remove the bias from current sampling techniques. "If we can come up with a way to quantify the bias of electrofishing, then it could mean several things," Bodine said. "No. 1, we can go out and get correct population estimates. Two, this information will allow managers to decide what regulations they need to set."


Bodine said he will quantify the size bias of electrofishing by using a simple control. He is working to isolate coves of different lakes using nets and then stocking a certain number of different-sized fish. He will then use current sampling techniques to determine what percent of each size fish is sampled each time he samples the area. "If we can understand exactly what percentage of each size we are catching, we can apply that to our regular electrofishing data set," Bodine said. By comparing catch percentages to current data, Bodine will be able to compensate for bias, should there be one. As little research has been done previously on blue catfish, Bodine said he hopes the work he is doing will serve as a springboard for all future catfish research. "Hopefully, Oklahoma will lead the way in blue catfish research," Bodine said. "Ideally, we should be pioneers in blue catfish research in a couple years." ~

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CASNR sets the bar high By HOLLI LEGGETIE, Ulysses, Kan.

Ten seniors from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources set the bar high for their peers by earning Top Ten Senior honors at the CASNR banquet. Blake Bixler, an agribusiness major from Waynoka, Okla., received the CASNR Outstanding Senior Award, the Top Ten Senior Award and the Dean Fred LeCrone Leadership Award for his leadership and accomplishments. He is the son of Stan and Rodeana Bixler. "The degree of success I have achieved in my four years at Oklahoma State University can be measured by the degree I helped other students to enjoy greater victories and equipped myself to be a valuable member of the work force as well as society," Bixler said. Four other CASNR students received the Top Ten Senior Award and Dean Fred LeCrone Leadership Award: Natalie Berning, Ruth Bobbitt, Jeff Clark and Shana Robson. Berning, a biochemistry major from Duncan, Okla., is the daughter of Scott and Leah Berning. "I represent the diverse opportunities available in CASNR, and as a highly-motivated, non-traditional, CASNR student, I have applied myself to scholarship, leadership and service to give back to my university and community," Berning said. Bobbitt, an agricultural communications major from Lamont, Okla., is the daughter of Mike and Cindy Bobbitt. "Collegiate life fosters both academic and self discovery; like the first momentous accomplishments of my life, attending OSU and CASNR has allowed me to explore worlds I never before imagined," Bobbitt said. Clark, an agricultural economics and accounting double major from Boise City, Okla., is the son of Marlene and the late Jay Clark. "My time at OSU as a CASNR student has been the best investment

I ever made, yielding incredible returns that will continue to be realized and accumulated over the entirety of my lifetime," Clark said. Robson, an agribusiness/preveterinary medicine major from Norman, Okla., is the daughter of Ken and Leigh Robson. "Involvement is my best opportunity to give back to OSU's CASNR what is given to me," Robson said. Five other seniors also received Top Ten Senior awards: Nikki Hupman, Wravenna Phipps, Tyler Smith, Brandon Trojan and Ryan Trojan. Hupman, an agricultural communications major from Sapulpa, Okla., is the daughter of George and Loy Hupman. "CASNR is not just a college; it is a family of devoted staff and faculty working together to produce the best students," Hupman said. Phipps, an agricultural communications major from Kearney, Neb., is the daughter of William D. and Robin Phipps. "Three goals I set five years ago were to attend OSU, graduate with honors and be selected as a CASNR Top Ten Senior," Phipps said. Smith, an agribusiness major from Elk City, Okla., is the son of Michael and Kathy Smith.

"CASNR has helped prepare me for the next chapter in my life by providing a top-quality education and the necessary leadership skills for success in the future," Smith said. Brandon and Ryan Trojan are biochemistry and molecular biology majors from Enid, Okla., and are the sons of Jim and Anita Trojan. "The education I have received at OSU is a debt I can never repay," Brandon Trojan said. His brother shares similar feelings about his background. "Growing up with an agricultural background, I have learned the benefits of hard work and determination," Ryan Trojan said. CASNRnamedAustin Horn, an agricultural economics sophomore from Yukon, Okla., as the Browning Outstanding Freshman. He is the son of Stan and Lisa Horn. "Goals should always be set at a high standard to ensure something great is always achieved," Horn said. Among other award recipients were Karen Hickman, Ag Ambassador Outstanding Adviser; Bailey Norwood, Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teacher; and Kris Novotny, Ag Ambassador Outstanding Support Staff These award recipients have raised the bar for their successors.~

Blake Bixler received the 2007 CASNR Outstanding Senior Award. He is pictured with Robert E. Whitson, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources vice president, dean and director, his mother, Rodeana Bixler and his grandmother, Neva Polson. (Photo by Todd Johnson)

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By TAMMY WILLIAMS, Idaho Falls, Idaho Oklahoma watermelon producers leave a lot of green in the field. About 30 percent of watermelons are left in the field each year, but researchers at Oklahoma State Universiry's Food and Agricultural Products Center are working to find a use for those melons. The center is conducting research to develop value-added watermelon products. "Today, there are no value-added products for watermelons," said Danielle Bellmer, principle investigator for this project. "You don't see watermelon juice or dried watermelon fruit on the shelves." With no outlet for value-added products, many second-class melons are left in the field. "If the melonsare the

wrong shape, wrong size, sunburned or have any defect at all, they are left in the field because the stores won't buy them," said Bob Ramming, a Hinton, Okla., watermelon producer and 1964 animal science alumnus. Another reason melons are left in the field is the need for seedless melons, which have grown in populariry in recent years, said Mark Arney, executive director of the Watermelon Promotion Board. "Fifteen years ago, 75 percent of the watermelons grown were seeded," Arney said. "Now that is reversed; 75 to 80 percent of the melons grown are seedless." To grow seedless watermelons, producers need seeded pollinators. The pollinators are rypically planted in either a three-to-one or four-toone ratio and regularly go to waste in the field, Bellmer said. The goal of FAPC researchers is to create a biorefinery where these whole melons can be processed. The first product they focused on was pectin. Pectin is used as a thickening agent, usually found in jams and jellies.

