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The Brand

A Newsletter for the Department of Agricultural Sciences at West Texas A&M University

Fires Help Department Focus on What Matters Most Recap of 2011 Ag Day Celebration Departmental Enrollment Continues to Rise 2012 Ag Day Celebration Set for Sept. 8

Dean’s Message


t is hard to believe that a year has gone by since I took the reins from Dr. Jim Clark. Even though time seems to fly by faster with each passing year, we are making the most of it. Enrollment in the College continues to set the pace for the University and is a huge bright spot that is the envy of others both on and off campus (see page 12). The Department of Agricultural Sciences has led the way and is a perfect example of how a terrific faculty, with outstanding alumni support, dedicated to attracting, retaining and educating students should work. The department has also attracted new faculty members that will continue to build the legacy of excellence in teaching, research and service. A new faculty chair position in cow/calf management has been established with a generous pledge ($1.5 million) from an anonymous foundation that will allow us to serve an important segment of Texas Panhandle agriculture that we have not had the resources to serve in the past. We expect to have a faculty member named to that chair by the beginning of the fall semester. We will also be welcoming back Mallory Vestal to our agriculture business and economics program as soon as she finishes her doctorate at Oklahoma State. She will be a huge asset to that program. David Parker is rejoining the University as the Primary Investigator of the Core Lab Facility. This position will provide support for research University wide, and agriculture will certainly benefit from it. Lal Almas is in Azerbaijan (how many of you know where that is) on a Fulbright Fellowship teaching agricultural business and economics at their university. The Fullbright program is one of the most prestigious honors a faculty member can receive, and we are very proud of Lal (see page 8). Lance Kieth has been chosen to head the University’s student leadership program. Lance brings a world of experience and enthusiasm to that program and the entire University will benefit from his appointment. He will lead this program along with continuing his duties in the department (see page 7). Tim Bynum, our college development officer has done an outstanding job in helping Hawkins and I with fundraising for various projects. In these days of tight budgets and reductions in support at both the state and federal levels, fundraising is the only way we can continue to thrive. Our students continue to represent us well in all types of competition and are a real source of pride for all of us. Our research programs continue to bring value to agriculture in the Texas Panhandle and beyond, and our faculty members are working hard to provide the region with answers to questions that will keep us in a competitive position. By any measure, we are doing extremely well. On a personal note, I want to thank everyone who supported me and my family during the past few months as we have dealt with the loss of our youngest son. Your friendship, sympathy, support and donations in his name have been overwhelming. When we moved back to the High Plains almost 15 years ago, the decision to leave a major land-grant university was due in large part to the people in this region. You have proven that I made a wise choice. Thanks to each and every one of you. Go Buffs!!

Don R. Topliff Dean and Professor College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering

From the Department Head


ello, from the Department of Agricultural Sciences! Your department is continuing to flourish. Enrollment has reached an all time high in agricultural sciences with 628 students currently pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. This growth is a reflection of the tremendous financial support received from the Agriculture Development Association and devoted friends of the department. We are hopeful we can maintain this momentum. Students are attracted to WTAMU because of the high quality of our graduates, faculty, staff and programs. New faculty have also joined us as assistant professors (see page 13). A donor has provided an extremely generous gift to the department that will fund a new endowed faculty position in beef cow-calf management. As the economy remains sluggish, these financial gifts are critical to the future of your Department of Agricultural Sciences as we continue to grow.

We are fortunate to have the continued support from our stakeholders, which aides in academic scholarship and faculty research and teaching. As student enrollment increases, we must continue to build our scholarship funds to continue to attract and recruit the best and brightest to WTAMU. I like to refer to the old adage, “A hand up, not a hand out.” All of the competitive teams housed in the department have done extraordinarily well this past fall and spring semesters. Students, faculty, graduate student coaches and advisers of these teams spend long hours preparing and traveling across the United States. They represent all of us, and I hope you are as proud of them as I am! Agricultural media and communication majors under the direction of Dr. Tanner Robertson constructed this newslettter, which represents the caliber of their work.

Please accept my personal invitation to attend our annual Ag Day Celebration on Sept. 8. Your department is doing well and we would like to personally thank you for your support regarding the Ag Day Celebration. Additional details are found throughout this newsletter. I encourage your continued support to the department. We are proud of our alumni, current students and those yet to become Buffaloes. You are always welcome to stop by and visit your department!!!

