WTACI presents scholarships and awards

The West Texas Agriculture Chemical Institute (WTACI) presented six scholarships and six industry awards during the organization’s 63rd annual conference in early September.

WTACI president Jane Devers said the scholarship program is part of the Institute’s charge to support “educational and research programs promoting the safe and efficient use of agricultural chemicals in West Texas through student scholarships.”  The industry awards recognize “individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the agriculture industry of West Texas,” Dever added.

The 2015 scholarship winners include:

Ryan Gregory earned the James R. Supak Memorial Scholarship.

Gregory is currently working toward a master’s degree in plant and soil science at Texas Tech University.

He grew up around farming in the Texas Southern Plains and Southeastern Colorado and is a Texas Certified Crop Advisor. His career objectives are to build a personal crop production operation, develop a reputable career as a crop agronomist and launch an agricultural service business.        

Other scholarships winners include Curtis Schaefer, a PhD candidate at Texas Tech University in crop science. He grew up on a corn and soybean farm outside of Adel, Iowa.

Schaefer plans to “obtain a challenging position in commercial agriculture research.”

Hardy Parsons, Paris, Texas, is working toward a master’s degree in crop science at Texas Tech. He grew up on a peanut, hay and cattle farm and plans to pursue a career in “any industry related to agriculture.”

Hunter Parrott is working on his bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech, studying interdisciplinary agriculture. He grew up in a West Texas agriculture community and plans to attend graduate school and become an AgriScience teacher and “integrate plant science into the classroom.”

Angela E. Orr, San Diego, Calif., is a senior in bio-environmental science at Texas Tech. She plans on attending graduate school and pursuing a career in plant pathology.

Paige Carpenter, Abilene, Texas, is an agriculture and environmental science student at Abilene Christian University with a minor in business administration. Her goals are to “pursue a career in environmental science, become a beneficial member of my community, and be a good steward of the land.”

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Industry Awards

WTACI honored two Commercial Award winners, Jerry Reeves and Don Jones.

Reeves started his career with BASF in 1983 as a field biologist in Seguin, Texas. He worked in development of PIX plant growth regulator, served as a technical product manager from 1989-1993 at Research Triangle Park, N.C.  He has served as a regional sales manager for Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado and Wyoming and more recently as business representative in Cotton Center, Texas.

Jones began his agriculture career working for his dad at the 4 Corners Farm Store west of Lubbock. The store relocated to Acuff in 1960.

Jones graduated from Texas Tech in 1967 with a degree in agriculture economics and also earned an MBA.

He continued to work with his father and purchased the store from his mother after his father’s death.

He sold the business to Jimmy Sanders, Inc. in November, 2013, but continued working until retiring in March of 2015.

An Institutional Award was presented to Kent Wood, USDA-ARS Cropping Systems Research Lab farm manager. Wood works alongside ARS scientists developing novel germplasm, improving management techniques, and improving harvesting technologies.

Special Award

WTACI presented a special award to Shawn Wade, director of policy analysis and research, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., and Jackie Smith, professor and Extension economist, Texas AgriLife, in recognition of their efforts in explaining farm policy and crop insurance to some 3,100 people through more than 100 farm bill outreach meetings. Smith is a respected specialist in farm management and production economics. Wade is considered “the farm policy and crop insurance expert” in West Texas.

Environmental award

Mark Arnold, Texas AgriLife cotton breeding program, accepted the environmental award for his work in “contributing to knowledge on boll weevil ecology, as coordinator for the cotton germplasm screening program and for developing thrips screening methodology.” Arnold also co-authored competitive a federal grant for developing thrips-resistant cultivars.

Innovator award

Norma Trolinder owner and president of SouthPlains Biotechnologies Inc., BioTex, Lubbock, and owner of GenesPlus, Quanah, Texas, was recognized for her work with transgenic cotton. Dever said Trolinder’s work provided the “basis for the introduction and sustainability of transgenic cotton in commercial agriculture today.”

Dever also noted other accomplishments. “Trolinder is a mother of five children, grandmother of twelve children, and a great-grandmother of twenty-three children.” She is owner of Ole Town Cotton Gin & RV Park.

“Norma is a Quanah Historical Preservation Committee member, an advocate for the under privileged and homeless, a cattle woman and owner/operator of Rocking T Farms. She is a painter and a founding member of the Pease River Cowboy Church.

“Norma is well known for her generosity and local philanthropy,” Dever said.

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