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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources



To best address critical issues in the 21st century, it is important to identify critical issues that will arise from the influence of the external drivers affecting Oklahoma agriculture and quality of life issues across the state. To address the most pressing issues, specific goals have been identified in DASNR’s teaching, research and Extension programs that will help meet the needs of key constituencies across the state.

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Drivers of Change

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Provide high quality educational programs that will attract, retain, and graduate both undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds and levels of exposure to agricultural and natural resource settings.

Programs and course offerings will be tailored to prepare all students (from traditional, rural students to nontraditional, urban students) for successful, fulfilling careers in agricultural sciences and natural resources.

Develop and integrate broad subject areas of water, energy, and efficient and sustainable food production systems into classroom instruction and experimental learning within CASNR undergraduate curriculum.

CASNR course offerings will elevate and highlight the importance and impact of topics such as water, energy, and efficient and sustainable food production systems on the future of Oklahoma agriculture and natural resources.

Build exceptional faculty teaching expertise through continued education and development opportunities.

Enhance faculty teaching effectiveness, increase student advising and mentoring skills, and promote personal and professional growth through formal and informal educational and development opportunities.

Increase opportunities for student leadership training, experience, and research and service activities through sustained excellence of faculty advisement and mentorship.

Outstanding faculty advisers, combined with the coordinators and staff of the Student Success Center, will build on highly successful programs and continue to explore new opportunities for student leadership training and development.

Expand distance education programs and course offerings to complement and enhance on-campus programming and to reach new student populations.

Increase the CASNR portfolio of distance education programs and course offerings to enhance the undergraduate and graduate curriculum and to reach nontraditional students worldwide.

Develop and promote international educational experiences for faculty and students.

Build on the very successful travel and study abroad programs currently offered, with the goal of making an international learning experience obtainable for all undergraduate students. Develop interactive and reciprocal educational programs with leading international universities to foster faculty and student cross-cultural learning experiences.

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Develop systems that add value to and increase efficiency, safety and sustainability of animal and plant production systems.

Research efforts will seek to: 1) increase nutritive value, improve food safety, and reduce risk associated with climate variability and increased competition for water; 2) develop systems capable of maintaining economically sustainable levels of production, and identify economically and environmentally sustainable methods of control for pests and invasive species that threaten Oklahoma’s agriculture, environment, economy and population to include pests affecting agricultural production (animal and plant), turf, ornamentals, human health, food safety, construction and natural resources (e.g. forests, lakes, streams, rangeland, wildlife); and 3) develop new products that are derived from agricultural products grown in Oklahoma.

Develop renewable sources of energy.

Researchers will develop knowledge and technology and integrate into systems that can provide new potential sources of income for Oklahoma. Research efforts will seek to identify agricultural production systems and best management practices to help conserve energy (renewable or nonrenewable) and reduce the cost of production.

Evaluate existing and new marketing and economic development systems and public policies.

Research programs will be developed to evaluate marketing systems and government policies that affect the lives of Oklahoma’s agricultural producers and consumers. Researchers will provide recommendations to producers and government officials to aid in their decision making process to help ensure marketing and policy systems are economically sustainable.

Develop best management practices to help conserve Oklahoma’s vast natural resources.

Oklahoma’s land, air and water resources and wildlife (i.e. forests, wild animal and plant populations, rangeland, soils, lakes and streams) provide benefits for all Oklahomans. Research will be conducted to design and develop management methods to use natural resources in a sustainable, economically and environmentally sound manner.

Develop effective management practices and efficient systems that sustain and conserve water resources.

Oklahoma’s water resources provide benefits for all Oklahomans. Research will be conducted to develop the best management practices to sustain water resources and to use water in the most efficient, effective, environmentally sound and equitable manner for all citizens and segments of the economy and in support of our other natural resources.

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Provide educational opportunities to help improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans.

Achieving this goal will require expanding the diversity of the audiences we serve and the delivery of educational and service programs that improve the vitality and sustainability of Oklahoma’s families, businesses, and rural and urban communities. Through these programs, OCES will address identified issues and needs such as those related to health, family resiliency, understanding of food and fiber production, personal finances, nutrition, food safety and security, housing, economic development, recreation, land and resource use, human capital, and youth competencies in science, life skills and critical thinking.

Educate and inform crop and livestock producers and landowners of appropriate new technologies, changing production methods and economic conditions that impact their businesses.