Pectin can be extracted from the watermelon rinds, which account for a large amount of the waste. "The rind makes up about 30 percent of the weight of the whole melon, and pectin makes up about 15 percent of the dry weight," Bellmer said. Pectin is usually extracted by acids. FAPC researchers used a new process to extract pectin using enzymes, which makes the process more environmentally friendly. They found enzymes work just as well, or in some cases better, than acids. The pectin extraction process is relatively simple, Bellmer said. After the whole melons are harvested from the field, the rind is removed from the flesh. This usually is done with a knife. The rind is ground in a device such as a food processor. It is washed with water to remove some of the sugars, and then it is soaked. It can be soaked in either acids, as is traditionally done, or in enzymes. The pectin is precipitated with alcohol, separated and dried. This dried pectin can be used for any commercial purpose. Pectin is most commonly found in high-sugar jams and jellies. It also is used in yogurt and pastry glazes and is used as a stabilizer in drinkable yogurts and in blends of milk and fruit juices. Pectin is used in some throat lozenges to alleviate symptoms of sore throat, according to the International Pectin Producers Association. Although watermelons are widely grown in Oklahoma, the state does not have a commercial pectin plant, Bellmer said. More than 22,000 acres of watermelons are planted each year in

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Oklahoma. Production is concentrated in the central and south-central areas of Oklahoma, but watermelons can be grown in most areas of rhe state, according to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. In 2002, Oklahoma ranked 12th in the United States in watermelon production. Oklahoma producers harvested more than 7 1.5 million pounds of watermelon, which accounted for about $5 million in sales, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Watermelon has become the leading U .S. melon crop in recent years. A driving force behind the increase in watermelons is the Watermelon Promotion Board. The Watermelon Promotion Board funds several research projects each year. The research covers several ropics ranging from consumer research to research on amino acids and lycopene. The Watermelon Promotion Board funded OSU's pectin extraction project. The FAPC biorefinery being researched is a process focusing on pectin extraction. The goal is to make a biorefinery plant with a wide array of value-added products. Products would come from the flesh, seeds and rind of the watermelon. Watermelon juice and lycopene are possible products of the flesh, and watermelon seed flour is a possible product from the seeds. Along with pectin, essential amino acids could be extracted from the rind. Other than the biorefinery, research is being done for different

value-added watermelon products. Watermelon and cherry concentrates are being researched to create a juice drink, Arney said. "Cherry juice alone is pretty acidic, and the body doesn't handle it well," Arney said. "But the mix that we got with watermelon and cherry created a pretty good product." The development of new products and economic feasibility go hand-in-hand. "We want to make processing of whole melons economical by creating an array of value-added products," Bellmer said. The development of value-added products will help Oklahoma watermelon producers.

"Value-added products would be a great deal for marketing the unusable melons," Ramming said. "Right now, they just go to waste and get plowed under." Value-added products can create demand for unusable melons. "When there are more uses for watermelons, demand goes up, and if everything stays the same, price will go up, too," Arney said. With the development of more value-added watermelon products and a possible biorefinery plant for processing whole melons, fewer wasted watermelons in the fields will mean more money in the pockets of Oklahoma watermelon producers.~

(Photos by Tammy Williams)

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Little Sister Antwannette (left) joins her Big Sister Heather Williams for a winter trip to Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Heather Williams)

Big Sister makes big impact By NIKKI HUPMAN, Sapulpa, Okla.

"To excel is to reach your own highest dream. But you must also help others, where and when you can, to reach theirs. Personal gain is empty if you do not feel you have positively touched another's life. " - Barbara Walters Heather Williams, 1999 Oklahoma State University alumna, puts Walters' words into action. Williams, an agricultural economics and accounting graduate and vice president at the Bank of Oklahoma in Tulsa, recently won the Heroes In Our Midst award for her involvement with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. She represented Oklahoma as the national winner in December 2006. "Heather has always been very civic-minded and giving to individuals and the community," said Joe Williams, Heather's father, OSU agricultural economics professor and director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program. 34 • Cowboy Journal

Heroes In Our Midst is a national program sponsored by the Greeting Card Association, which focuses on the tradition of connecting with others. The GCA has partnered with the BBBS organization to give credit to unsung heroes in people's lives. The Heroes In Our Midst program encourages people to send greeting cards to the winners and influential people in their own lives to thank chem for their service. The GCA donates $1,000 in the winner's name to the local BBBS chapter with which the hero is affiliated. "It was amazing to be known as one of the top Big Sisters in the nation," Heather said. "I would never consider myself a hero, but it was such a compliment chat I could represent all the other Big Brothers and Sisters in the country." BBBS of Oklahoma named Williams the Big Sister of the Year for 2006, which made her eligible for the national Heroes In Our Midst award. From television channels to

newspapers and magazines, much of Oklahoma recognized Williams for her honor. "I was at dinner one night with bank customers, and this person walked up and asked me if I was the Big Brothers Big Sisters girl," Heather said. "I said 'yes', and he told me he sent me a card and just wanted to say 'thank you."' Frequently, people forget to say "thank you" to those who have affected and touched their lives. This award is designed to remind communities of the good work and service being done around them. Heather received 2,800 cards from all over the state.

