Ag dean loves new home at OSU

By Edwin Lim, Contributing Writer

Oklahoma State University – Published May 2, 1997

The dean and director of Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has a three-fold job.

Sam Curl, who came to OSU in January after Charles Browning retired last semester, heads all three parts of the division — the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Oklahoma Experiment Station and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

“I am proud to be part of the OSU faculty,” Curl said.

Sam Curl

“Agriculture is undergoing rapid changes as a result of vast technological advancements and worldwide changes in the way food and fiber products are marketed.

“We have one of the most outstanding program in the U.S.”

The newly added Food Processing Center is a part of those advances, Curl said.

“The state provided money for new faculty and staff positions providing leadership for developing new and improved agriculture, food and drug products from Oklahoma,” he said.

One of the goals of the agricultural division is to add value to the abundance of raw materials in Oklahoma.

For example, Curl said wheat is one of the biggest commodities in Oklahoma. But most of the processing of wheat to bread is done in other states, which reap the profit.

He said the division is trying to keep the production process in Oklahoma.

As dean of the college, Curl oversees 10 departments ranging from animal science to plant pathology.

Curl also said he believes in the university’s traditional land-grant role of providing research-based information to the public through the Cooperative Extension Service.

“The division will continue its long-standing commitment to improve the lives of both rural and urban areas,” Curl said.

Extension service comes from across the university and has 77 branches, one in each county, and employs 1,200 people in offices across the state through outreach programs.

Various departments provide research on which the programs are based.

According to the division’s page, cooperative extension represents a federal, state and county partnership serving people’s needs.

Each office has access to information ranging from home-gardening, to nutrition for infants and the elderly, to raising cattle on wheat pasture, to increasing tourism in Oklahoma.

The third component of the agricultural division is the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station.

This research arm of the division includes laboratories, greenhouses and plot land at the main Stillwater campus, the homepage stated. To cover Oklahoma’s diverse agricultural conditions, 17 research stations are distributed across the state.

The stations are funded by state and federal money as well as grants, contracts, cooperative agreements and product sales.

Curl, a native of Tolar, Texas, has received two major awards for agriculture — the Texas 4-H Alumni Award in 1993 and the Texas Future Farmers of America State Farmer Award.

Both agricultural organizations for youth are involved in building a new generation of leaders and instilling in them the strong values which they will need to face challenges of the future, he said.

Curl received a doctorate in animal physiology from Texas A&M University in 1963. He spent a total of 30 years at Texas Tech, including 17 years as dean of agriculture and three years as associate vice president for academic affairs.

He has been involved in fund-raising campaigns, the creation of research partnerships, economic development activities and the implementation of innovative and academic and student leadership programs.

Curl is married to Helen Curl. They have five children.