Dean Hawkins Head and Professor Department of Agricultural Sciences

Horticulture: Moore Than Growing Plants If you ask students in the Department of Agricultural Sciences what one of their favorite classes has been at WTAMU, many of them will answer “horticulture with Mrs. Moore!” Liz Moore received her bachelors degree in integrated pest management in 2001 and her master’s in plant, soil and environmental science in 2003, both from West Texas A&M University. In

the fall of 2006, Moore returned to the Department of Agricultural Sciences to teach horticulture as a part-time instructor. The opportunity was perfect for Moore. It combined her passion for horticulture with her love for working with college students. “I love to help students find their green thumbs,” Moore said. Horticulture counts as a core requirement for natural sciences. The class is designed to cover the basics of plants and teach students how to relate those basics to other aspects of agriculture, specifically, plant, soil and environmental science. Moore covers plant anatomy, water conservation,

greenhouse production, landscaping and floral design. For the last three years, Moore has been in charge of two big fundraisers for the Plant, Soil and Environmental Science Program. For Valentine’s Day, Moore advises students who put their floral-design skills to work, offering a variety of floral arrangements for WTAMU faculty, students and staff to help with the fundraisers. She advises students who grow plants in the department’s greenhouse for the Spring Plant Sale, which provides practical experience to students. Moore also teaches a freshman seminar class for agricultural majors in fall semesters and manages the department’s greenhouse year round.


Fires Help Department Focus on What Matters Most The Nance Ranch Last summer, wildfires burned more than three million acres in Texas. The Department of Agricultural Science’s Nance Ranch contributed 700 acres to that total.

with many decisions that had to be made. Thankfully, no animals, people or structures were lost in the fires.

The damage forced the department to cut the cattle herd down to half Along with the acreage that was of its normal size. The remainder lost, more than six miles of fence also of the herd has now been moved to was destroyed, leaving the department smaller areas, which requires different feeding and management strategies – a problem that many Texas Panhandle ranchers are facing this year. Despite the devastation, David Lust, assistant professor of animal science and the director of the Nance Ranch, said there was still much to be fortunate about.

A wildfire burned more than 700 arces on the Nance Ranch.

The six-and-a-half miles of fence that was lost in the fire was older fence that was in need of repair. The grazing land that was burned also forced new management strategies

on the ranch that has led to grants and research. Kelly Jones, a graduate student in animal science, has developed a research project focused on the feeding of cattle in smaller confinements compared to range land. A grant has already been acquired for Jones’ research. According to Lust, more grants also are being sought to provide additional funding for continued and future research. “All things considered, we managed the fire quite well compared to many other producers in Texas,” Lust said. Work still continues to be done to restore the grazing land from last year, and the department is eager to begin assisting Texas Panhandle producers with management strategies to overcome last summer’s fires and drought.

“Family” First It is not uncommon for universities and departments to provide graduate students with assistance while they work on a graduate degree. The Department of Agricultural Sciences and its “family” did more than provide a graduate stipend to current graduate students, Andrea Spencer and Jake Becker, and alumna Tori Lujan after they lost everything in an apartment fire last fall. The fire quickly consumed four apartments and seven automobiles (including Spencer’s and Becker’s) the morning of the first day of fall classes at WT. Just before 2 a.m. Spencer’s dog Dallie woke her and Becker up. 3

“He was barking like we had never heard him bark before, and he wouldn’t stop. Once we were awake, we realized most of the downstairs was already on fire,” Spencer said. Spencer, Becker and Dallie made it out of the apartment, but were left with literally the clothes on their backs. “You think that if something like this ever happens, you know what you will grab on the way out,” said Spencer, a recent agricultural media and communication graduate. “But when it comes down to that, grabbing anything, even your cell phone or shoes, is the last thing on your mind.”

It is one of the strangest feelings in the world, Spencer said. “We were just standing on the sidewalk. We didn’t have a phone or a car, we didn’t have any money, we didn’t even have on shoes. I remember looking at Jake and saying, what do we do now?” After calling family, Spencer, who has a part-time job in the department, called Lance Kieth, professor of agricultural education, and asked him to pass on that she would not make it in to work and explained the situation. The message was quickly relayed to Dean Hawkins, professor and head of the department, that the students had lost everything in the fire.