The friendship began Heather met Antwannette at Emerson Elementary while working with a school-based mentoring program at the Bank of Oklahoma's sister school. She was drawn to the little girl because of her love for animals, especially horses. Heather quickly

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discovered her desire to take their relationship further. "I went to her school one day a week and had lunch with her, and we worked on science fair projects, read books or just hung out," Heather said. "After about a year, we both decided we wanted to do more, so we took our relationship to the community-based program." The girls were assigned a match support specialist, and Antwannette's entire family was taken to Heather's home to see where she lived. Growing up in a crime-ridden section ofTulsa, Antwannette experienced violence and many challenges in her young life. The girls began their relationship when Antwannette was just 9 years old. Now, a 17-yearold junior in high school, she is able to realize her potential and knows the world is at her fingertips. "I want Heather to be there when I graduate high school and college," Antwannette said. "I plan on becoming a registered nurse." Heather described Antwannette as a very shy and timid little girl when they first met. She was hesitant to talk to Heather, and both girls were guarded because neither knew what to expect. "We've been through breakups and tragedies together, and she's gone from a guarded little girl to someone who trusts and confides in me," Heather said. Heather calls her and Antwannette's relationship a poster story because of the bond they have established. They have both worked hard to get where they are, and Heather gives her time because she wants the best for her little sister. "In my profession, there is very high stress," Heather said. "Sometimes all my activities and work are overwhelming, and just seeing Antwannette takes all the worries away. "It's great to have someone who looks up to you, and our bond is unbreakable," she said. Heather has assisted Antwannette with everything from personal problems and school to passing her driving test. Their relationship goes beyond a mentoring program, and

the two have benefited beyond measure from one another. Heather made the effort to begin a relationship with Antwannette's family to truly understand her daily life and be a more effective role model. "I try to show her the value of compassion, true friendship, dignity and respect," Heather said. "I think it is a must for a young lady to hold true to her values, and I hope to also instill in her the value and rewards of a good education and work ethic." Without Heather, Antwannette might not have discovered her desire to become a registered nurse, or have traveled for the first time, but she is not the only one who has benefited from this sisterly bond. "Their relationship has gone both directions," Joe Williams said. "Heather has helped Antwannette stay focused and has broadened her perspective on things, and Heather has benefited because of it." Heather said after graduating from OSU in 1999, she moved to Tulsa. She said she felt a little bit lonely because she had bank and horse show friends, but with her family in Stillwater, she did not have many close friends. "When Antwannette and I started hanging out, she really became my confidant and my girlfriend," Heather said. "She loved seeing me, and it evolved to a sisterly bond." The sisters have experienced

many things together. They have traveled to OSU to visit the campus and go to football and basketball games. They also share a passion for horses, and Antwannette has been involved with numerous horse shows in which Heather participates. "Whenever we go places together, I introduce her as my little sister," Heather said. "People sometimes look at us funny and acknowledge the racial difference, but my friends and family accept and love her." Antwannette said she feels like she is part of Heather's family and Heather is a part of hers. Heather promised Antwannette early on in their relationship if she would stay in school, stay off drugs and stay focused, Heather would take her on a trip somewhere fun. In December 2006, those promises became a reality. The girls traveled together to Chicago. Heather had fond memories of visiting the city when she was a young girl and wanted Antwannette to experience it as well. "I wanted her to see the lights, the Christmas trees, the snow and the big buildings," Heather said. "I think the trip inspired her, and her smile was priceless." Heather said she has gotten as much from Antwannette as she has given during their BBBS relationship. The two know their friendship will last, and although Antwannette

It's great to have someone who looks up to you, and our bond is unbreakable. Heather Williams

Benefits of Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Brothers Big Sisters is the oldest, largest and most effective youthmentoring organization in the United States. It helps children reach their potential through one-to-one relationships, which are professionallf. supported with proven results. The organization serves 240,000 children, ages 6 through 18, in all 50 states. To get involved in your local BBBS, you can visit http://www.bbbs.org, http://www.bbbsokc.org or http://www.bigbrothers-tulsa.org. By participating in BBBS youth mentoring programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are - More confident in their schoolwork performance; - Able to get along better with their families; - 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs; - 27% less likely to begin using alcohol; and - 52% less likely to skip school. Source: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Cowboy Journal • 35

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is turning 18 soon, they both know they have a lifetime to share with each other. "I love her with all my heart, and I would protect her with my life," Heather said. "She's like my real little sister, and it's not something you can turn off when you're 18 years old." Antwannette, too, knows their sisterly bond will be with them forever. She said they have a friendship she never wants to end. "Heather is irreplaceable," Antwannette said. "She has made an impact on my life, and she really is like my big sister."

The organization Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that allows two people from two different worlds to develop meaningful, lasting relationships. "I don't encourage people to get involved with BBBS for a community-service project," Heather said. "They need to do it only if they're going to commit because these kids look up to all of these people, and it's

not fair to not give them 100 percent of yourself." BBBS Oklahoma works to create successful, long-term connections between "bigs" and "littles." "Heather and Antwannette's relationship is special, and they were a great match," said Stefanie Pitt, BBBS Tulsa match report specialist. Heather said the awards and recognition are small in comparison to the rewarding experiences people are given. "Big Brothers Big Sisters provides a wonderful opportunity for targeted youth to have a mentor and positive influence in their lives," Joe Williams said. "BBBS is an absolutely tremendous organization that has impacted the lives of many, both youth and adults." Pitt said background checks are done on potential volunteers and if interested in the community program, driving records are looked at as well. An extensive interview is done to ensure the person is right for the organization, and the "big" is then

given three to five "littles" to choose from based on what BBBS thinks would be the best match. "We want to get a good view of the individual," Pitt said. "Consistency and time are what help these kids the most." Time is something Heather has given much of the past seven years. Her commitment has taken one little girl from an uncertain future to one full of hope and opportunity. The GCA and BBBS give attention wh ere it is deserved most. They remind those who go beyond what is asked of them that they are remembered and greatly appreciated. The importance of organizations like these is matched only by the relationships that blossom because of th em. Heather and Antwannette are just two of many who will be eternally grateful to BBBS. So often in life people fail to notice the dedication and accomplishments of individuals who strive to impact the lives of others. These are the everyday heroes in our midst. ~

