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Agricultural News

As Football Season Nears Dean Tom Coon Kicks-Off School Year with List of New Projects to Tackle

Thu, 23 Aug 2018 11:28:51 CDT

As Football Season Nears Dean Tom Coon Kicks-Off School Year with List of New Projects to Tackle Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays recently had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Thomas Coon, vice president, dean and director of the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, about what has been happening recently within DASNR since the start of the new school year. Among the many things, Dr. Coon mentioned three in particular that have absorbed much of his time lately, including student enrollment, addressing infrastructure issues and filling vacancies within the Division. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.

With classes starting up and students returning to campus, Coon says the most exciting thing right now is just getting this semester started.

“I think about the farmer who puts the seed in the ground and in about eight to ten days starts to see the green show up,” he remarked. “That’s where we are right now, and it really is fun to see the students return. Our numbers look like we’re holding pretty steady with where we’ve been the last few years and we’ve got an excellent group of students coming in from Oklahoma as well as from outside the state. So, we’re off to a good start.”

One issue that continues to be dealt with is filling vacancies within DASNR, most recently the position of Extension Small Grains Specialist. Dr. Dave Marburger, who previously held the position, recently departed from the university to pursue other opportunities in order to be closer to family. This position plays a very important role in the Oklahoma’s ag industry, consulting frequently with wheat producers across the state. However, budget constraints have forced Dr. Coon and the university’s administration to be very intentional with how they go about the hiring process.

“We hated to see Dr. Marburger go. We wish him well, but we’re still moving cautiously on all our positions because we’ve lost a lot of money. So, we have to be very strategic about it,” Coon said. “We’re going to release a few positions here in the next few weeks, so we’ll try to get started on those as soon as we can and make sure we’re making the right decisions for the future.”

While, funds may be tight, the one thing that is not in short supply are infrastructure issues in need of attention.

“Whether it’s a big project or a little project, we’ve got plenty of infrastructure projects to go around. Right now, we’ve probably got five projects ranging from things relatively small like replacing our animal physiology building to something really grand like replacing Agricultural Hall,” he said. “But, we’ve had a lot of support from the University, tremendous support from benefactors… So, we’ve got plans coming out our ears. But, we’re excited about it and it really shows we’re going somewhere. I feel really lucky to be here at a time when we’re making those kind of investments.”



Hear DASNR's Tom Coon and Ron Hays discuss some of the new projects he'll be tackling this year.
right-click to download mp3


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