“Here in Ag, our students, faculty and staff are a family, and family stands in the gap and helps each other when they have needs,” said John Pipkin, professor of animal science, “That’s what family does.” Within an hour, the department had set up a bank account, established temporary housing, and sent out an email to faculty, alumni and friends requesting monetary donations and furnishings.

“WT is still a small school at heart,” said Becker, a graduate student in plant, soil and environmental science. “I don’t know if we would have been treated the same at a big school.” Spencer and Becker credit WTAMU and the Department of Agricultural Sciences for their quick recovery.

“As a whole, our faculty goes above and beyond to help students in all aspects of their lives,” Kieth said. “The help was not done as an act of heroism or as a ‘look at what I am doing’ kind of service, but as a statement of true concern for the wellbeing of the students. Our faculty are genuine people who genuinely care and take care of people.” Other members of the community, campus and student body, as well as many WT alumni, assisted the department by donating clothes, provisions, furniture and money. By the end of the day, a house at the department’s Stanley Schaeffer Agriculture Learning Labortory was full of furniture and food for the graduate students.

“It’s support that we had no idea we had until this happened,” Spencer said. “We can’t even put into words how much we appreciate everything that has been done for us. We want to thank everyone who helped us from the bottoms of our hearts.”

A pair of spurs and a trophy buckle were the only items recovered after the fire.

Andrea Spencer and her dog, Dallie

“Jake’s and my parents were more than 1,000 miles away back in Illinois. But even that first morning, we never felt that we were without family. We couldn’t believe all of the immediate support and assistance we received from WT,” Spencer said. It was that level of care and commitment to students that Spencer, Becker and Lujan appreciate about their WTAMU “family.”

The aftermath of a fire that destroyed all of the personal belongings including the vehicles of two WTAMU graduate students on the first day of the 2011 fall semester.


Livestock Judging Team is Making History The 2012 Livestock Judging Team is right in the middle of their judging season and is off to a fascinating start. “This is an amazing start with a great group of kids,” said Marcus Arnold, a doctoral graduate student and the livestock judging team coach. “I really look forward to seeing their progress and success not only throughout the fall, but also what this experience does for their lives after they graduate.” The team began the year at the National Western Stock Show in Denver where they were 5th overall, finishing 6th in swine, 6th in sheep and goats, 10th in cattle and 7th in reasons. Individually, Jeff Long from Vernal, Utah, was 4th in sheep and 11th overall and Taylor Eurich from Keenesburg, Colo., was named 10th high individual in swine. At the Fort Worth contest, the team had another astonishing performance placing 5th overall, 1st in horses, 5th in sheep, 6th in cattle and 6th in swine. Individually, Long was 9th in sheep and 10th overall. Eurich was 5th in swine, and Karl Miller from Prophetstown, Ill., was the 5th high individual in horses. At the San Antonio Livestock contest, the team finished 4th overall and was 5th in reasons, 4th in cattle, 4th in sheep,

Members of the Equestrian team prepare to head to Nationals in N.C.

Equestrian Team Heads to Nationals The 2011-2012 Equestrian Team consists of 37 individuals from 10 states and was named high-point team for the region in western events, and reserve-high point team for the region in English events. Individually, the team had 29 regional championship qualifiers. Kristen Liesman from San Antonio was named Reserve High Point Rider for the region in western competition, and Amy Mitchem, from Vancouver, Wash., was named High Point Rider for the region in English competition. This was the sixth consecutive year that the western team has been named regional champions. At the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association semi-finals in Findlay, Ohio, the western team was named Reserve Champions, with no rider placing lower than 3rd. The performance qualifies the western team for the National Championships in Raleigh, N.C., in May. Six individual riders also qualified for the National Championship by placing in the top four of their division. Those riders are Liesman, Addie Davis from Vashon, Wash., Julia Roberts from Clovis, N.M., Paige Frevert from Glasford, Ill., Jessica Read from San Diego and Lindsey McNeill from Houston. The English team was named Reserve Champion in overall regional competition, and seven individuals also qualified for zone competitions, the next step before Nationals. At the zone competition in Marion, Ind., three riders qualified for the National Championships by placing in the top two in their class. Those riders are Kayla Reeves from Canyon, Sage Hanner from Guffey, Colo., and McNeill. and 4th in swine. Individually, Katie Seal from Los Lunas, N.M., was 10th in cattle and Eurich was 4th in swine. At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the team placed 9th in cattle, 8th in reasons, 8th in sheep and goats, 4th in swine and finished 7th overall. Individually, Long was 4th in swine.

