The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service has been part of Damona Doye’s life since she was growing up, and now the Lawton native has been named associate vice president of the statewide organization.
OCES is one of Oklahoma State University’s two state agencies, both administered by the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Its state and federally mandated mission is to develop and disseminate research-based information to help Oklahomans solve issues and concerns of importance to them, their families and their communities; promote leadership; and enable sustainable and wise use of resources.
Doye’s appointment was officially approved by the Board of Regents for OSU and the A&M Colleges in January.
“I'm excited about the opportunity to contribute more broadly," said Doye, who joined the faculty of the OSU department of agricultural economics in 1986. She was in fact the department’s first fulltime female Extension specialist, concentrating on providing farm management assistance to producers in Oklahoma and the region. Now Doye is the first female head of OSU Cooperative Extension, which began in 1914.
Doye will provide administrative oversight to Extension educators and staff in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, in addition to area, district and state specialists. “One of the strengths of Extension is that we’ve always had a significant local presence, supported by specialists in their respective career fields, enabling us to work side-by-side as cooperating partners with residents and community and business leaders. We measure our successes by how we help others to succeed.”
Many Oklahomans, state communities and commodity groups have benefited from Extension programs that focus on increasing opportunities for agricultural enterprises; natural resources and environmental management; food, nutrition, health and safety education; and youth, family and community development.
Doye has hit the road running, and is already visiting OSU Cooperative Extension county offices in the Oklahoma Panhandle and western Oklahoma.
Doye stood out among the many good candidates for the job, said Thomas Coon, OSU vice president for agricultural programs who heads the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“We have a responsibility to serve the people of the state, and Dr. Doye is the embodiment of the land-grant mission to help people improve their quality of life; it’s her personal as well as professional mission,” he said.
Before Coon came to OSU in 2014, he tried to recruit Doye away on two separate occasions to provide leadership at another land-grant university.
“I never succeeded and so I decided to come to OSU so I could work with her here,” he said. “It was a good move.”
Doye is regarded throughout the nation as a leader in the agricultural economics profession. Last summer, she was named a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, the most prestigious honor awarded by the organization.
Other key leadership roles include being the U.S. vice president for the International Farm Management Association; past president of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association; past chair of the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics; and former director of the AAEA board.
In addition to her longtime duties as OSU Cooperative Extension farm management specialist, she is the holder of DASNR’s Rainbolt Chair in Agricultural Finance. Doye even stepped in as interim head of the department of agricultural economics while usual department head Mike Woods assumed the position of DASNR’s interim vice president, dean and director for a year.
“Damona is considered a pioneer in many ways as a woman in agriculture,” Woods said. “In addition to being our first fulltime female OSU Cooperative Extension agricultural economics state specialist, she was the first female member – and subsequent chair – of both the Southern Extension Farm Management Committee and the North Central Farm Management Extension Committee.”
Doye earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree – both in agricultural economics – from OSU in 1980 and 1981, respectively. She earned her doctoral degree in agricultural economics from Iowa State University in 1986, before returning to Cowboy nation by joining the OSU faculty.