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OSU’s Randy Raper named new assistant director of statewide Experiment Station system

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Oklahoma State University’s Randy Raper is embracing the challenge of taking on multiple roles vital to the long-term success and sustainability of Oklahoma’s agricultural industries, environmental stewardship efforts and community development.

Raper was officially approved as assistant director of the statewide Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges during the board’s June 19 meeting, with a July 1 start date.

“As the official research arm of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Experiment Station typically accounts for more than a third of all research undertaken by OSU on an annual basis,” said Thomas Coon, DASNR vice president, dean and director.

OAES research expenditures total more than $50 million annually and focus on agriculture, natural resources, rural economic development and social issues of importance to Oklahoma and beyond. Its research activities directly or indirectly affect the entire state.

“For the previous 18 months, Dr. Raper served as OAES interim assistant director in addition to performing the duties of senior director of our Field and Research Service Unit,” Coon said. “His excellent performance in handling multiples roles and his unique combination of experience is allowing us to consolidate what had been two administrative positions into one, without a loss of productivity or decrease in service to our stakeholders.”

Raper will work closely with Coon and Keith Owens, DASNR associate vice president whose primary responsibilities are to provide leadership for and oversight of OAES. More than 100 Ph.D.-level faculty members are funded at least partially by OAES.

Through the new consolidated position, Raper will continue to be responsible for the staffing and operations of 18 outlying FRSU stations on more than 14,000 acres distributed not only across OSU’s Stillwater campus but throughout Oklahoma.

“I’m excited to live and work in a place that recognizes the importance of agriculture and our natural resources,” he said. “This new position will enable me to work closely with our DASNR faculty who conduct the high-quality research OSU is known for, while continuing to work on behalf of our facilities throughout the state to improve their infrastructure and ability to carry out needed research objectives.”

Raper joined the DASNR faculty in January of 2012, coming to OSU from his previous position with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. From July 2009 to December 2011, Raper served as an agricultural engineer and research leader at the USDA Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Arkansas, where he was responsible for the $4.9 million program focusing on production systems targeting farm profitability and sustainability. Raper was also the co-coordinator of the USDA-ARS Southeastern Regional Biomass Feedstock Research Center.

He previously served as an agricultural engineer (1987-2002) and lead scientist (2002-2009) at the USDA National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, Alabama, and as an agricultural engineer with the USDA-ARS in Ames, Iowa, from 1983-1987.

Raper is a registered professional engineer with the State of Alabama. As a tenured OSU faculty member, his academic appointment is with DASNR’s department of biosystems and agricultural engineering.

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