Examples include changes resulting from higher energy costs and the potential use of forages for energy production. Both will lead to changes in cropping systems and livestock feed sources. The drivers identified indicate there will be increased competition for water that will call for less irrigation and/or more efficiency in plant water use (drought-resistant plants, etc.). Other factors include climate variability, rising input costs, evolving markets, food safety issues, and changing government policies and regulations.

Increase natural resource conservation and environmental educational programming.

Chief among these educational programs will be programs on best management practices for the conservation of energy and water resources. Other conservation education efforts include (but are not limited to) soil and wildlife conservation, management of pests and invasive species, and environmental protection. These efforts will include programming for many audiences in the general population, as well as agricultural producers.

Develop and conduct enhanced risk management educational programs.

Agricultural and natural resource managers have always faced substantial risks from weather and changing markets. But recent events (drought, record-level commodity and input prices) and a number of leading drivers identified as influencing Oklahoma’s agriculture (climate variability, energy, market variability, water, pests and invasive species, and government policies and regulations), indicate higher levels of risk in the future. These programs should help managers design organization, production, marketing and management systems that improve sustainability in the face of increased risk levels.

Make a positive difference in the lives of more Oklahoma 4-H members with emphasis on  4-H programs to attract more minority and urban youth.

The goal of 4-H is to provide youth with life skills that contribute to them being better citizens and more resilient individuals. National research has shown the advantages of 4-H participation include higher educational accomplishment and higher motivation for future education. In addition, youth in 4-H are more civically active and make more community and civic contributions than youth in other out-of-school activities. These accomplishments and impacts are because of the positive youth development provided by state Extension specialists and the supportive families, caring volunteers and dedicated county educators who work with youth.

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  • Develop databases and decision tools to assist producers in responding to changes in the 2012   Farm Bill and other government policies, rules and regulations. Assist policymakers with rapid response to analyze various policy options.
  • Grow our applied research and Extension outreach program assisting producers and lenders in managing market, financial, production, human and legal risk, and analyze strategies to deal with both output price variability and input market volatility. Expose undergraduate and graduate students to real-world market issues and agricultural finance challenges.
  • Assist rural leaders and decision makers in assessing alternative financing and service delivery methods that will offer rural residents the highest possible quality of life. This should include assessment of alternative sources for jobs and income in rural areas, as well as innovative approaches to governance, taxing options and budgeting. Emerging demands for natural resources, including water, also will impact rural quality of life (and economics) and research will
    be needed.
  • Conduct research to determine public preferences and reasons for consumer choices on emerging topics such as organic foods, natural foods, local foods, animal or community friendly foods, and food health regulations. Understanding and measuring where the public stands on these “food-policy” issues will be important for those of us in agricultural sciences.


  • Create new initiatives to improve awareness and appreciation of agriculture and natural resources.
  • Increase the supply of highly qualified school-based agricultural education teachers/FFA advisers.
  • Enhance the ability of professionals to effectively educate, communicate and conduct research about societal intersections with agriculture and natural resources.
  • Develop global competency in domestic and international people pertaining to social aspects of agriculture and natural resources.


  • Strengthen the economic and environmental sustainability of livestock production systems.
  • Enhance the teaching and research capacity of the department in the area of animal protein production, quality and safety.
  • Initiate a new Extension educational program relative to use of current/new genomic selection techniques/tools in the beef cattle industry.
  • Initiate a new priority program (animal behavior and well-being).


Goals for biochemistry and molecular biology will be developed
upon the arrival of the newly appointed department head.


  • Sustainability and quality management of limited available water resources under more variable climate conditions.
  • Develop and use bioproducts from invasive and other logical species for energy and other beneficial uses for rural economic development.
  • Improve traceability of all biobased materials for a more secure food production and processing industry.
  • Develop and implement new biobased and nano-scale sensor systems for more targeted and efficient treatments.


  • Identify biologically based solutions in IPM to address societal problems in health, energy, food and the environment. Strengthen our capabilities concerning pesticide use, government regulation, pest management, crop protection/rotation and pest resistance.
  • Develop new or strengthen existing teams to enhance human animal health and food and water quality (STEM, bioforensics, attribution, detection/diagnosis). Reduce inputs and ensure a safe food and water supply.
  • Serve as regional leader in identifying, surveying and diagnosing invasive, endangered and existing species. Examine impact of climate change on pest/beneficial distribution and forecasting to refine existing thresholds.
  • Identify, evaluate and address issues brought by small farm proliferation (grapes, pecan, garden farming, etc.), and the influence of urbanization and a global economy on overall market decisions (e.g., China/India with pecan, peanut - NAFTA, etc.) and youth education.