"you pick it" at

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36 • Cowboy Journal

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Putting it all together "Dairy Days is geared toward the producers to help them become more efficient and promote continued education in the dairy industry," Litherland said. Litherland said he wanted to offer an intensive meeting so producers could apply new techniques to improve profitability and sustainability of their dairy enterprises. "Making informed decisions based on sound data will benefit our Oklahoma dairy producers," Litherland said. "With one of the biggest dairy processing plants in Dalhart, Texas, as our neighbor, Oklahoma and Texas panhandles are becoming a focal


I', 16


point to a growing number of dairies," Litherland said. "The Oklahoma and Texas area is a favorable location for dairy producers for four reasons: availability of land, affordability of land, availability of feedstuffs and a favorable climate." Patty Littlefield, Dairy MAX industry relations director, and Mary Craig, the Oklahoma Dairy MAX representative, attended Dairy Days with the Dairy MAX staff to provide an informational booth for the producers. Littlefield visits Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico to explain the dairy check-off program to producer families. "There are just good people in this area who appreciate agriculture," Littlefield said. "There are so many opportunities in the dairy industry for anyone who has an interest." Craig and Littlefield visited with producers about how their check-off dollars are being spent in school cafeterias, in classrooms and with local physicians in retail partnerships. Dairy MAX, Midwest Dairy Association and Southwest Dairy Farmers sponsored Dairy Days. Dairy MAX was one of the trade show exhibits for dairy producers. Each exhibit provided door prizes,




In February, Oklahoma State University brought together Oklahoma's dairy producers to Focus on Ef flciency during the Oklahoma Dairy Days Management Conference. "I wanted to bridge the gap so producers, consumers and extension agents could work together," said Noah Litherland, the new dairy production and livestock nutrition specialist at OSU. Litherland hosted the event, the first program of this caliber, for more than 80 attendees and numerous booth exhibits during its two days: Feb. 12 at the Grady County Fairgrounds, Chickasha, Okla., and Feb. 14 at the Northeast Technology Center, Pryor, Okla.





FALL 2007




2 -,

and each attendee received a milk bottle calendar and a Dairy Report: Focus on Efficiency booklet, complements of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. The booklet contained additional information the speakers used during their presentations.

Topics of discussion During the conference, attendees learned about nutrition, economic and genetic efficiency as well as disease prevention and animal identification, all factors affecting dairy efficiency. "Enhancing dairy efficiency is one way to maintain profitability without sacrificing milk production," Litherland said. "A clean environment is important, not only to boost animal health but also to increase feed efficiency. "Forage quality, diet composition and feed management affect cow nutrition, health and profitability," Litherland said. "When a cow is fed proper nutrients, her milk production and profitability increases. Nutrient composition and how the feed is prepared and delivered are important to production." Cowboy Journal • 37

FALL 2007

The system is comprised of three major steps: premise registration, animal identification and animal tracking, according to the OCES. "Diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Johne's are not the driving factor to these systems but rather what made chem come to a head," Pruitt said. "There are many other reasons chat a traceable system is needed, not only for the producer's benefit but also for the consumer's benefit." Pruitt included scenarios about the threat of diseases and how they can be prevented. Litclefield said the speakers sounded as though they were in a one-on-one conversation with the audience, allowing all listeners to put their ideas into perspective. "I like how the possibilities were put into a real-life perspective for the producers," Licclefield said. "Most of the farmers and producers have probably heard of some of the possible diseases' outcomes but have

Noah Litherland, OSU dairy and nutrition specialist, started Dairy Days with facts about dairy farming. (Photo by Jackie Haines) never viewed the possibilities from the perspective chat was presented."

Planning for next year With the success of the 2007 Dairy Days, plans for next year's conference are underway. "Ac chis time, we are going to focus on feed-quality appraisal, cow

comfort and management of fresh cow health," Litherland said. "Next year there will not only be a Dairy Days in Chickasha and Pryor but also in Stillwater and Tahlequah." ~

For more information about dairy farming and production, call Litherland at 405-744-6058.

FALL 2007

Jack Stout (left) and Les Hansen visit at a genetic trade show exhibit during lunch. (Photo by Jackie Haines) Litherland said dairy farmers need to keep a clean environment and red uce nutrient waste. Derrell Peel, extension livestock marketing specialist and agricultural economics professor at OSU, said dairy producers need to focus on cost management, specifically feed cost management for the next year. "It will be a challenge, as both forage and grain prices are high," Peel said. drought conditions ease chis summer, the forage situation could improve, but grain prices are expected co be high for the next couple of years." Rainfall has a direct correlation to the cost of feeding not only dairy cattle but also ocher livestock. "It may be important to consider more use of alternative feeds," Peel said, "which likely means management will be even more critical to avoid messing up production." One economic factor is fertility and health of dairy cows.

'.' If

Les Hansen, dairy genet1c1sc from the University of Minnesota, said crossbreeding in dairy cattle is used to complement genetic improvements within breeds and increase dairy efficiency. W ithin Holsteins, inbreeding is becoming a problem, Hansen said. The Holstein genetic base continues to narrow, according to OCES; essentially, no outcross Holstein genetics exist globally. "Inbreeding is increasing each year in the Holstein breed," Hansen said. "This causes increased inbreeding depression, especially for mortality, fertility, health and survival. "New research is underway to help uncover the potential values of crossbreeding for commercial milk production," Hansen said. Concerns about inbreeding are eliminated with crossbreeding, according to OCES. Different breeds of dairy cattle such as the Montbeliarde

