Skip to main content
Architectural planning and programming continues on the new teaching, Extension and research facility for OSU Agriculture, which is set to open between fall 2022 and winter 2023.

BancFirst and Oklahoma Farm Credit Associations join the New Frontiers campaign

Thursday, September 3, 2020

A handful of Oklahoma financial institutions have joined the effort to replace the aging Agricultural Hall with significant commitments to the New Frontiers campaign.

The $50 million fundraising initiative will help create a modern teaching, Extension and research facility for OSU Agriculture. The $100 million project was announced in January alongside a lead gift from alumni Kayleen and Larry Ferguson. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has been renamed the Ferguson College of Agriculture in recognition of their historic gift, which was split evenly between an endowment for the college and the New Frontiers campaign.

Executives from BancFirst attended the Jan. 15 launch of the New Frontiers campaign.
Executives from BancFirst attended the Jan. 15 launch of the New Frontiers campaign.

The campaign has raised about $33 million in private support, including donations from early contributors BancFirst and Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma.

“Seeing leaders such as the Farm Credit Associations who serve Oklahoma and a strong community-centered bank like BancFirst step up to support this project helps to send the message that the future depends on continued excellence in recruiting students and faculty to our college,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coon, OSU’s vice president for agricultural programs and dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture.

The campaign’s focus on feeding the world and investing in Oklahoma State University fit well with BancFirst’s loyalty to Oklahoma and the communities it serves, said Pat Zimmerman, BancFirst president and a 1983 agricultural economics and computer science graduate.

“We want to help communities grow and prosper,” he said. “This is a commitment to the community, Oklahoma State and the Ferguson College of Agriculture. This is an investment into the roots of education.”

The new facility will directly benefit farmers and ranchers across the state who rely on research and Extension conducted through OSU Agriculture to improve their day-to-day operations.

“We feel this is a wise investment for rural Oklahoma and our producers,” said Kyle Hohman, a 1984 agricultural economics graduate and CEO of Farm Credit of Enid, one of five affiliates that comprise Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma. “One of the things our board considered with this gift is how it will impact agriculture overall in our state. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

The five affiliates — AgPreference, American AgCredit, Farm Credit of Enid, Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma and Oklahoma AgCredit — committed a combined total of $500,000 to New Frontiers.

Executives from Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma and BancFirst attended the Jan. 15 launch of the New Frontiers campaign.
Executives from Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma attended the Jan. 15 launch of the New Frontiers campaign.

In addition to OSU Agriculture's research and Extension efforts statewide, the Ferguson College of Agriculture also generates a knowledgeable workforce, said AgCredit CEO Patrick Zeka.

“Farm Credit is an agricultural lending cooperative with a sole mission of providing reliable, consistent credit to farmers and ranchers,” he said. “Staff who are knowledgeable about both agriculture and credit are crucial to being a strong financial partner to Oklahoma’s agricultural community.”

Farm Credit has long partnered with OSU. The Farm Credit Association of Oklahoma and its funding bank, CoBank, also partnered with OSU in 2013 to endow the Oklahoma Farm Credit Chair in Agricultural Economics and awards annual scholarship programs to support OSU students.

“Like OSU, Farm Credit has been supporting agriculture for more than a century,” Zeka said. “We’re in this together for the next hundred years and beyond.”

BancFirst is the largest state chartered bank in Oklahoma, and more than half of the presidents responsible for its 108 banking locations have degrees from Oklahoma State.

BancFirst chairman emeritus and founder Gene Rainbolt said OSU’s agricultural economics program produces outstanding graduates with skills necessary to lead.

“These graduates also tend to identify with being a part of communities,” he said. “That’s who we are. Our role is to help people grow their businesses and families.”

Part of accomplishing that goal is made through investing in programs like Oklahoma State and the New Frontiers campaign, he said. Rainbolt and the bank have supported many OSU efforts, including numerous scholarships, athletics, the new Spears Business building and the creation of the H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt Endowed Chair of Agricultural Finance, to name a few.

Rainbolt said he believes that one of the bank's most important responsibilities is to invest in rural Oklahoma to help those communities and the local farmers and ranchers grow and prosper.

“Agriculture is like all other fields,” he said. “It’s dynamic and only to the extent that we are cutting edge in practices will we be competitive in a world market. It’s very important we have cutting-edge research to maximize our productive efficiency."

Back To Top
SVG directory not found.
MENUCLOSE