The 2012 Livestock Judging Team is coached by Marcus Arnold. 5

This is one of the best starts the

WTAMU livestock judging team has had in recent years, finishing in the top five at three of four national contests. The team will continue its season in the fall competing at the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minn., State Fair of Texas in Dallas, American Royal in Kansas City and finally their national contest at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky.

Horse Judging Team Earns Bragging Rights

The Horse Judging Team experienced tremendous success this year in competition that was unparalleled by any other university, bringing the total of WT Horse Judging World or National Championships or Reserve Championships to 68.

The team started the year by placing 3rd out of 36 teams overall at the American Paint Horse Association Spring Sweepstakes in Alvarado. In addition, the team was 4th in Performance, 10th in Halter, and 11th in Reasons. The team earned a National Championship in winning the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, with a 1st in Performance and Reasons, and 2nd in Halter. Lauren Cook from Fishers, Ind., was 3rd Overall, 1st in Performance, and 3rd in Reasons. Shelbie Brigance from Amarillo took 4th Overall and in Performance, and 8th in Reasons. Keylee Sayler from Evansville, Wyo., placed 6th Overall with a 4th in Reasons, 5th in Halter and 9th in Performance. Addie Davis from Vashon, Wash., placed 7th in Performance and 7th Overall. The team also won the American Quarter Horse The 2011-2012 National Champion Horse Judging Team. Association World Championship in Oklahoma City. WTAMU took 1st Overall in both Performance and Reasons, and 8th in Halter to take the win. Sayler placed 5th Overall, 1st in Performance and 2nd in Reasons. Cook placed 4th in Performance and 8th in Reasons, Chelsie Milam from Burleson was 5th place in Halter, Kelsey Kenson from Prescott, Ariz., finished 6th in Performance, and Davis was 8th in Performance. The team finished the year as Reserve Champion Overall at the 2011 NRHA Futurity Collegiate Judging contest in Oklahoma City. This was the 13th consecutive year that WT has been Champion or Reserve Champion team at the NRHA contest. Individually Overall, Davis was 5th and Cook was 9th.

Agribusiness Quiz Bowl Team The Agribusiness Quiz Bowl team participated in Birmingham, Ala., at the 2011 Southern Agricultural Economics Association Meetings. Students that participated were Dennis Underwood from Dimmitt, Rana Gibson from Bard, N.M., Alicia Coventry from Amarillo, Brittany Weinheimer from Groom The 2011 Agribusiness Quiz Bowl Team. and Wade Malone from Amarillo. Underwood participated on the 2nd place team, “the Gauchos,” with students from the University of Tennessee at Martin and Virginia Tech. Gibson participated on the 3rd place team, “the Hornets,” with students from the University of Kentucky and Fort Valley State.

Stock Horse Team The Stock Horse team is a student led group under the direction of Amanda Ricketson and John Pipkin. The season started off in Abilene where the team placed 4th overall. The team also attended a show in Austin where they placed 3rd overall and a show in Stephenville show where they were 4th overall. Both shows brought the team many individual successes. The team ended their season by co-hosting and competing in the National Collegiate Stock Horse Finals in Amarillo.

Meat Animal Evaluation Team and Judging Team The Meats Judging Team competed at the Eastern National in Wyalusing, Pa. Brian Blackburn from Broadview, N.M., was 5th in beef grading, and Royce Kratz from San Antonio was 5th in beef judging. At the Cargill Meat Solutions contest in Plainview, Kratz took 2nd in placings. At the International contest in Dakota City, Neb., Blackburn was 6th overall. The team also competed at the National Western in Denver, Southwestern in Ft. Worth, Houston and the American Royal in Omaha, Neb. At the Meat Animal Evaluation Contest, the team was 4th in the meat division and 7th overall. Individually, Blackburn was 4th in the meat division.


Kieth will direct the LEAD WT program while continuing his departmental duties.

