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By far the most important product to any professional in really any field is the people he/she was able to mentor.  In university settings, that product is graduate students receiving MS and PHD degrees. But, no graduate is really a viable product unless he or she ends up gainfully employed and in agricultural research.  Of the almost 90 students that have finished degrees with me, many are now professors at key universities in the US, and/or hold leadership positions in Industry, the CGIAR system, and private enterprise.  It has been a great privilege to have these associations over the years.

Of the 6 years I spent working in Central America, witnessing a 5-year-old girl pushing a small cart filled with firewood back to her house for cooking near La Esperanza, Honduras has always been one of the more indelible moments of my life. This field where we were conducting on-farm research with CIMMYT was no different than all the rest, nor was this little girl any different than any other I would encounter in corn fields of Central America.  What was unique about this moment was that it was captured on film, in my mind, and what has always seemed like a passing spirit, yesterday, in 1987. 

What this girl knows about hard work is worth talking about, considering what has been required of her at such an early age.

When people in the third world have problems, we can help simply by caring.  If we care, and many others like us care, something will ultimately be done.  If we don't care, their problems will never be discussed, and their needs will never be met.  If we simply recognize their need, it will ultimately make us better ambassadors and teachers.

This girl will never talk about how hard she works or how hard she had to work as a child, the picture tells the story.  We will never know how many people she helped as helping others was a way of life.

If someone has to tell you that they are working hard, and that they are doing this and that for other people, it is highly likley that neither is true.

  Graduated Students (1992-2016) Where are they Now? Country/State
1 Ascencio, Edgar Noel. 1992. M.S. CARE, San Salvador, El Salvador El Salvador
2 Attefat, Mehdi. 1992. M.S. Iraq, Iraq
3 Sembiring, Hasil. 1993. M.S. Indonesia, National Program Indonesia
4 Jojola, Michael E. 1994. M.S. New Mexico
5 Morales, Sonia. 1994.  M.S. El Salvador
6 Kanampiu, Fred Kaburu. 1995. Ph.D. CIMMYT, Kenya Kenya
7 Ascencio, Edgar Noel. 1995. Ph.D. CARE, San Salvador, El Salvador El Salvador
8 Gavi-Reyes, Francisco. 1995. Ph.D. Univ. Post Graduados, Chapingo Mexico
9 Ball, Jeff B. 1995. M.S. Bayer Crop Science Oklahoma
10 Phillips, Steven B. 1995. M.S. Staff, IPNI Oklahoma
11 Taylor, S.L. 1996. M.S. USDA-ARS Oklahoma
12 Chen, J. 1997, M.S. Ford Motor Co. China
13 Keahey, D.A., 1997, M.S. Private Enterprise Oklahoma
14 Lees, H.L., 1997, M.S. Ohio
15 Sembiring, H. 1997, Ph.D. Indonesia, National Program Indonesia
16 Thomason, W.E. 1998, M.S. Faculty, Virginia Tech Oklahoma
17 Lukina, E.V. 1998, M.S. Lab Assistant Uzbekistan
18 LaRuffa, Joanne M. 1999, M.S.   Virginia
19 Phillips, S.B. 1999, Ph.D.  Staff, IPNI Oklahoma
20 DeLeon, Micah, 1999, M.S. Graduate Student Argentina
21 Dennis, Jeremy, 1999, M.S.  NRCS Oklahoma
22 Woolfolk, Curt, 1999, M.S. Mosaic, MN Oklahoma
23 Cossey, Doug, 1999, M.S. Servi-Tech, Dodge City, KS Oklahoma
24 Mullen, R.W. 2001, M.S. Head, Agronomy, Potash Corp. Oklahoma
25 Wynn, K. 2001, M.S. SCS Oklahoma
26 Thomason, W.E. 2001, Ph.D. Faculty, Virginia Tech Oklahoma
27 Lukina.E.V. 2001, Ph.D. Lab Assistant Uzbekistan
28 Freeman, Kyle W. 2001, M.S. VP, Mosaic, MN Oklahoma
29 Teal, Roger, 2002, M.S. Laverne, OK Tennessee
30 Moges, Shambel, 2002, M.S. Accurate Environmental Labs Ethiopia
31 Mullen, Robert, 2002, Ph.D. Potash Corp.  Oklahoma
32 Micah Humphreys, 2003, M.S.  Faculty, Northwest College, Wyoming Oklahoma
33 Paul Hodgen, 2003, M.S.  Monsanto, Illinois Indiana
34 Jason Lawles, 2004, M.S.  Monsanto, OK Oklahoma
35 Jagadeesh Mosali, 2004, Ph.D.   Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK India 
36 Keri, Brixey, 2004, M.S.  NRCS Kansas Oklahoma
37 Brian Arnall, 2004, M.S. Faculty, Oklahoma State University Oklahoma
38 Kefyalew Desta, 2004, Ph.D.  Faculty, Washington State Ethiopia
39 Roger Teal, 2005, Ph.D. Laverne, OK Tennessee
40 Kent Martin, 2005, M.S. Private/Kansas State University Oklahoma
41 Kyle Freeman, 2005, Ph.D. Mosaic, MN Oklahoma
42 Shambel Moges, 2005, Ph.D Accurate Labs Ethiopia
43 Clint Mack, 2006, M.S. Farmer/Consultant, OK Oklahoma
44 Kyle Lawles, 2006, M.S. Monsanto, Iowa Oklahoma
45 Olga Walsh, 2006, M.S. Faculty, Univ. of Idaho Russia, Lenningrad
46 Brenda Tubana, 2007, Ph.D. Faculty, Louisiana State University Phlippines
47 Byungkyun, Chung, 2007, Ph.D. Faculty, McNeese State University S. Korea
48 Clint Dotson, 2007, M.S. Monsanto, Kansas Oklahoma
49 Starr Holtz, 2007, M.S. Monsanto, Nebraska  Oklahoma
50 Brian Arnall, 2008, Ph.D. Faculty, Oklahoma State University Oklahoma
51 Pam Turner, 2008, M.S. Dept. Environmental Quality Oklahoma
52 Brandon England, 2008, M.S. OSDA Oklahoma
53 Cody Daft, 2008, M.S. Pioneer, Nebraska Oklahoma
54 Daniel Edmonds, 2008, M.S. Private Oklahoma
55 Birehane Desta, 2009, M.S. Univ. Minnesota Ethiopia
56 Olga Walsh, 2009, Ph.D. Faculty, Univ. of Idaho Russia, Lenningrad
57 Yumiko Kanke, 2009, M.S. Louisiana State University Japan
58 Jake Vossenkemper, 2009, M.S. Pioneer, Missouri Missouri
59 Guilherme Torres, 2010, M.S. Monsanto, Brazil Brazil
60 Jonathan Kelly, 2011, M.S.  Private, Kansas Oklahoma
61 Kevin Waldschmidt, 2011, M.S. Private Enterprise Kansas
62 Emily Rutto, PhD, 2011 Post Doc Kenya
63 Natasha Macnack, M.S., Ph.D 2014 Asst. Professor, Wisconsin Suriname
64 Yesuf Mohammed, PhD., 2012 Post Doc Montana
65 Jeremiah Mullock, M.S., 2012 Bayer Crop Science North Carolina
66 Bee Chim, M.S., 2012 PhD, Virginia Tech Malaysia
67 Jared Crain, M.S. 2012 PhD, Kansas State Oklahoma
68 Sulochana Dhital, M.S., 2014 PhD Student Nepal
69 Jake Bushong, PhD., 2014 Private Enterprise Oklahoma
70 Ethan Wyatt, M.S., 2013 Monsanto Oklahoma
71 Eric Miller, PhD., 2014 Pioneer, Indiana Indiana
72 Peter Omara, M.S., 2013 Uganda Uganda
73 Candi Candibyani, Lab Assistant Malaysia
74 Lawrence Aula, M.S., 2014 Uganda Uganda
75 Jeremiah Mullock, MS, PhD, 2015 Bayer Crop Science North Carolina
76 Jagmandeep Dhillon MS, 2016 India
77 Bruno Figueiredo MS, 2016 Brazil
78 Ethan Driver MS, 2016 California
79 Sulochana Dhital, PhD, 2016 PhD, 2016 Nepal
80 Mariana Ramos del Corso MS, 2016 Brazil
81 Ryan Schlobohm MS, 2016 Oklahoma
82 Daniel Aliddeki MS, 2016 Uganda
83 Melissa Golden MS, 2016 Climate Corp/Monsanto St. Louis
84 Nicole Remondet MS, 2016 Oklahoma
85 Gwen Wehmeyer MS, 2017 Missouri
86 Fikayo Oyebiyi MS, 2017 USA
87 Eva Nambi MS, 2017 Uganda
88 Alimamy Fornah PhD, 2018 Sierra Leone
89 Elizabeth Eickhoff MS, 2018 Nebraska
90 Robert Lemings MS, 2018 Oklahoma
91 Bruno Figueiredo, M.S., 2016 PhD Student Brazil
92 Gwen Wehmeyer, M.S., 2016 PhD Student Missouri
93 Jagmandeep Dhillon, MS, 2016 PhD Student India
94 Fikayo Oyebiyi, MS, 2017 PhD Student Nigeria
95 Peter Omara, MS, 2014 PhD Student Uganda
96 Eva Nambi, M.S. 2017 PhD Student Uganda
97 Tyler Lynch MS Student Oklahoma
98 Lawrence Aula, PhD. 2020 PhD Student Uganda
99 Dillon Davidson MS Student USA
100 Elizabeth Eickhoff PhD Student Nebraska


