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2015 CASNR Access Tour showcases NE Oklahoma

More than 40 OSU faculty, staff and alumni from the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service participated in the May 14-15 Access Tour.

Oklahoma State University’s Big Orange Bus traveled through northeastern Oklahoma during this year’s Access Tour, highlighting the wide variety of agriculture in the region.

More than 40 OSU faculty, staff and alumni from the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service participated in the May 14-15 tour.

The two-day excursion is organized annually by the CASNR Alumni Board and sponsored by several businesses across the state.

“The Access Tour provides access to places that our faculty, staff and alumni might otherwise not have the opportunity to visit,” said Mechelle Hampton, CASNR alumnus and board member. “Being on the bus and learning about the work of our faculty is a real eye opener and having the chance to take our faculty to see parts of Oklahoma they’ve never visited makes for a win-win event.”

The tour of northeastern Oklahoma showcased a variety of agricultural endeavors including ranches, a pecan farm, paper mill, museums and more.

“The tour was interesting, well-paced and educational,” said Steve Damron, assistant dean of CASNR. “It was a great opportunity to get to know people and incorporate more interaction with alumni.”

The first stop was Buford Ranch to see their registered Angus, Hereford and commercial cattle. Located in Hominy, the ranch provides emphasis on high-quality meat and land management practices.

Next, the group arrived at Wild Country Meats of Hominy. With 25 years of experience, the Gabriel family and employees process 40-60 head of livestock a week and 1,000 deer in the fall.

The third stop was the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska to see the largest protected area of tallgrass in the world.

“After visiting Tallgrass Prairie Preserve I will always be more appreciative of the quality of earth [in Oklahoma],” said Ed Long, former Oklahoma state Senator. “We are responsible to be good stewards of [the land].”

The Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve in Bartlesville served as the next stop of the tour. Created in 1925 by Frank Philips, founder of Phillips Petroleum Company, the 3,700-acre working ranch serves as a place for visitors to view wild animals in a protected setting.

Day two of the tour began at the Frank Phillips Home in Bartlesville. The historical site was made public in 1973 by Elizabeth Irwin, granddaughter of Frank and Jane Phillips.   

The next stop was the Hughes Ranch of Bartlesville, the oldest continual pasture in the Bureau of Land Management’s long-term holding program for wild horses. Since 1989, these horses have been able to run on 13,000 acres.

“The evidence we saw of the stewardship methods they were using showed incredibly well-tended land,” Damron said. “We learned about their land-management philosophy including their three-year rotation plan to manage water sources, use of controlled burning, weed control and husbandry practices.”

The tour then arrived at Selman Farms Pecan Company in Skiatook. The farm grows pecans for wholesale purposes and also runs a cattle operation.

“The group asked very good questions and was very attentive,” said Chad Selman, Selman Farms owner. “We would love to have the group back during our winter harvest.”

The Kimberly Clark Corporation served as the fourth destination of the day. The group toured the plant, which produces Cottonelle, Scott and Viva paper products.

Next, the BOB traveled to Scissortail Farms in Tulsa. Specializing in growing leafy greens and herbs in its 26,000-square foot greenhouse space, the company produces vegetables using sustainable efforts. Using aeroponics, a growing method by which plants are grown in a tightly controlled environment without soil and with very little water required, the produce has more nutrients and a longer shelf life compared to traditional products.

The tour finished at Whispering Vines in Tulsa. The family-owned-and-operated vineyard began in 2002 and produces more than 13 award-winning wines.

The CASNR Alumni Board is already making plans for next year’s tour. In addition to the Access Tour, the organization oversees the recognition of the annual CASNR Early Career Award recipients, hosts the CASNR Gala, a reunion event for CASNR alumni, and hosts CASNR Roundup, a back-to-school event for CASNR students. To learn more, visit casnr.okstate.edu/alumni.

REPORTER: Sara Honegger

Melissa Mourer
Communications Coordinator

Agricultural Communications Services

144 Agriculture North

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 405-744-3737

Fax: 405-744-5739

Email: melissa.mourer@okstate.edu

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