Kieth and Kevin Williams with agricultural education students.

Lance Kieth Named Faculty Adviser for LEAD WT Lance Kieth is the faculty director of an an exciting, innovative program designed to challenge students at WT to lead in preparation for the real world of business, community and public service called LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) WT.

“I am so proud of this program and the two incredible individuals selected to lead it.” LEAD WT, funded through a $188,021 grant from the Texas Pioneer Foundation, is designed to help students develop leadership potential through coursework, student service and real world application. The two-year program will start with a cohort of 25 students in the fall 2012 semester and 25 in the spring 2013 semester. Amber Black is coordinator of the new program. In addition to their regular course load, LEAD WT students will spend 7

approximately 10-15 hours per month meeting program requirements. Although WTAMU offers many opportunities for leadership, LEAD WT will blend a variety of components throughout the two-year program to expand student potential. The program includes four credit hours in leadership courses as well as eight credit hours of approved courses within the student’s major. Students also will complete 60 hours of leadership service and a campus or community project. Real world application requirements include an approved internship as well as participation in six approved events that include an orientation, etiquette dinner, networking event and graduation reception.

“Leadership has always and will continue to be a decisive factor in solving life’s problems. We want the LEAD WT scholars to be able to step forward and deal with life’s problems through effective leadership principles and skills,” Kieth said. “We want to prepare these students to become members of society that

others can depend on to help solve the current problems of the day.” “LEAD WT will definitely contribute to their college experience, but the true benefit is how well prepared these students will be to take on leadership roles in jobs after graduation,” Black said. “This program will set the stage for amazing positions in the real world; the opportunities are endless.” Students who complete the program will receive a leadership certificate, and it will be noted on their transcripts that they have completed a Certification in Leadership from WTAMU. “This is a unique opportunity for WT students to be a part of a wonderful collaboration between academic affairs and student affairs designed to make their leadership training more deliberate, more complete and more impacting when they begin their careers,” Don Albrecht, vice president for student affairs, said. “I am so proud of this program and the two incredible individuals selected to lead it.”

Lal Almas Named Fulbright Scholar College students in Azerbaijan are getting the opportunity to learn from one of the Texas Panhandle’s best. Lal Almas, professor of agricultural business and economics, has spent the semester in the Eurasian country as a Fulbright Scholar. The prestigious Fulbright Scholar program sends approximately 1,100 American scholars and professionals each year to countries around the world to lecture or conduct research. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the more than 100 countries that participate in the Fulbright program.

application process, and I look forward to the opportunities to discover new learning techniques there. It will be a totally new environment, and I will be able to learn from the sharing of ideas and information. It is something that will benefit both me and the University.”

“The Fulbright awarded to Dr. Almas is further proof of the caliber of faculty in agricultural sciences at WTAMU, and their competitiveness on the national level.”

He will discuss a range of topics including modeling and decision analysis, optimization of resources and project management. He also will introduce software that will benefit the country’s emerging economy while “The Department of Agricultural advising students and working with Sciences is successful due solely to faculty in curriculum development. the quality of our faculty and their “This is a great honor for me,” dedication to the undergraduate Almas said. “I received so much and graduate students whom they support and encouragement in the educate,” said Dean Hawkins.

Almas and his students visit historical site Maiden Tower in Azerbaijan.

“The Fulbright awarded to Dr. Almas is further proof of the caliber of faculty in agricultural sciences at WTAMU, and their competitiveness on the national level,” said Hawkins. “Dr. Almas is certainly deserving of this award, and it will benefit both his career and ultimately our students at WTAMU.” The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 through legislation introduced by Sen. J. William Fulbright. The program provides travel and project allowances and a maintenance stipend for its recipients and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills. Today, the program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide with an alumni list that boasts senators, writers, performers and other professionals who have benefited both professionally and personally from their experience as a Fulbright Scholar.

Almas and his students participate in Baku Foreign Exhange Seminar.


Agricultural scholarship recipients are proud to be Buffalos with Bob Robinson at the annual Scholarship Banquet.

Members of past and present WTAMU Horse Judging Teams gathered in support of the John and Kenda Pipkin Equine Endowment.

