**For Immediate Release**
Cooperation Provides Synergy
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 07-21-05 by Laura Dahl
Goodwell, OK - Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Oklahoma State University share a long history of cooperation in the field of agriculture. The Oklahoma Panhandle Research and Extension Center (OPREC), a part of OSU, has been providing expertise and research data to the area's ag industry for well over 60 years. Part of that collaboration includes a split appointment. The director of OPREC also serves OPSU as a part-time faculty member, and that association continues today. OPSU President Dave Bryant said, "I am pleased to carry on this historic cooperation between two fine institutions. OPSU welcomes the opportunity to provide OSU with the necessary acreage and support in order to develop research that benefits local producers and OPSU students."
Dr. Bob Whitson, OSU's recently named Vice President of Agriculture, visited OPSU on Wednesday, July 20th. During a meeting with OPSU administration, Whitson expressed an interest in exploring ideas for more OSU-OPSU cooperative ventures, perhaps through distance learning. He stated that cooperation is an ideal way for universities to stretch resources. The son of a local family involved in agriculture, Whitson was raised in Spearman, Texas, where they raised dryland wheat as well as cattle that were bought and sold at the auction in Texhoma, Oklahoma.
Dr. Whitson also toured OPSU, the OPSU farm and OPREC. Accompanying Whitson was Dr. Curtis Bensch, the recently named director of OPREC. Bensch fills the split appointment between OSU and OPSU, and in addition to his administrative, research, and extension duties for OSU, he also teaches three agronomy classes during the year.
Bensch, born and raised in Beaver County near Slapout, also grew up in agriculture. He received two bachelor's degrees from OPSU, one in agronomy and one in ag business. He intended to return to the family to work, but was encouraged to continue his education. He completed his master's in agronomy at OSU, and went to Kansas State University in Manhattan for his Ph.D. His focus is weed science and the use of herbicide.
Dr. Bensch offers agronomy students the opportunity to participate in hands-on research at OPREC, and he also uses his test plots to teach students. The research center employs OPSU student workers, combining income with practical experience. These additional student benefits complement overall education. Dr. Bensch's position is a model for future teaching/research positions involving OPSU and OSU.
Dr. Whitson plans an extended visit to the area in September, and will meet with Texas County ag producers to share his vision for the future of agriculture in the southern High Plains. OSU and OPSU continue the spirit of cooperation and administrators from both universities anticipate enhancing and strengthening the existing alliance.