Goodwell, OK-Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma Panhandle State University have over 96 years of collaborative efforts together.  In July 1994, the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource (DASNR), Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) signed a memorandum of agreement creating the Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Extension Center (OPREC).  Due to changing of administration, this memorandum of agreement was renewed in 2018. The agreement helps to solidify our commitment of research to local and area producers as well as agriculture students enrolled at OPSU.   

              Cameron Murley, Sr. Station Superintendent, says “producers are dealing with the reality their water resources are becoming limited.  We are working together to help sustain them for generations to come.  We support and service not only Texas County, but the entire the High Plains region. We have people from New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas who have called us with questions or needing help.”

              The OPREC develops and conducts comprehensive programs to investigate agricultural problems of the state.  Many of the problems facing agriculture in this area is specific to the high plains.  Murley says “we also work closely with seed and chemical companies conducting research trials on their products.  We have been able to report the results from each trial back to the them.  This helps the companies to know which products work best in this area “.

Not only does OSU operate the OPREC in Goodwell, but within the last 3 years, they have launched the McCaull Research & Demonstration Farm (MRDF) near Eva. 

Dr. Sumit Sharma, Asst. Extension Specialist, Irrigation/Water Management, advises the OPREC has taken on new research projects to help benefit producers.  “The OPREC and MRDF are working on irrigation management strategies with different crops, including cotton, corn and wheat.  We are testing and installing new technology.  We currently have a study of greenhouse gas emission in collaboration with Kansas State University”.  In addition, Dr. Sharma says “one of our main goals is developing techniques and strategies to prolong the Ogallala Aquifer for domestic use and farming.  We need to save water, while maintaining the farm income”.  The research is distributed among surrounding states, such as Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The MRDF recently participated in the Testing Ag Performance Solution (TAPS) program.  OSU invites producers.  They are then assigned a plot, which is basically their own farm replication area.  Each plot is managed by OSU per the recommendations of each producer.  They tell us what seed to plant, when to water, how much to water, how much nutrients the plot gets.  At the end of the program, we look at the yield and efficiency related to water and nutrients.  The producer with the most profitable farm receives a monetary award. The idea behind the TAPS project is to learn and identify the best farm management practices to achieve the goals of improving sustainability and farm revenue. This project has given us the opportunity to integrate research and extension while working closely with local producers.

In November 2020, the OPREC will be launching a Master Irrigator Program.  This program allows producers to take classes on the best irrigation management practices.  In this course, the producers will learn about new irrigation scheduling tools, maintenance of irrigation equipment, economics of irrigation and agronomic practices to better manage their water resources.  The Master Irrigator program in Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma are working with NRCS to coordinate and create opportunities for eligible program graduates to access financial cost-share assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). 

For general information about OPREC or MRDF, please contact Cameron Murley at 580-651-5442 or cmurley@okstate.edu.  To learn more about enrolling in the Master Irrigator or TAPS programs, please contact Sumit Sharma at 580-349-5440 or sumi@okstate.edu.

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