and the Swedish Red offer different qualities to complement Holsteins and Jerseys, Hansen said. Betty Thompson, the 2006 National Jersey Queen, attended the event to promote her breed and let the producers know where to find information about the Jersey cow to answer any questions they may have before crossbreeding to the breed. "This is a great opportunity for dairy producers to gather and learn how to increase performance on their own farms," Thompson said. "I have been to several places nationwide, and chis was the first gathering like this that I have attended." In addition to inbreeding, dairy cow performance also is threatened with a disease called paratuberculosis, better known as Johne's disease. Johne's disease is a contagious, debilitating disease chat is caused by bacterium in manure, soil and water. Once the disease reaches th e small intestine, it causes the walls of the intestine to thicken and become unable to absorb nutrients. "This disease can lower milk production and fertility," said Mike Pruitt, veterinarian for the Oklahoma Department of Agricul ture, Food and Forestry. "A pound of prevention is worth more than an ounce of cure with this disease." Pruitt said the best prevention is not to purchase cattle infected with Johne's disease. "Knowing the health status of the herd of origin is paramount to protecting your herd," Pruitt said. This is one good reason to better understand and use traceable systems such as the National Animal Identification System, Pruitt said.

Litherland's Top 10 Ways to Increase Dairy Efficiency 1. Reduce feed variation.

6. Keep cows clean.

2. Increase comfort.

7. Practice proper feed processing.

3. Formulate diets to meet nutrient requirements.

8. Minimize feed spoilage on digestible feeds.

4. Increase milk production.

9. Minimize illness and disease.

5. Group heifers separate from cows. 38 • Cowboy Journal

10. Minimize feed wastage at the bunk.


Fall 2007

A family legacy continues throughout a century By ASHLEY MASON, Meno, Okla. Lush grass. Golden wheat. Dust swirling in the wind during harvest. Ever-changing technology. Advancements in agriculture. A century-old family business. In terms of Oklahoma's agricultural history, this depicts WB. Johnston Enterprises and the Meibergen family legacy. WB. Johnston's Grain Co. began in 1893 in Enid, Okla., when Willis Boyd Johnston wanted to become a competitor in the Southwest's agricultural industry. Today, WB. Johnston's Grain Co. has grown to become one of the divisions of Johnston Enterprises. In 1976, WB.'s grandson, Lew Meibergen, current chairman of the board of Johnston Enterprises, continued the family business when he bought the company from his uncle, Dale Johnston, who was WB.'s son. "We had six elevators back then," Lew said. "I was fortunate enough to be able to buy Dale out, and we have gone from there." Today, Johnston Enterprises still markets grain and seed, handling 20 percent of Oklahoma's annual wheat crop. It is also the owner of water ports in two states, a cotton gin, 23 country elevators, two grain terminals, a trucking company, five seedcleaning facilities, a 50,000-bushelper-hour shuttle rail facility and an experimental research farm. In addition, W.B. Johnston Grain Co. operates an 800,000bushel barge terminal in eastern Oklahoma, an 18-million-bushel rail terminal in Enid and a 2-million-bushel rail facility in Shattuck. Lew's son, Butch Meibergen said Johnston Seed Co. has seen the most change throughout the years. "The seed company used to be

wheat seed, rye seed, alfalfa, clover and mungbeans," Butch said. "Now, primarily, we are into native grasses for the Conservation Reserve Program and then improved grasses for golf courses and bermudagrasses." Johnston Seed Co. also works with Oklahoma State University to market and develop bermudagrasses. "OSU has developed some outstanding bermudagrasses that are cold tolerant," Lew said. "Riviera is the No. 1 seeded bermudagrass in the world. We have it in 15 or 16 countries now."

A family legacy Today, the company continues to be family operated. Butch joined the Johnston team in 1979 and serves as the president and chief executive officer. Butch's son, Joey, joined in 2004 and handles project management and development. 'Tm the luckiest person on this earth," Joey said. "I get to see my grandpa and dad every day. If half of what my grandpa's done over the years will sink into me, I will learn something, and if that happens, I'll be lucky." Continuing the legacy of John-

ston Enterprises is not the only tradition Lew passed down to his family. All three generations are alumni of OSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. In 1953, Lew graduated with a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry and a minor in agronomy. "I always thought I might want to be a rancher, and it never materialized," Lew said. Butch followed his father's lead, except with a goal to become a veterinarian, when he enrolled in 1974. "I was pre-vet for two years," Butch said. "I had all of the requirements for vet school except five hours of chemistry; I just got burnt out on the sciences." Butch then changed his major to agricultural economics with an option of farm and ranch management; he graduated in 1979. Joey started his collegiate career in August 2000, beginning his pursuit of a civil engineering degree. He changed to agricultural engineering and then to agricultural economics, completing his degree in 2004. "I bleed orange!" Joey said. "I didn't think there was anywhere else to go."

Far left: Butch (left), Lew and Joey Meibergen own the Johnston Enterprises grain terminal in Enid, Okla. (Photo by Ashley Mason)

Below: The original W.B. Johnston Grain office was located in Enid, Okla. (Photo courtesy of Johnston Enterprises)

FALL 2007

The college life The Meibergen men have noticed a number of changes to OSU since they were students. "When I was at OSU, it was much smaller than it is now," Lew said. "It just seemed like we were one big family. "Of course, yo u had to walk everywhere. In the fraternity, I think there were only five or six guys that had cars. Everybody hoofed it, and if you wanted to go home on the weekend, you hitchhiked." Lew participated in intramural sports, Block and Bridle, and the livestock judging team while enrolled at OSU. During Butch's time at OSU, he, like his father, was a member of Beta Theta Pi. Joey was a member of the OSU Ducks Unlimited chapter and Aggie-X, a student organization in agricultural economics.

Involvement with OSU The Meibergens also said they

believe it is important to support their alma mater. "Oklahoma State University is, I feel, one of the only organizations that cares about Oklahoma, Oklahoma agriculture and the farmer as much as we do," Joey said. "That is why it is so important to continue their legacy and to help us continue ours." They have committed to support OSU and the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources through scholarships, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program, the DASNR Dean's Advisory Council and the OSU Foundation. "The Meibergens bleed orange and are true cowboys in their support of Oklahoma State University," said Robert Whitson, DASNR vice president, dean and director. "We are truly blessed to have a family with the Meibergens' love for agriculture and the state to be a true friend of DASNR and OSU."

