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Stenholm meets with Dean's Council


Former Congressman Charles Walter "Charlie" Stenholm visited Tarleton State University's campus on May 4. The purpose of the visit was to meet with the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences' Dean's Development Council, which includes industry professionals as well as representatives from COAHS.

The council was formed to help transition COAHS into the future as well as to focus on changing public opinion on agriculture and discover ways to increase the college's diversity.

The morning portion of the meetings was designed to update the council on the most recent happenings affecting COAHS. This included possible name changes to departments as well as new scholarships, donations and programs.

One of the biggest discussion areas focused on the Southwest Regional Dairy Center's status. Construction is anticipated to begin within the next 30 to 60 days, with completion expected between January and May 2010.

Thom Lambert from Landmark Structures Partnership also presented the waste digestion technologies that will be used at the dairy to produce energy, compost and usable water from agricultural wastes. The company's prototype for the equipment that Tarleton will use produces a gas that is 99 percent pure, whereas natural gas is only 95 percent pure.

The afternoon's session featured Stenholm, who spoke to the council about the possible implications the economic stimulus and other federal funding for which Tarleton could be eligible.

Stenholm felt that the dairy and the waste-recovery system used would be a great asset to the university as well as be eligible for stimulus dollars.

"The stimulus is designed to go to spade-ready projects," he said. "The dairy is one project that would apply. Agriculture must start looking at what we can do better. We don't have the luxury of waste in agriculture. We must spend efficiently and not duplicate technology."

Stenholm also mentioned Tarleton's Center for Agribusiness Excellence, which has saved the government more than $500 million in fraudulent crop insurance claims. He mentioned that there is the potential that the formulas CAE uses to calculate against fraudulent claims could be used in combating fraud in food stamps.

If so, according to Stenholm, this could save 1 percent in food stamps each. While that percentage may sound small, the savings would add up to more than $570 million each year.

Stenholm graduated from Tarleton in 1959. He later served in the U.S House of Representatives for 13 terms, from 1979-2005. Since then, he has been a very visible advocate for agriculture and is one of many individuals invited to be a member of the Dean's Development Council.

Members are still being invited to participate on the council. Many, but not all, are Tarleton alumni. Other members on the council include the following:

--Harry Bradberry: Bradberry's Best in Dublin, Texas;

--Matt Brockman: Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo;

--Si Cook: Texas Farm Bureau;

--John Cowan: Texas Association of Dairymen;

--July Danley: Stephenville Chamber of Commerce;

--Ricky Fain: Quail Ridge Ranch in Glen Rose, Texas;

--Margaret Hale: Texas AgriLife Extension (retired);

--Ed Hiler: Former Vice Chancellor for Agriculture, Texas A&M Agriculture Program;

--Marcus Hill: CEO Ag Workers Mutual Auto Insurance;

--Joe Huddleston: Ag Texas Farm Credit;

--Ann Lowrie: Cleburne Independent School District (ISD);

--John "Chip" Merrill: Texas Christian University's Ranch Management Program (retired);

--Gary Rosenbusch: Glen Rose ISD;

--Joe Schuster: Texas A&M University Range Management (retired);

--Darren Turley: Texas Association of Dairymen.

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