Ag Day Celebration Continues to Break Records The Department of Agricultural Sciences has had a tremendously successful 2011-2012 school year. Along with many academic and professional accomplishments and awards, enrollment reached a record 628 students enrolled. Two reasons standout for the astonishing growth in enrollment. The first is the tireless efforts of the faculty to recruit the best and brightest students. Another major factor for this growth is the funds provided by the Agricultural Development Association to make recruitment efforts possible.

ADA funds come from membership dues, which are $120 annually for an individual, and the Ag Reunion

volunteers and sponsors combine efforts to play a pivotal role in the success of the Ag Day Celebration. The 2011 Ag Reunion was the largest and most successful in its 11 year history. More than 300 alumni, faculty and friends enjoyed food and fellowship and participated in the live and silent auctions that raised a record $43,500.

The buffalo auctioned off at last year’s annual Ag Day Celebration now stands proudly in front of Old Main.

Without ADA support, departmental funds for recruitment would be insufficient. The faculty, staff and students would not have the resources necessary to recruit. Assisting the recruitment efforts of 9

the department is ADA’s number-one priority.

held annually during the Ag Day Celebration. The Ag Reunion is an “all hands on deck” event held each year during the Ag Day Celebration in early Sept. The ADA board of directors along with many community

Increased excitement and participation in the Ag Day Celebration has grown to where the live and silent auctions include more than 100 items donated by alumni, friends, faculty and students in the Department.

A highlight of last year’s auction was a commissioned buffalo statue donated to honor seven past faculty who kept the department going. Those facutly were Arden Collette, Gary Marble, Ted Montgomery, Ron Thomason,

Jim Reeves, executive diretor of the Texas 4-H Foundation works the Ag Reunion auction.

ADA President Trent Tyson (left) and junior agricultural education major Shelbie Belott (right).

Don Williams, Kenneth Wilson and Leonard Wilson. The buffalo was placed on the last remaining pedestal in front of Old Main. The ADA also presented Buffalo Awards at the Scholarship Banquet during the Ag Day Celebration. In 2011, Kelly Nelson from Canyon was recognized with the Buffalo Award for the many years he has supported the Ag Reunion and donated items for the live auction. The ADA also presented the WT Athletic Department with a Buffalo Award, recognizing the success of the many WT sports teams, as well as

their support of the department. The date for the 2012 Ag Day Celebration and Ag Reunion will be Saturday, Sept. 8, with the scholarship program starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Alumni Banquet Facility and the reunion fundraising event beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Nance Ranch. The Buffs will also take on Western State that night at Kimbrough Stadium at 6 p.m. Be sure to put Sept. 8 down now on your calendar and plan to attend. The ADA is an independent organization formed in the early 1970s comprised of WT alumni,


Board of Directors

Trent Tyson ’99, ’01 of Canyon President

Kody Bessent ’03 of Amarillo Dayna Britten ’99 of Canyon Cory Bruce ’97, ’07 of Canyon Tim Bynum ’05 of Amarillo Cody Chandler ’07 of Hereford Andy Cole ’71 of Amarillo Brandon Conrad ’99 of Amarillo David Cook ’69 of Canadian Melissa Corvin ’03 of Canyon Robert Devin ’71 of Canyon Eric Diaz ’11 of Amarillo Steve Donnell ’94 of Bushland Dean Hawkins of Canyon Scott Keeling of Hereford

T.J. Biggs ’01 of Canyon President Elect Gary Culp ’71 of Amarillo Vice President Allison Rickets ’99 of Canyon Information Coordinator Terry Wright ’74 of Amarillo Treasurer

Alumni Natalie Baker (left) and Lena Cottle (right) catch up with faculty member Amanda Ricketson (center). faculty and other friends of agriculture. The primary objective of ADA is to provide support to the department by raising funds for standout recruitment. A volunteer board of directors oversees the operations and activities. Membership is open to WTAMU graduates, former students, faculty, friends and businesses that are proud to be involved in the ongoing growth and development of this dynamic collegiate agriculture program. For more information about joining ADA, contact Tim Bynum at 806651-2069 or

Lance Latham ’00 of Canyon Ty Lawrence ’97 of Canyon Tori Lujan ’12 of Canyon David Lust ’08 of Amarillo Emilio Nino ’00 of Dimmitt Wes O’Brien ’92 of Amarillo J.D. Ragland ’90 of Canyon Bob Robinson ’70 of Canyon Dwayne Simons ’90 of Happy Jeff Taylor ’03 of Plainview Don Topliff of Amarillo Whitney White ’08, ’10 of Claude Monte Winders ’74 of Canyon 10

Horse Center Provides Opportunities for Students and Community The Horse Center at West Texas A&M University is often one of the first parts of campus many visitors and students see when heading to campus. Built in 1979, the WTAMU Horse Center is located on 80 acres just north of the campus and offers numerous research and teaching opportunities for students and faculty. The WTAMU Horse Center hosts many events throughout the year.