With undergraduate scholarships, Johnston Enterprises supports a variety of majors within CASNR, including animal science, plant and soil sciences, agricultural engineering and agricultural communications. "We want good young adults to work for us," Butch said. "Our philosophy has been, if we keep our farmers profitable, we will be profitable. I think that is probably one of the better tools we have is to support the extension service and the university with scholarships. "We try to work with them and support them to be able to stay on the leading edge of technology, whether it is chemical fertilizer or agronomy." Johnston Enterprises continues to be at the forefront of the agricultural industry. Their continuing support of OSU and CASNR shows their dedication to ensuring the growth and success of Oklahoma agriculture. "We'll just keep pluggin' away to stay on top of the agricultural industry," Lew said. ~

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FALL 2007


REYAP institute participants take advantage of opportunities to learn about agriculture, Oklahoma State University and the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. (Photo by LaDonna Mccowan)

The beginning of a dream By HOLLI LEGGETTE, Ulysses, Kan. Oklahoma minority students can REYAP ['rep) what they sow in agriculture through the Retired Educators for Youth Agricultural Programs, which promotes opportunities in agriculture for AfricanAmericans and ocher culturally diverse youth.

Focusing on minorities in agriculture REYAP began in 1994 under the direction of five retired vocational agricultural educators W G. Parker, James R. Johnson, A. W Hampton, M. E. Gamble and the late Sam Combs, Jr. The founders were disappointed Oklahoma did not have one minority agricultural educator, said LaDonna McCowan, Oklahoma State University assistant extension specialist for urban and minority environmental programs. "Oklahoma needed minority agricultural educators to provide a sustainable agricultural program for African-Americans and culturally diverse youth," McCowan said. 44 • Cowboy Journal

The founders saw the need to promote minorities in agriculture. They recognized a large number of minorities were leaving agriculture, and they knew something had to be done, said Rica Combs, REYAP executive director, whose father-in-law was one of the program's founders. "The founders knew minorities would always have a means of support with agriculture," Combs said. REYAP established a vision to enhance the American dream of African-Americans and other culturally diverse individuals through opportunities in agriculture. "We had three goals: get the program implemented, give students the opportunity to do research projects, and give students the opportunity to compete with their research projects," Combs said. REYAP, a statewide, nonprofit organization, has more than 100 African-American and other culturally diverse youth ages 14 to 18 across Oklahoma. For more than 13 years, REYAP has invested in Oklahoma's

minority youth. The stable, sustainable program can be duplicated; however, the program has not gone national yet, Combs said. "No other states have REYAP," McCowan said. "Ocher states want the program really, really bad. Universities and governments in other states would like to get a program like chis, but REYAP has not expanded outside of Oklahoma." REYAP has four foci - leadership, scholarship, citizenship and economic development, Combs said. The program combines the foci to develop internship opportunities for the students, McCowan said. "We focus on internships," McCowan said. "Oklahoma State for the last five years has provided internships for the students." Since Combs began as a volunteer in 2000, REYAP has made an impact on Oklahoma and agriculture, she said. "I know people are more aware of agriculture because of REYAP," Combs said.

FALL 2007

At one time, REYAP experienced a low budget and little support; however, the youth who participated then still gained experience and vital insight into Oklahoma agriculture, Combs said. "Because of REYAP, I have had the opportunity to not only experience agriculture but also gain lifelong friendships," said Shawn Fletcher, 1998-2003 REYAP participant and agricultural education senior. "It was one of the many successful foundation blocks that enabled me to make the decision to become an agricultural educator."

Seeing the vision With a vision in mind, Combs said she approached OSU about the possibility of an institute on the OSU-Stillwater campus. "When we first approached OSU in 2004, nothing happened," Combs said. In May 2006, REYAP supporters approached Robert E. Whitson, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources vice president, dean and director, about the possibility of an institute. "It wouldn't have been possible without the support of Dr. Whitson through DASNR," said Brent Westerman, Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station field and research service unit senior director. McCowan said REYAP appreciates Whitson. "The executive director has tried to get people to see this dream," McCowan said. "She was almost in tears; she said he sees the dream. It is refreshing to talk to somebody about what you would really like to see happen, and they see it already." Numerous individuals have played a huge role in the REYAP institute on campus, Combs said. The goals for the OSU program included increasing the knowledge and understanding of science and technology in agriculture through hands-on experience, improving research and presentation skills, introducing educational and career opportunities in science and technology in agriculture, and contributing to the

personal development of culturally diverse individuals. "We want REYAP participants to learn agriculture is not just milking cows and plowing the land and that our efforts in research, extension and teaching within DASNR lead to the cutting edge technologies that positively impact agriculture locally, regionally, nationally and globally," Westerman said.

Implementing the institute In July 2006, the vision was carried out on the OSU-Stillwater and Langston University campuses through an institute. "We wanted to get students and parents on campus and realize it is not intimidating," Combs said. The three-day institute provided 50 culturally diverse youth between the ages of 14 and 18 the opportunity to experience science and technology in relation to agriculture. "We wanted to get students involved, particularly with research," McCowan said. "That is why we chose OSU." The institute allowed Oklahoma minority students to develop relationships with professionals in agriculture and agricultural research, McCowan said. The projects students develop as a part of the institute can be taken to competitions on the local, district, state and national levels, Combs said. "The students develop PowerPoint presentations for oral and poster presentations they would enter at a national competition, the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences Conference," McCowan said. "Students want to meet with faculty again," McCowan said. "It is

different than students just participating in a workshop and leaving. They have a connection." The institute was a broad look at DASNR this year, but we hope for it to become more in the years to come, Westerman said. "It is important for OSU to serve all of the citizens of Oklahoma and to expand educational opportunities in agriculture and natural resources," Whitson said. "This program provides unique opportunities for culturally diverse Oklahoma students to have hands-on experiences in university research laboratories." REYAP is key to the university in diversifying the campus, Westerman said. "It leads to recruitment with OSU," Westerman said. "It lets students know of all the scientific things we are involved with."

