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Exploring Southwest Oklahoma

The journey through the year-long Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encounter membership continues as this year’s 12 OALE Class XIX members explored Southwest Oklahoma.

On October 25, 2021, Class XIX members began their journey with a tour of The Patch in Gracemont, Oklahoma. Producing various types of pumpkins, corn and gourds, the Newell Family provided students with a tour of the farm and discussed niche agriculture production and marketing.

A half-hour west, Class XIX members visited Nikki Snow of Horn Canna Farm where they got an up-close and first-hand look at canna production and harvest. A fourth-generation in business since 1928, students learned about the history and daily operations of Horn Canna Farm. They also got to walk-through canna fields and hear about the Snow’s side sunflower production operation.

“Visiting Horn Canna Farm was hands-down my favorite part of the Southwest Oklahoma trip,” said Class XIX member Cooper Rogers. “I am thankful OALE offers opportunities like this for students to connect with industry leaders and learn more about agriculture within our state.”

Later that afternoon, Class XIX members met Carson Vineyard and Charlcey Plummer of Altus, Oklahoma. Past members of OALE themselves, Vineyard and Plummer provided Class XIX members with information about their family-owned cotton farm and allowed students to walk through local cotton fields where they witnessed cotton harvesting in real-time.

Tom Buchanan, fellow Altus producer, spoke to students about cotton production methods, irrigation practices, and general water-use within the cotton industry and beyond. Additionally, Buchanan led Class XIX members through a tour of the local Altus cotton gin where they got to observe the many processes that occur between harvest and consumers’ hands.

“It was very interesting to see a new side of the agricultural industry I have not previously been exposed to,” said Class XIX member Zachary Tague. “Irrigation is not much of a worry where I come from, so it was neat to see how some regions have developed practices to optimize the water and nutrients needed to produce a profitable harvest for the farmers.”

Class XIX members rounded out a full day of learning and exploring with dinner at Cattlemens Bank with Mark Holder and family, and the Altus branch’s staff.

The next day, Class XIX members spent the duration of the day touring the Altus Airforce base with 2nd Lt. Cameron Silver. Class XIX members got to meet many leaders across the base and get an up-close look at several of their aircraft.

Class XIX members discussed the importance of quality leadership and servantship, regardless of industry or career choice, and how to develop oneself into being the best version of themselves.

“One of my favorite aspects of OALE is how we have the opportunity to connect with people in many different sectors,” said Class XIX member Macey Goretska. “I am so excited to continue experiencing agriculture in Oklahoma with the best young individuals Oklahoma State University has to offer!”

Stay tuned as Class XIX travels to Southeast Oklahoma November 17-19, 2021.