Champions of Agriculture Selected by OSUMon, 28 Sep 2015 11:55:57 CDT
The word champion is synonymous with someone going above and beyond the call of duty to succeed, often on someone else's behalf or in support of a cause.
Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources recently selected the 2015 DASNR Champions, all of whom are worthy of the title.
The purpose of the awards program is to recognize and honor those who are not graduates of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources but who bring distinction to DASNR and have demonstrated a continuing interest and commitment in agricultural sciences and natural resources.
This year's DASNR Champions are Linda Cline, Rita Sparks and John Williams.
"Linda, Rita and John have been great supporters of our programs, each in ways that leveragetheir experience and resources to the benefit of DASNR," said Tom Coon, DASNR vice president, dean and director. "It is an honor to be able to recognize their contributions and to show our appreciation for their support to our joint missions of research, teaching and Extension.
Cline and her late husband Charlie moved to Cushing, Oklahoma, in 1967, and in 1985 purchased acreage on which they planned to retire. Just a year later, the two purchased 17 horses and established the Char-Lin Ranch, which today is a renowned producer of registered quarter horses and Angus cattle.
Cline recently contributed funding for the Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center at OSU. The new facility will include a teaching barn with stalls for foaling mares, an indoor arena, classrooms, feed and tack rooms, and a washrack and treatment area.
Sparks, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, and her late husband, Willard, built Sparks Companies Inc., which provides risk management tools to agribusiness and farmers. The worldwide company is a leading agricultural research and consulting business, focusing on grains, cotton and livestock.
The Sparks have invested in a number of DASNR endeavors, such as establishing scholarships for agriculture students, endowing a chair in agricultural economics and serving as donors and fundraisers for the OSU Willard Sparks Beef Research Center. The goals of the center are to improve production efficiency in cattle, promote beef quality and have a positive economic effect on all farmers and ranchers.
Williams, a resident of Edmond, Oklahoma, launched Chef's Requested Foods in 1979 in Oklahoma City, supplying meat-focused food service clients. Today, he employs nearly 200 Oklahomans, selling more than a million pounds of value-added meat/food products each year.
Since 2006, Williams has been on the Industry Advisory Committee of DASNR's Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. He chaired the sub-committee onFood Safety that was responsible for the development of the proposed Food Safety Option in the Food Science Curriculum.
The 2015 DASNR Champions will be recognized during the inaugural DASNR Honors night, Oct. 16 at the Wes Watkins Center in Stillwater. The ceremony also will celebrate the 2015 CASNR Distinguished Alumni: Minnie Lou Bradley, James Kennamer and Robert Westerman.
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