The facility is the primary training place for many departmental teams.


“Due to its location on the highway and its presence in the Canyon community, the Horse Center offers a first impression of West Texas A&M University for many visitors to the Canyon area,” said John Pipkin, director of the equine program and professor of animal science. The facilities feature modern classrooms and laboratories, a 200-feet-by-105-feet indoor arena, two lighted outdoor arenas, a round pen, a Hitchcock pen and 20 stalls used for boarding students’ horses. These facilities offer training experience for undergraduate and graduate students working in the horse industry and related agribusiness areas. The Horse Center is also used for practice and training for

many different University teams and classes. The facility offers students hands-on experience in the equine industry. Students have access to the University’s herd of 50 western and hunter horses. The Horse Center also offers employment opportunities for undergradate and graduate students. “The Horse Center is a critical facility as the training place for the Equestrian Team, Horse Judging Team and Stock Horse Team, as well as numerous animal science classes,” Pipkin said. “It’s crucial for teaching research and providing for the needs of the Equine Program, Department of Agricultural Sciences and the University.” The Horse Center also hosts many horse-related events including clinics, seminars, judging contests, and Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Western and Hunter shows. The Randall County Livestock Show is held at the facility, as well as weekly 4-H horse practices, FFA judging practices and community open horse shows.

Enrollment Continues to Rise Within the past five years, the Department of Agricultural Sciences has seen a phenomenal increase in enrollment growth. One of the factors contributing to the increase is the continual funding from the Agricultural Development Association. Since 2005, the ADA has given money to the department to be used toward recruiting and retaining students to WTAMU. “Members of the WT Ag Development Association and every member of its Board of Directors are passionate about WT Ag,” said Trent Tyson, current president of the ADA. “Alumni and friends of the Department of Agricultural Sciences are excited to see the growth and success of the department and the growth all over WT.”

“The College of Agriculture, Science, and Engineering is probably doing the best job among all academic colleges in [recruitment] efforts, and it shows.” ADA began making a conscience effort to raise money for recruiting in 2005. That year, the ADA board gave the department $2,900, and student enrollment totaled 450. In the

Department of Agricultural Sciences 11 year enrollment compared with Agricultural Development Association Recruitment funds. following years more support from ADA members and event support by alumni and friends has grown the donations to $43,500 in 2011. “As more alumni learn of the exciting things that are happening in the department, they get excited about returning to campus and increasing their support,” Tyson said. Tyson said much of the money raised is done at the Ag Reunion event in September. He said during the past 10 years, alumni and friend participation at that event has grown and made a big difference in recruitment funds for the department. “The first Ag Reunion was nothing more than a few alumni and several of the department’s faculty standing around the bed of a pickup exchanging white elephant gifts for a few dollars,” Tyson said.

The Ag Day Celebration has also seen growth. More than 100 items were donated for the silent and live auction which raised more than $43,500. Dan Garcia, vice president for enrollment management at WTAMU, said the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering leads the University in recruitment efforts. “The College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering is probably doing the best job among all academic colleges in [recruitment] efforts, and it shows.” The ADA knows the importance of agriculture and the importance of the WTAMU Department of Agricultural Sciences. “Members have one common goal: to see the WTAMU Department of Agricultural Sciences be successful and continue to grow,” Tyson said.


Meet Our New Additions John Richeson

John Richeson joined the Department of Agriculture Sciences and Feedlot Research Group this past fall. Richeson received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University in 2000. He spent two years working as the cattle superintendent for a cattle company in Colorado following his graduation. In 2004, Richeson received his master’s degree in ruminant nutrition at Texas Tech University. After receiving his master’s degree Richeson worked for the University of Arkansas Extension Program, where he provided leadership for the Arkansas Beef Improvement Program until 2008. Later, Richeson decided to pursue his doctorate in animal science at the University of Arkansas.