  • Develop new/superior crops tailored to Oklahoma growers through traditional breeding and new molecular methods with value-added characteristics.
  • Develop new extraction technology and state industry for deprivation of value-added products from production of existing and new crops, new product markets, shelf-life extension, neutraceuticals, etc.
  • Develop food safety systems and evaluate protocols and curriculum for edible horticulture crops that address producer compliance with new federal- and state-mandated food safety programs.
  • Develop mechanism for improvement of Oklahoma communities using sound design and horticultural principles for environmental/economic enhancement via creation of OSU Community Design Outreach Center for teaching, research and Extension.
  • Develop the integrated environmental research and education site for environmental research, programming and curriculum that addresses emerging environmental needs such as low-impact development, storm water management, water capture, recycling, reuse, etc.


  • Global change and climate uncertainty requires innovative management and teaching solutions.
  • Global change and climate uncertainty requires innovative management and teaching solutions.
  • Invasive species will continue to present problems in the reservoirs and rivers, and on lands of Oklahoma.
  • Water quantity and quality from forests and rangelands will be vitally important for ecological flows, growth and recreation.


  • Develop new crop cultivars that increase production potential; improve drought, heat and acid tolerance, and nutrient use efficiency of food, feed, fiber, fuel and turf production systems through genetic improvement and plant breeding.
  • Enhance capacities in weed and invasive species control and management in croplands and rangelands.
  • Optimize management practices for realizing yield potential through advanced crop production, while simultaneously maintaining soil quality and minimizing environmental impact.
  • Increase the efficiency of agricultural water use by providing information and methodology about improved efficiency irrigation, dryland water management, and drought avoidance and amelioration strategies.

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  • Initiate and maintain research efforts to increase understanding of plant responses to extreme temperatures and drought.
  • Promote conservation of water resources through development and use of drought-tolerant plants.
  • Development of genetic and management strategies toward efficient use of plants for energy production.
  • Provide research and education opportunities in southern Oklahoma.
  • Develop the IAB facility to be a fully functioning research, education and outreach resource for OSU in southern Oklahoma.


  • Provide expertise and research support to federal and state agencies and other entities in agricultural biosecurity, forensic plant pathology and produce safety.
  • Develop and optimize sampling, detection and characterization methods for plant pathogens of high consequence. These technologies will enhance our nation’s capabilities in protecting and defending our agricultural resources.
  • Provide educational programs that prepare young scientists to meet national staffing needs in emerging areas of homeland security and create opportunities for “pipelining” them into these fields through interactive experiences such as internships, visits, community events and seminars.
  • Target diverse communities and stakeholders including law enforcement, regulatory officials, security agencies, crop producers, plant disease diagnosticians, Cooperative Extension agents and researchers.

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  • Maintain an active feedstock development program providing improved perennial grass varieties.
  • Develop suitable feedstock production systems using and/or enhancing existing biomass resources, dedicated crops and processing waste streams.
  • Develop energy efficient and cost effective biomass logistics and supply systems.
  • Enhance existing, while exploring and developing new, bioconversion technologies addressing biofuels, bioenergy and bioproducts.
  • Determine sustainability of establishing biorefineries through systems and economic analyses, energy balances and integrated models to quantify the environmental, economic and social impacts.


  • Strengthen the resilience and preparedness of agriculture and water resources for extreme climate variability including intense and extended drought.
  • Construct complete water budgets for regional basins to optimize water for agriculture, other uses and values – to minimize inefficiencies - and to inform citizens on how to reduce inefficiencies.
  • Generate research that establishes best management practices for agricultural and urban landscape irrigation.
  • Develop Extension programs that create and deliver online decision support tools and training programs that enable managers to use those tools.


  • Educate and train the Oklahoma food and agribusiness industries in food safety, best practice, new product and processing technologies, and contemporary and emerging economic development business and marketing strategies.
  • Develop and conduct applied research for healthy food options, new food processing technologies, safe food practices, enhanced quality products, and economical and sustainable food processing for the Oklahoma food industry.
  • Pursue programs that will train and educate undergraduate and graduate students in contemporary food industry practices, food code regulatory policies and procedures, and new food processing technologies for entry into the food industry.
  • Pursue efforts toward the safe food network alliance with state agencies, commissions, trade groups, tribal groups, commodity organizations, food delivery organizations, agricultural producers and food processors through the Oklahoma Food Safety Task Force, and support the blending of this network with federal and other state agencies to produce, process, package, inventory, ship and market safe quality food.

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Drivers of Change

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Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078