2008 Master Agronomist
Matt Gard is a 4th generation farmer in Western Major County. He was reared on the family farm and attended Oklahoma State University studying agronomy, and animal science. Matt began farming full-time in 1984, and his farming operation includes 3000 acres of wheat, corn, cotton, soybean and canola. In addition to his own farm, he has a custom farming operation that includes planting another 3500 acres. He also obtained his Certified Crop Advisor certification and owns and operated Cheyenne Valley Ag Applicators.
Matt is one of the most progressive producers in Major County. He was, for example, one of the first to grow Canola in Major County and, along with Monsanto and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension, hosted a Canola field day that approximately 150 people attended. Matt also worked with the Major and Woods County Extension services to plan and host a GPS seminar in which participants were able to attend the seminar, a trade show, and hands-on demonstrations of the technology. Matt has assisted with test plots, on alfalfa, compaction studies, variety trials, and chemical trials. These are just a few examples of how Matt is a believer in the mission of Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and serves as a key player in helping conduct educational programs in Major County.
In addition to his work with Cooperative Extension, Matt has served on the Major County Conservation board for nearly 17 years and is currently the Area 1 Oklahoma Conservation Commissioner for the State of Oklahoma. He is an alumnus of Class 12 of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership and is currently serving as President of Plains Oilseed Products. He is instrumental in bringing new opportunities to the producers of Oklahoma and the faculty and staff of the OSU Plant and Soil Sciences Department is proud to name him as the 2008 recipient of the Master Agronomist Award.
Jim received a BS in General Entomology in 1961 and an MS in Medical Entomology in 1968 from OSU.
Since 1990, Jim has operated a beef cow/calf ranch utilizing educational information he has received by participating in Extension programs and by referring to OSU fact sheets, soil test results and research publications.
By utilizing this advanced education and his own life time experiences, Jim has been successful in establishing a bermuda and fescue rotational grazing and hay production system that has allowed him to maintain one cow/calf pair per two acres without the addition of purchased feed. Jim accomplishes this through the use of proper soil fertilization; maintaining a balanced forage system of warm and cool season forages, grazing management, and efficient record keeping.
He tests his hay each fall for nutrient content and feeds each cutting according to the animals needs utilizing the O.S.U. Cowculator software program. These are all fine accomplishments in and of themselves, but Jim, however, goes the extra mile by being more than willing to share his innovations and experiences with other producers.
He has testified at many Extension meetings and has willingly offered his property as a tour location or a research and demonstration site.
Using OSU forage budgeting information Jim developed a computer program to make calculating stocking rates and fertility inputs easier. He then volunteered to sit down with other ranch managers to work out forage budgets for their operations.
Through his participation in the Haskell Research Station field days, Jim became extremely impressed with the production potential of Midland 99 hybrid Bermuda grass that was developed by O.S.U. After experimenting with his own small patch, he became passionate about the potential benefit this new hybrid would have on his operation.
Jim pushed forward and was the first ranch manager in Pittsburg County to sprig Midland 99 on a large portion of his ranch. He now shares his experiences with its production potential by promoting it at Extension meetings and by making his sprigs available to other ranch managers at a reasonable cost through the local Soil Conservation district.
Jim is a regular attendee of the field demonstration tours at the Haskell Research Station. He is also a great supporter of Extension programming and attended a 1 year forage production class delivered by the Pittsburg County Extension office. He continues to attend and participate in county Extension programs and has obtained a Master Cattleman certification.
Jim is always one of the first to volunteer to fill in for the local Extension personnel in times of need and regularly sits in on their radio talk shows to provide ranch management insights and information. Jim utilizes the education he has obtained from Extension to promote Oklahoma Agriculture and the county based Extension system and is a real ambassador of Extension education systems.