Stiegler, Jim 2008 PMA

Dr. James H. Stiegler grew up on a dairy farm in Hondo, Texas and started helping his father with custom farming when he was 12 years old. He also spent a lot of time with his grandparents who had come from Germany. Even at a young age he had decided he did not want a desk job but to work outside.

James Stiegler, 2008 Professional Master Agronomist, Dept of Plant and Soil SciencesDr. James H. Stiegler grew up on a dairy farm in Hondo, Texas and started helping his father with custom farming when he was 12 years old. He also spent a lot of time with his grandparents who had come from Germany. Even at a young age he had decided he did not want a desk job but to work outside. His mom said, "Jim was destined to be a dirt doctor, he was always outside making mud pies or digging in the dirt." Dr. Stiegler attended St.John's Elementary school and Hondo High School where he played football, graduating in 1960. After graduation he attended Texas A & I University where he received his B.S. degree in Agronomy in 1964. Never having left the state of Texas, Dr. Stiegler decided to continue his education at Oklahoma State University where he earned his M.S. degree in Agronomy and met his wife, Connie, on a blind date. Dr. Stiegler and Connie were married on June 17, 1967.


They spent their honeymoon moving to Blacksburg, Virginia where he attend Virginia Polytechnic Institute and received his Ph.D. degree in Soil Science. During summers, he worked as a field-mapping specialist from 1967 to 1970. Dr. Stiegler did all the cooking for his roommates on the condition that they would clean up the mess.


Upon completion of his Ph.D. in 1970 he had a job offer from Kansas State University to become an Assistant Professor and Cooperative Extension Land Utilization Specialist. During his time there he became involved in the National Land Judging competitions. During their time at Kansas State University the Stiegler family added a daughter Stephanie. In 1973 Dr. Stiegler accepted a position at Oklahoma State University where he was the Cooperative Extension Soil Specialist and soon after their son Chris was born. In 1985, Dr. Stiegler received an achievement award for guiding a coalition of researchers, Extension Specialists, commodity groups and producers to develop a highly effective minimum tillage conservation program. This award put Dr. Stiegler in national competition for the USDA Superior Service Award. In 1988, Dr. Stiegler added another title to his name when he became the Agronomy Extension Leader. Beginning the 1980's he was a major influence on wheat farmers in Oklahoma helping to introduce new conservation tillage technology on a field scale basis that has resulted in better farming techniques across the state.


Dr. Stiegler's expertise in cropping systems, residue management, and conservation tillage has made him a popular speaker at producer meetings, field days, workshops, and conferences throughout Oklahoma and the Southern Great Plains. He also has administered the educational components of a number of government programs including the 319 Water Quality Program, Conservation Reserve Program, and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. Thousands of 4-H and FFA youth from across the nation, as well as other countries are familiar with Stiegler's leadership of the annual   National Land Judging Contest in Oklahoma City of which he has been the coordinator since 1973.


Many accomplishments and honors have marked his 34 years of dedicated service at OSU. Among the many state and national honors, Dr. Stiegler was named a Fellow in the Soil and Water Conservation Society in 1991. He has received several awards and commendations for his education programs and publications and videos, including a USDA commendation for his work on programs associated with the 1990 Farm Bill - an honor received while on sabbatical leave in Washington D.C. He was also named Leader of the Year in Service to Oklahoma Agriculture.


Dr. Stiegler has been actively involved in international agriculture and has served as chairman of the natural resources committee of the Mid-American International Agricultural Consortium - a group of five land grant universities whose job it is to establish teachings, research, and extension program linkages with other nations. After serving as Interim Department Head for the second time in February of 2001, Dr. Stiegler became the official Department Head in January of 2002 holding this position until his retirement in 2007 after 34 years of service to OSU and 36 years of service in extension work. During his term as Department Head, he traveled to Israel, China, Mexico, and Brazil to promote Oklahoma State University's College of Agriculture as well as to recruit students.