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TCEC Board President Joe Mayer selected for prestigious honor

Joe Mayer, president of the TCEC Board of Trustees, will be presented with a Governor's Excellence in Agriculture Award for Outstanding Achievement. See the full news release with more details from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry below.

Excellence in Agriculture Awards to be Presented at State Capitol on April 1

The Governor’s Excellence in Agriculture Awards will be presented during a special ceremony hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry on April 1at 2 p.m. in Senate Assembly Room 535 in the state capitol. The public is invited to attend.

Joe Mayer will be honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award in Agriculture. He and his family are actively involved in all aspects of a prosperous grain and cattle business in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Mayer is at the forefront in the beef industry utilizing and adapting the latest technologies to improve his own operation and benefit beef consumers. He has received numerous awards including the Certified Angus Beef Commercial Producer of the Year. Locally, Mayer has benefited his home area by serving on the Texas County Election Board, the Texas County Excise and Equalization Board, Texas County Farm Bureau Board and the TriCounty Electric Cooperative Board.

Leland Walker of Red Oak will receive the Outstanding Public Service in Agriculture Award for more than 39 years of teaching and mentoring. More than 70 current agriculture instructors in the state were taught under his leadership. Walker has been a high school agriculture instructor, a college agriculture professor and agriculture division chair for Eastern Oklahoma State College. Walker retired from public education in 2014, but retirement has not slowed his passion for agriculture. He still coaches the soils judging team at Eastern Oklahoma State College, runs hundreds of cattle in Latimer County and spends the rest of his time volunteering to help young people.

Two awards will be presented posthumously to former agricultural leaders and will be received by their family members. The Environmental Stewardship Award will honor Mike Thralls. Mike served 17 years as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. Prior to that, he was assistant commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, & Forestry. Under his leadership, Oklahoma's first state-funded cost-share program helped hundreds of landowners install conservation practices to improve water quality and reduce soil erosion. His leadership in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program created the largest program to provide nonpoint source water quality protection in the state's history. The National Watershed Coalition awarded Thralls its Meritorious Service Award for rehabilitation of an entire watershed project.

The Legacy in Agriculture Award will be presented posthumously to Dr. Bob Totusek who promoted agriculture for over 65 years. He obtained his Ph.D. at Purdue University before joining the Animal Husbandry faculty at Oklahoma A&M College in 1952 where he served 38 years. He served as Animal Science Department Head from 1976 until retiring in 1990. During his time at OSU, “Dr. Tot” taught more than 5,000 students in 14 different courses and authored or co-authored more than 200 publications. Under his leadership, the undergraduate enrollment increased by more than 60 percent, graduate student enrollment increased by 50 percent, funding for research nearly doubled, and undergraduate scholarship endowments increased by 20 fold. Though he achieved many honors and accomplishments, nothing was more rewarding to him than the relationships he developed with students, farmers, and ranchers across the state.




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