Impacting the future OSU will host the institute again this summer, Westerman said. "We are looking to expand the workshop into four days and six different workshops," Westerman said. "It is an opportunity for [students] to come on campus and not just see the orange and black and the athletics we have to offer but to see what we have to offer from an agricultural research standpoint. All the workshops will be research-based." Even though the supporters of the institute have high hopes, it is too soon to see the impacts on OSU and agriculture, Westerman said. "The long-term goal is to prepare increased numbers of Oklahoma students to enter scientific careers in agriculture and natural resources to further their own future and the future of this state," Whitson said. ~

Ed Miller, associate dean of academic programs, discusses opportunities in agriculture with REYAP institute participants. (Photo by LaDonna Mccowan)

FALL 2007


iTeaching reaches CASNR By JARED NUTTER, Pryor, Okla.

Imagine sitting in a bedroom or a study hall looking over old notes. The next exam is coming rather quickly, and questions are running through your mind. You wish for another way to receive information and be prepared. Patricia Ayoubi, a Waukomis, Okla., native, an Oklahoma State University alumna and an assistant professor of biochemistry, has found ways to benefit students' study habits while increasing their knowledge to excel in the classroom. "In seventh grade, one of my teachers asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up," Ayoubi said. ''As I thought about this question, I decided to pursue a career in teaching and research. This dream continued into my high school years as I helped tutor chemistry." In the fall of 2006, Ayoubi started using a podcasting system so students could get online and download past lectures to their iPods. With this technology, students are able to view lectures for any missing notes or to just refresh their memories. Ayoubi also provides streaming videos online for students without iPods. Kristen Carrick,

... \\ •

• •

a biochemistry/pre-medical student, took Ayoubi's biochemistry class. "This class being podcasted was very beneficial for me," Carrick said. "I have had to miss class for various reasons, and biochemistry is not a class to miss. Because of podcasting, I could still access Ayoubi's lectures, which I am thankful for." Students who choose biochemistry as their major usually want to pursue a career in some area of the medical field. Grades are critical, so missing lectures is unacceptable. "Education differentiates among students and all the different styles of exams," Ayoubi said. "I have found podcasting useful in my survey of biochemistry course. The iPod system reinforces the lectures; it does not replace the lectures. "I have also started using the virtual classroom and video lectures," Ayoubi said. "Prior to the exam, I stay online so students can ask me questions. I feel this is my duty as a professor, and I have noticed an improvement in exam scores." This type of system helps students who are in the classroom as well. For example, being able to listen and watch the lectures numerous times can refresh one's memory and help to learn the information. "Podcasting was a great idea," Carrick said. "In one class period, you can miss so much information, sometimes even a whole chapter. This is detrimental especially in an upper-level chemistry class." Clay Nelson, physiology/premed senior, attended Ayoubi's biochemistry class in fall 2006. "The virtual classroom really helped me prepare for exams," Nelson said. "Many questions come up while studying, and with Ayoubi's help and consideration, I get my questions answered."

After Ayoubi earned her doctorate from OSU in microbiology and molecular genetics, she began in the biochemistry department with the new microarray facility. This facility was made available through the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research grant program to benefit OSU and other colleges and universities around the state. Ayoubi helped teach and train those who would work with the facility on operating the equipment properly. This technology must be used properly and carefully or the results will be inaccurate, Ayoubi said. "Talk about a person who is able to handle a busy schedule," said Earl Mitchell, former biochemistry department head. ''Ayoubi teaches a variety of courses, advises 150 students, conducts summer workshops, teaches students and faculty how to use the microarray system, and has a husband and two children." While teaching and advising in the department, Ayoubi has helped operate the microarray facility since 2001, which gives the undergraduate and graduate students hands-on experience with genome expression. "If students are planning on being physicians, sooner or later they will have to work in this type of facility," Carrick said. "We need to take advantage of the opportunity while we are here." The opportunity for students to use this facility is beneficial for their future, Ayoubi said. "This is some of the newest technology," Ayoubi said. "With this type of equipment, you can test thousands of genes at once and detect which genes are good and bad, which would be impossible withour the microarray system." Giving students the opportunity to work with this technology lets them see for themselves what can be accomplished with microarrays .

(Photo courtesy of Apple)

FALL 2007

Peter Hoyt, director of the OSU Microarray Core Facility and the Bioinformatics Core Facility since 2005, said this facility is open to anyone who would like the chance to learn about the genome process. "This technology is important for biological research and the understanding of the genome as a whole," Hoyt said. "This facility and other facilities nationwide have opened opportunities for researchers to see not just one change resulting from a treatment but to see all the changes occurring throughout the genome." With older technologies, people would get tested while taking a drug, and the results would show only a single response; now, multiple responses or multiple diseases can be detected at the same time. "With just one drop of blood, the experts can immediately know what is wrong with a person," Mitchell said. Once the blood is in the microarray facility, experts can tell you

what problems might exist, regardless of the problem's intensity. "Most of the research done through OSU is host pathogen interaction, which is with plants and mammals, such as mice and humans," Ayoubi said. "The key to these research projects is to find out what genes the hosts are using against the pathogens." Ayoubi, in her role as a teacher, an adviser, a researcher and an expert in the microarray facility, has helped make the department what it is today. "Students can easily determine which teachers are putting forth maximum effort for us," said Phillip Friesen, biochemistry/pre-medical major. "Ir's the few seconds before class setting up the recording equipment and the few minutes after class uploading the sessions that distinguish Dr. Ayoubi as a professor who truly cares about the kind of education we receive. "It is the small things that truly make a professor impressive."~

