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1998 Master Agronomist

Joel Hicks

Joel Hick began his farming operation in 1962 in the Red River Valley in southern Love County. Joel and his wife Sandy, operate 950 acres near Leon, Oklahoma that utilizes the latest agronomic techniques to produce peanuts, corn and small grains. To add sustainability and diversity, they produce alternative crops such as commercial melons and also operate a rye seed production and cleaning business located on the farm.

Mr. Hicks routinely soil tests, plants recommended crop varieties and uses conservation practices such as residue management, crop rotation and grazing management. Joel's production records include the following: peanut, ten year average yield - 4100 lbs.; commercial melon production three year average - 14 tons: com, three year average yield - 135 bushels. In 1987, he purchased the first Lenier iirrigation system in the State of Oklahoma, which he continues to utilize. Joel utilizes a drip irrigation system for his commercial melon operation, which is a "showpiece" for other area producers.

Mr. Hicks plants small grains strips between melon rows that serve as wind breaks on highly erodible soils without government cost share assistance. Joel has an active seed production and cleaning operation tlnt cleans ten thousand bushels annually for sales to other farmers and  ranchers. In addition, he operates and manages a 175-acre commercial pecan operation that helps maintain a diversified farm. In addition he manages a 300-head stocker calf operation, and a cow-calf operation.

Joel is a strong supporter of the OSU Cooperative Extension Service and regularly attends agriculture education meetings, field tours, and other activities supported by OSU. He has  provided facilities and assistance f,or field days, meetings, tours, and test plots. Mr. Hicks is a leader in southern Oklahoma for agriculture production! His agriculture production is only overshadowed by his own tremendous character as an individual. He serves as a county PAC member and strives to make the Extension effort grow and reach more people.

He has contributed valuable time and service to numerous agricultural organizations and boards. He is a Board Member of the Love-Marshall-Carter County Farm Service Agency, Love County Farm Bureau, Peanut Advisory Committee, Southern Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association Board Member, Texoma Crop Association Board of Directors and Oklahoma Peanut Growers Association.

Community activities include Honorary Member of Turner FFA and member of the Jimtown Baptist Church.



Jess Lam

Jess Lam has been farming in the Washita river bottom for over 50 years. Born on a farm, he worked with his father and took over the operation after graduating from high school. The Lam operation has always been a very diversified operation. In the past, crops have included  broomcorn, cotton, milo, and even guar. Today the crop rotation is built around alfalfa, followed by corn, soybeans, and wheat before going back in to alfalfa. The soil is tested every year and fertilizer and lime are applied according to OSU recommendations. Jess became interested in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program 20 years ago, now all his alfalfa and soybean fields are scouted every week, and pests and diseases are treated only when needed.

Quality seed has always been important to Jess. He has raised registered and certified seed for over 30 years. His production of wheat and soybean seed led to his involvement in the OCIA. He has served on the OCLA board of directors and as president. Currently, he chairs the soybean committee. The Lam Farms currently produces the Hutcheson foundation soybeans for OSU.

Jess has a long history of participating in OSU research demonstration. Lam Farms has had OSU alfalfa variety, seeding rate, fertility, and herbicide test plots. He also hosts the annual Garvin  County alfalfa meeting and regular spring tours. OSU also regularly had soybean variety tests on Jess' farm.

Jess has made a career innovations always searching for new varieties in every crop, trying new herbicides and different seeding rates. Much of his information is gleaned from a close association with the OSU extension service. Jess annually attends Soybean Field Days as far away as Bixby and Haskell.

Jess has served on the Garvin County PPAC, attending Southwest District advisory meetings. He has served on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Alfalfa Hay and Seed Association. He  served several terms on the Oklahoma Soybean Association board of directors before becoming a member of the Soybean Commission. Jess was elected Chair of the Commission which makes the decisions on spending checkoff dollars for research and promotion.

Recently, Jess has focused his energy on conservation issues. He was appointed director of the Garvin Conservation District Board in 1991. He has served as chair of the board for the past four years, and for the past year has served as their Area III Director.

Jess is a very active member of the Pauls Valley First United Methodist Church. He has served as chair of the Trustees and Pastor Parish committees, and is presently chair of the Administrative Council. Jess has taught and is past president of the Crusaders Sunday School Class.