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Pig Roast: CASNR presents ‘Outstanding Agriculturalist’ awards to 3 leaders

Pig Roast: CASNR presents ‘Outstanding Agriculturalist’ awards to 3 leaders

Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources will honor three area residents with Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Awards on Thursday (Nov. 10) during its annual Pig Roast at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall. The Pig Roast also features scholarship donors, recipients and intercollegiate judging teams.

The annual outstanding agriculturalist awards recognize individuals for contributions to various areas of Texas agriculture. This year’s recipients are Donnell Brown of Throckmorton for agricultural production, Jim Conkwright of Lubbock for public service, and Mike Engler of Amarillo for agribusiness.

Donnell Brown Agricultural Production. The Throckmorton resident owns and manages the R.A. Brown Ranch, a family business that’s been in operation since 1895. They raise registered Angus, Red Angus, SimAngus and Hotlander cattle. Hotlander is a four-breed composite developed on the ranch with the help of Texas Tech and Ronnie Green while Donnell was obtaining his degree. While at Texas Tech, Donnell served as the Texas FFA President and later National FFA President. Brown received his bachelor’s degree in animal business from Texas Tech (1993). He was previously named Throckmorton ‘Citizen of the Year’ and ‘Top Young Farmer & Rancher of Texas’ by the Texas Farm Bureau, along with receiving CASNR’s Horizon Award.

Jim Conkwright Public Service. The Lubbock resident is general manager of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1. He’s served on the district’s board of directors for 14 years. In addition, Conkwright is vice-chairman of the Llano Estacado Regional Water Planning Group, and director of the Texas Water Conservation Association. He is president of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Conservation Districts, and is a member of the Lubbock Water Advisory Commission, and the Groundwater Management Area 1 & 2 boards. He has served on the CASNR Dean’s Advisory Council, in addition to being Texas Hereford Breeders Association president. Conkwright received his bachelor’s degree in animal science with a business option from Texas Tech (1964).

Mike Engler Agribusiness. The Amarillo resident is CEO, President and Chairman of the Board for Amarillo’s Cactus Feeders. Prior to joining Cactus Feeders he was an assistant professor at the University of Texas’ Medical School in Houston, and later became a senior project manager of Biologicals for Langford and Lederle-Praxis Biologicals. Currently, Engler is serving on the Texas Tech International Center for Food Industry Excellence’s Advisory Board, and the executive committees for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Engler received his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his postgraduate training from Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biological Chemistry.

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.

Written by Norman Martin

CONTACT: Jane Piercy, Director of Development and External Relations, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806)742-2802 or

1107NM11 / PHOTOS: (top to bottom) Donnell Brown, Jim Conkwright and Mike Engler


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