Patricia Ayoubi (back) and Phillip Friesen work in the biochemistry lab. (Photo by Jared Nutter)

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providing special financing to those 3 5 years of age and younger

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Call 866-Ag-Lender www.farmcreditecob.com Cowboy Journal • 47

Whitson's Notes The students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have a long tradition of being committed to excellence. Cortney Timmons, a biosystems/ agricultural engineering student from Ada, and Sara-Jane Smallwood, an agricultural communications student from Clayton, were 2007 recipients of the Morris K. Udall Scholarship, a national competition that draws 700 or more outstanding nominations from U.S. colleges and universities. Presented to 80 students annually, this scholarship is among the most prestigious collegiate honors in the United States. In 2007, seven of OSU's 15 Outstanding Seniors were from CASNR! While the college has about 10 percent of the university's student population, CASNR students annually make up 30 percent or more of those selected as OSU Outstanding Seniors, .t he best of the best of the university's senior class. These and similar examples of a commitment to excellence provide benefits not only to the individual students, but also to their peers, future students, our academic departments and the college as a whole. This past spring, we presented more than $900,000 in scholarships and awards to deserving CASNR students for the 2007-2008 school year. The amount of financial assistance we provide far exceeds that of any other college at OSU and would not be possible without the generous support of donors who believe in the quality of the college's teaching programs and the aspirations and potential of our students. It's about our repuration for providing value, for making a difference in people's lives.


Robert E. Whitson Vice President, Dean and Director Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources 48 • Cowboy Journal

The OSU Alumni Association honored seven CASNR students as Outstanding Seniors for 2006-2007: Wravenna Phipps (front left), Ruth Bobbitt, Kathryn Bolay, Tyler Smith (back left), Blake Bixler, Katie Lee, and Jeff Clark.

Come join us on tour Come tour sites around the state and experience agriculture Oklahoma style. Each year the OSU Ag Alumni Association sponsors a two-day Access Tour, which takes Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources faculty, staff, alumni and students as well as Congressional staff members and sponsoring agencies around the state, said Jason Harvey, Ag Alumni president. This year, the alumni have planned a tour that includes Cimarron Valley Experiment Station in Perkins; Valley View Pecan Farm in Earlsboro; Oklahoma State Prison in McAlester; McAlester Ammunitions

plant; Kerr Center in Poteau; and a poultry tour with OK Farms and Homer Moro Farm near Heavener. Access IV leaves Stillwater on May 31 and returns June 1; however, participants can join the tour at any point along the route, Harvey said. Pre-registration is encouraged. This year the trip is funded by the OSU Agriculture Alumni Association and statewide agricultural organizations. For pre-registration or to acquire additional information, call the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at 405-744-5395.

2006-07 Agriculture Alumni Board of Directors Jason Harvey ................ El Reno President, At-large Shelly Ramsey ................. Jones Vice President, Northeast Kim Spady .. ........ .. ...... Hinton Secretary, Southwest Barry Bessinger. .. ...... . .... Watonga At-Large Jami Longacre .............. Kellyville Northeast Brent Garvie ............... Burlington Northwest Brent Kisling ....... ... .. ... Stillwater Northwest

Clay Jones ........ ..... ..... Durant Southeast Steve Upson ................ Ardmore Southeast Wes Elliott . ... .............. Elk City Southwest Shirley Stephens ............ Chickasha At-Large Dana Goss ..... ... ... . ...... Canute At-Large Linda C. Martin .. ......... .. Stillwater Executive Secretary

Spotlight: Meet Barry Bessinger A 1978 Oklahoma State University graduate in agricultural economics, Agriculture Alumni Association board member Barry Bessinger was born in Mountain View, Okla., but has called Watonga home since 1985. Barry met his wife, Dana Hare, at an Aggie-X Club meeting in 1978. Barry's fondest memories from OSU are meeting his wife, going on the Spring Break trips with Aggie-X and having great times "shooting the bull" with his fellow ag students on the steps of Ag Hall. The Bessingers have been married 28 years and have two sons attending OSU. Travis is a history junior, and Jay is an ag-

ricultural economics/accounting freshman. Dana plans to return to OSU next fall to work on her master's degree in teaching, learning and leadership. The Bessinger family bleeds orange! In Watonga, Barry has worked for Chisholm Trail Farm Credit for 22 years and serves as vice president and branch manager. Barry joined the OSU Ag Alumni Association board of directors in 1990 and is currently completing his second, nonconsecutive six-year term. He served as president for two years. It is a pleasure to introduce you to Barry Bessinger, dedicated board member and true Cowboy Fan!

Barry Bessinger

EXFEilIEIC;E THE OilAI&E STATE OF MINI> AT THE A& ALVM:NI EAREE~VE O~TOEER .20, .2007 Wes Watkins Center for International Trade and Development 2V2 hours before kickoff ( or immediately following the game if kickoff is at 11 a.m.)

Please plan to attend and celebrate Homecoming 2007 ! For more information, call 405-744-5395 or visit http://www.casnr.com.


Cowboy Journal • 49

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L. ttc!· Help• Career Fairs ocI< Interviews • Ca 1· eer Library Grae! School and Et11ployer I11fon11atio11 0

Ct\S r~ R Career Services I11creasi11cJ Yotll' Oclds of Career Success 136 A9,·icl1lll11·11I Hdil/ S :! :ite1· 01< 74078 • 405-744-5395 w \tr. 11,·. ri! • :11· ei-()e1·vices@cas111·.com 1

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

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Profile for Cowboy Journal

Cowboy Journal v9n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 9, Number 2, Fall 2007, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University

Cowboy Journal v9n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 9, Number 2, Fall 2007, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University


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