Oklahoma State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumni Board recently honored Trent McKnight of Throckmorton, Texas, and Bambi Sidwell of Goltry, Oklahoma, as the 2018 Early Career Achievement Award winners at the 2018 CASNR Scholarships and Awards Banquet.
The award is selected by the CASNR Alumni Board of Directors to honor outstanding young alumni who have excelled early in their careers.
McKnight, rancher and businessman, graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He then received a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.
“Trent has always been considered a servant leader and you can see that early on in his professional career,” said Jeremy Bennett, CASNR Alumni Board president. “Whether it’s revitalizing his local community, mentoring hundreds of college students through his leadership forum, or providing agricultural aid internationally, Trent has been able to use his true talents to serve so many through his passion of agricultural and services to others.”
McKnight served as an agriculture adviser to the U.S. Military in Iraq, agricultural economist to the United Nations in West Africa. He also was an agriculture researcher for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture and chairman of the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Committee.
“I like to make things better,” McKnight said, “whether that is a herd of cattle, my hometown, or the agricultural economy of western Africa.”
McKnight is a past national president of the national FFA Organization and appointee of Gov. Rick Perry to the Brazos River Authority. In 2012, he ran for office in the Texas legislature.
In 2013, McKnight channeled his passion for agriculture, rural communities and international development by founding AgriCorps. This non-profit organization connects young, American agriculture professionals to capacity-building efforts for school-based agricultural education in developing countries.
“There is so much to learn, do experience, contribute and take,” McKnight said.
Sidwell graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness. She is currently the Vice President of Sidwell Insurance Agency and co-owner of Sidwell Farms, Inc., a second generation, diversified seed, beef and hay operation.
“Bambi has excelled in her professional life after OSU,” said Jeremy Bennett, CASNR Alumni Board president. “Not only has she risen to the top quickly through her sales and management skills in the corporate environment, but she has stayed true to her roots in agriculture by remaining involved in her family’s farming operation and by serving and advocating for her neighbors in rural Oklahoma.”
Before entering the insurance industry, Sidwell worked with Boeing in Financial Planning and Contracts. She also was one of ten selected for the Business Career Foundation Program, an accelerated management program in California. Sidwell also worked with Sun Life Financial and GE Financial in Southern California, where she was awarded as the 2016 Top Sales Representative.
“I am extremely grateful and humbled to be from Oklahoma and to be a part of agriculture,” Sidwell said.
CASNR believes in the value of hands-on education and the importance of having a well-rounded student experience. The award-winning faculty members are dedicated to developing students and are passionate about adding value to the total educational experience. With 16 majors, a variety of study options, plus more than 60 student organizations, the college is committed to expanding minds and inspiring purpose. Learn more at casnr.okstate.edu.