Texas Tech University

2017 Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Awards

Outstanding Agriculturalists

Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources honored three standout leaders with the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award on Thursday (Nov. 9) during its 90th annual Pig Roast at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. The Pig Roast also celebrates scholarship donors, recipients and intercollegiate judging teams.

The annual outstanding agriculturalist awards recognize individuals for contributions to various areas of agriculture. This year's recipients are; Wayne Schilling for agribusiness; Tony Williams for public service; and Dee Vaughan for agricultural production.

  • Wayne Schilling, Agribusiness
    Born and raised near Hereford, Schilling moved to Slaton in 1979 to start an agricultural compost business. The Schilling family business composts cattle manure for agricultural use at feed yards from south of Lubbock to the Texas Panhandle. The main office is located in Slaton, with divisions in Bovina and Dalhart. His lawn and garden branch, Back to Nature, bags composted cotton burrs and ships them to independent nurseries and garden centers throughout Texas and surrounding states. Schilling and his family also farm cotton in the Lubbock area, and run a cow/calf operation. He was named the Lubbock County Conservation Farmer of the Year (2017); and is an active member of the Southwest Council of Agribusiness, United States Compost Council, Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, and Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Schilling is a past member on the Business Development Board for Peoples Bank. Schilling and his family also received the Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences Distinguished Service Award (2016).
  • Tony Williams, Public Service
    Born and raised in the West Texas area, Williams worked for Monsanto Agriculture Products following his graduation from Texas Tech. Since 1988, he has served as the executive vice president of the Texas Cotton Ginners' Association in Austin. While in this position he has been responsible for the financial operations, the TCGA Annual Convention & Trade Show, and worked with legislative and governmental agencies to provide the cotton ginner's point of view. Williams was instrumental in crafting several significant pieces of legislation, including HB 2095 that allowed the Texas Cotton Ginners' Trust to self-insure as a group of employers for workers compensation insurance, and HB 2093 that adopted increasing the weight of cotton module trucks. He was awarded the National Cotton Ginners' Association Distinguished Service Award (2009). He attended Texas Tech, receiving a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics (1984).
  • Dee Vaughan, Agricultural Production
    Born and raised near Plainview, Vaughan continues a family tradition on his farm near Dumas, where he and his wife Terri produce corn, cotton, sorghum seed, and wheat. Since 1989, he has been a proactive supporter of Texas and U.S. agriculture, currently serving as a director of the Corn Producers Association of Texas, Texas Corn Producers Board, and Southwest Council of Agribusiness. Vaughan serves on the advisory committees of the Texas Ag Forum at the Texas A&M Ag and Food Policy Center, and the Southern Risk Management Education Center at the University of Arkansas. He has worked extensively on policy and regulatory issues pertaining to agriculture in the areas of farm policy, energy, transportation, and trade. He served as a corn industry representative to the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, and to the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. He attended Texas Tech, studying agricultural economics. The outstanding agriculturalist awards, established in 1969, are named for Gerald Thomas, who served as dean of Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences from 1958 to 1970.

The outstanding agriculturalist awards, established in 1969, are named for Gerald W. Thomas, who served as dean of Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences from 1958 to 1970.