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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

OSU faculty and friends tour NW Oklahoma

STILLWATER, Okla. – The Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources alumni and faculty set out with Guymon, Oklahoma, as their destination for the annual Ag Access Tour.

The tour gives CASNR alumni and faculty a chance to visit agribusinesses across the state, allowing them to tour various locations and get to know the Oklahoma agricultural industry. The City of Guymon Convention and Tourism board funded a grant to CASNR to assist with travel expenses.

Departing Stillwater mid-May, the 50 participants on the Big Orange Bus made their first stop in Enid. AdvancePierre Foods provided a facility tour and participants heard how their workforce is integrated into the Enid community.

They were welcomed for lunch at the Central National Bank Center where the Enid Regional Development Alliance hosted talks by representatives of Koch and the Kaw Lake pipeline project.

“We love hosting the tour in Enid,” said Brent Kisling, past president of the Ag Alumni Board. “The purpose of the tour is to provide access for OSU faculty and staff to the technology and practices implemented across the state in the areas of agriculture and rural economic development.

“The other purpose is to provide access for local folks to the leadership at OSU and we are pleased to help this interaction occur in our area of the state,” he said.

Brad Raven, Beaver County commissioner, hosted the group during their visit to the Knowles Community Center. While in Beaver County, rancher Bernie Smith told the group of the enormous impact of the March wildfires and discussed the rebuilding process during a tour of property he ranches.

“I am most excited about the rare opportunity touring Beaver County provided for the Ag Access Tour,” said Jeremy Bennett, president of the CASNR Alumni Board. “Most of the places we visit during the tour highlight certain products that are beneficial to the ag industry, but this visit gave us a firsthand understanding of the hardships faced by farmers and ranchers.”

Once in Guymon, attendees toured Seaboard Foods where they learned about Seaboard’s integrated food system of pork production.

Chris Hitch, president and CEO of Hitch Enterprises, gave the group a firsthand look at the operations of the family owned and privately held company. The tour of Hitch Enterprises included a discussion on custom farming operations and visits to the feed yard and feed mill.

The group also was welcomed by Draper Farms where they toured the headquarters and saw the late Jimmie Draper’s collections and visited with other CASNR alumni in the area.

Cameron Murley, superintendent of the Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Extension Center, hosted a visit to the center in Goodwell. The Ag Access Tour’s next stop was Enel Green Power North America wind farm. There, the group toured the inside of the base of a wind turbine and learned about transmission lines.

Oklahoma Panhandle State University President Tim Faltyn welcomed the group to Goodwell. Faltyn highlighted OPSU’s programs and explained the university’s place as part of Oklahoma’s overall higher education opportunities.

En route back to Stillwater, the Ag Access Tour visited Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma where they learned about agricultural lending from John Groendyke, CEO, and his team during lunch.

“This year’s tour gave us a great reminder that farmers and ranchers face the unimaginable, but are very resilient, family and community oriented, and truly have a passion for the industry for which they serve and provide,” Bennett said.

Click here to see Access Tour photos.

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