Richeson chose to join WTAMU because of the unique opportunities it offers to be able to collaborate on research projects with surrounding companies because of its location. One thing Richeson has noticed about the student body here at WT, is the large portion of our students come from a production agriculture background, unlike anywhere else he has been. Richeson’s research interests involve study of Bovine Respiratory Disease, where he is examining the relationship of management, nutrition, stress, as well as immunomodulation on the pathogenesis of the disease. He is also interested in looking into new technology to improve animal wellbeing.

Marty Rhoades


Marty Rhoades received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from West Texas State University in 1992. He later went on to pursue his master’s degree in 2001, in plant science and his doctorate in agriculture in 2009, receiving both degrees from West Texas A&M University.

Rhoades believes that the student body at WT cannot be compared to other universities. One of the things that stood out to Rhoades was the work ethic of students at WT.

Rhoades chose to stay at WTAMU because he said this is “home” for he and his family. Growing up in Pampa, attending WT was a natural choice for him. When he received the opportunity to join the department, it was an easy decision for Rhoades and his family.

Rhoades’ research interests involve gaseous emissions from applied manure and compost to forage crops. He works to develop the best management practiced for gaseous emissions. Growing up on a feed yard, he feels that the public needs to understand how to utilize this valueadded product.

“Whether in class, on the job or volunteering within the department, students work hard and have the right attitude,” Rhoades said.

Mallory Vestal

Mallory Vestal will join the faculty next fall as an assistant professor in agriculture business and economics. Vestal, originally from Tulia, will finish her doctorate this summer at Oklahoma State University in agricultural economics. She completed her master’s degree in agricultural economics in 2007, also at Oklahoma State University. Vestal received her bachelor’s degree in agribusiness with an equine business emphasis from West Texas A&M University in 2005 where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. While at WTAMU, Vestal participated on the Equestrian Team accomplishing individual and team success and also competed on the the Horse Judging Team winning multiple national championships. Her outstanding academic career coupled with her success on the Equestrian Team earned her a place in the WTAMU Hall of Champions in 2010.

Important Dates to Know

May 12 Graduation at First United Bank Center at 10 a.m. Aug. 27 First Class Day of Fall 2012 Semester Sept. 8 Annual Ag Day Celebration 9:30 a.m. Scholarship Banquet at the Alumni Banquet Facility 11:30 a.m. Ag Reunion at the Nance Ranch

After graduating with her master’s, Vestal started her professional career as a beef sales representative for Elanco Animal Health. After a year with Elanco, she returned to the Department of Agricultural Sciences as an instructor in agricultural business and economics in 2008 before pursuing her doctorate in 2009 at Oklahoma State University. Vestal chose to return to the department because of the quality of students that WTAMU attracts. “Students, especially students in agriculture at WT, seem to care more about their education and work harder here than at other universities,” Vestal said. “I am fortunate to be able to return back to the department in this new role and to be able to work with great faculty.” Vestal’s research interests are in production economics, specifically in the cattle and equine industries.

The class of 1962 will be celebrating its 50-year reunion at this year’s Ag Reunion. 14

WTAMU Box 60998 Canyon, TX 79016

ADA Corporate Sponsors

The Agricultural Development Association’s (ADA) corporate sponsors are a critical component of the ADA and its mission. The Department of Agricultural Sciences thanks the ADA and its corporate sponsors for their continued support. To become a corporate sponsor, please contact Tim Bynum at 806-651-2069 or

Special thanks to the following students and faculty who contributed to this newsletter: Rik Andersen, Marcus Arnold, Michelle Baily, Kim Bruce, Tim Bynum, Gary Culp, Whitley Gammill, Jaye Hawkins, Dean Hawkins, Kelsey Kenson, Madelyn Melchiors, Lacey Roberts, Tabatha Taylor, Don Topliff, Trent Tyson, Austin Voyles and the faculty in the Department of Agricultural Sciences. Designed and Edited by Andrea Spencer and Tanner Robertson

The Brand  
The Brand  

The Brand (formally the AgriBuff Connection) is designed to keep alumni, current students and future Buffaloes informed about the Department...