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Weekly Livestock Reporter’s Phil Stoll honored as OSU animal science graduate of distinction

STILLWATER, Okla. – Speak with Phil Stoll for any length of time and the stories come spilling out, insightful firsthand accounts detailing everything from changes in the animal agriculture industry to what it is like to work with some of the most prominent and respected cattle producers in the nation.
Weekly Livestock Reporter’s Phil Stoll honored as OSU animal science graduate of distinction

DASNR's Clint Rusk (left) presents Phil Stoll with his 2016 Animal Science Graduate of Distinction Award.

And Stoll would know, having served as first a field representative (1976-1994) and then as general manager (1994-2002) of the Weekly Livestock Reporter, which for more than a century has been providing agricultural-related news and market information while serving as a major source for purebred and commercial cattle marketing.

When Stoll joined the Ft. Worth based company, it was a regional livestock paper and a successful mom-and-pop ran business. Once Stoll came on board, his participation and leadership took it to the next level. Gross income increased by more than 200 percent and coverage, advertising and readership became national.

“In 2002, I inherited the publication from the founders, Ted and Rosemary Gouldy, and today I am the sole owner and general manager,” Stoll said. “We pride ourselves on being proactive, working closely with clients and organizations from inception through the actual event of a cattle-marketing experience.”

Stoll often spends weekends at some type of cattle auction, and has been ringside for some of the most historically prominent sales in the beef cattle business, having developed relationships with leaders in all aspects of the beef industry.

“I have had the privilege and responsibility of co-managing three female sales of 4,000-plus head each for the Chuck Drummond family, and have been ringside for every sale held at the historic King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, since 1976,” he said.

Stoll is seen as a go-to guy by those in the cattle industry, for tasks ranging from networking, matching buyers and sellers, budgeting, planning advertising campaigns and providing high-energy ring service. His is a career of constant and numerous successes which, at their core, have been instrumental in helping others in the animal agriculture industry to succeed.

And it was for Stoll’s significant lifetime achievements and benefits to the industry that he was honored recently by Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources as a 2016 Animal Science Graduate of Distinction.

“This award, presented annually since 1949, is our way of officially recognizing graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science at OSU and who have compiled outstanding records of achievement and service, particularly in the field of animal agriculture,” said Clint Rusk, head of the OSU department of animal science.

For Stoll himself, one of the more gratifying – and humbling – aspects of the award was “making the list.”

“To be selected, out of all the OSU animal science graduates who could be, and to be in the company of so many prominent industry leaders who have likewise been honored, is no small recognition,” he said. “Ken Holloway, Eddie Sims, Minnie Lou Bradley, to name a few off the top of my head. It is a true honor to be thought of as being in such an elite group.”

A 1974 OSU graduate, Stoll was active in Block and Bridle Club and a member of the renowned OSU Livestock Judging Team. When asked to name the faculty members who had the greatest influence on him, Stoll did not hesitate for a nanosecond: Robert Totusek and Don Wagner, with a shout-out to Joe Hughes.

“Dr. Tot and Dr. Wagner were not only extremely knowledgeable educators, they were great advisers who cared deeply about helping students get the most out of our collegiate experiences, giving freely of their time and showing not only a professional but a personal interest in us as individuals,” he said. “Dr. Hughes was only four or five years older than us. Small in stature but big in heart, Joe was like the older brother who was always there to pick you up, talk you through and help you stay on track.”

Of course, once Stoll got going he was quick to name others. The list expanded quickly, finishing with Stoll saying, “there were many great influences on me, which I have only come to appreciate more and more over the years.”

After graduating from OSU, Stoll went to work as a field representative with Charolais Banner, which was the official publication of the American International Charolais Association at the time, and the Western Livestock Journal. In 1976 he joined the Weekly Livestock Reporter.

A native of Snyder in southwestern Oklahoma, where he was active in 4-H and FFA while growing up, Stoll was a key participant in the inaugural sales held as part of the OSU Cowboy Classic sale and the Oklahoma Beef Incorporated Bull Sale.

“Phil Stoll’s ability as a ringman is exceptional,” said Gerald Horn, professor and graduate program coordinator for the department of animal science. “In 2013, he was inducted into the Marketeers Hall of Fame, a fraternity of ring professionals selected by their peers who work purebred cattle sales across the country. He also has worked ringside for some of the most prestigious and renowned western art sales across the Southwest, and auctioneered for two of the biggest western art dealer sales for 20 plus years.”

As chairman of the Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo Commercial Heifer Sale from 1990 to the present day, Stoll not only helps with the premier offerings of bred replacement females, he also oversees the sale’s scholarship program.

“Ten $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to graduating high school seniors and students currently pursuing a degree in college or trade schools who have been very involved in agriculture growing up, a number of whom have gone on to be students at OSU,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to get me to talking about the many opportunities at my alma mater.”

In addition to his duties with the Weekly Livestock Reporter, Stoll has operated and managed Bull Central in Springtown, Texas, where he has re-merchandised 100 to 150 bulls annually from several breeds since 1987.

Other business interests include Stoll being the owner of Highway Guardrail Sale Company, a business that sells used highway guardrails to ranches and feedlots for corrals.

In his more than 40 years of having firsthand interactions with so many aspects of the livestock industry, what does Stoll think represents the biggest change in the ways things are done today as compared to years past?

“From the merchandising side, the Internet and how it has led to online sales, giving people the ability to watch and place bids from their home or office,” he said. “Online connectivity has had as great an influence on the livestock industry as it has on modern life in general.”

It is an old cliché that one must change with the times to be successful, and Stoll said there are many examples of the livestock industry doing exactly that.

“People in general are taking a greater interest in where and how their food is produced,” Stoll said. “We are producing a better product today that has more consistency to it because that is what the industry demands and consumers want. Fortunately, cattle producers have more science-based information than ever to draw upon, from animal well-being and nutrition to good genetics and health that helps producers make the best possible management decisions for their specific operations.”

As an example, Stoll said expected progeny differences have had an especially great effect on the make-up of the nation’s beef herds.

“Our cattle producers have done an outstanding job using EPD’s to track the more (economically viable) animals in terms of marbling, carcass quality, getting a calf on the ground and the like,” he said. “Breeders as a whole are making the necessary genetic changes in their herds to produce an end-product that will grade better and yield better.”

Stoll added that ranchers as a group tend to buy retail but sell wholesale, and ranching is anything but a nine-to-five job.

“It’s a lifestyle, often challenging but generally fulfilling to those involved, and one that affects many people – consumers; related agribusinesses; local, state, regional and national economies,” Stoll said. “Can we call it a calling? I think we can. I know for a fact that some of the best people I have ever known are in the livestock industry.”

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REPORTER/MEDIA CONTACT:
Donald Stotts
DASNR News and Media Relations
Agricultural Communications Services
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Phone: 405-744-4079
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Email: donald.stotts@okstate.edu     

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