Dr. Robert L. Westerman, Professor and Head of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences gave me the opportunity to pursue a Master of Science Degree in Soil Science in 1981.  His honesty, integrity and humility have always been exemplary qualities and have truly made a difference in my life. 

Pictured on the left, Dr. Bill Webb, Dr. Robert Westerman and Dr. Billy Tucker in the Magruder Plots, now in their 107th year.  Early on Dr. Westerman exposed me to long-term research and their value in soil fertility work.  Oklahoma State University continues 14 long-term experiments initiated by A.C. Magruder, Horace Harper, Billy Tucker and Robert Westerman

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA, Ph.D. Student, 1983-1985

Professor Robert A. Olson was responsible for getting me to Nebraska and was my major Advisor.  Prof always had time to help, and he was always genuinely interested in what I was doing.  He always treated me like a son, expecting only the very best and asking for it.  Like Dr. Sander, Prof loved his students and it showed.

Dr. Don Sander was one of my two advisors at the University of Nebraska.  It was an honor to work with him as he was always thinking.  Dr. Sander would draw on anything, a napkin, the ground, a matchbox, the table, and when things were really tight, he would draw on his hands.   You want dedication.... the word meant Dr. Sander.  Dr. Sander loved his students and would do anything for them.  We always felt needed and important whenever we were with him. 


  Professor Robert A Olson


CIMMYT-Mexico, Post Doctoral Fellow, Mexico City and Ciudad Obregon, 1985 - 1987

When I first moved to Mexico following the completion of my Ph.D. work at Nebraska, it was refreshing to find so many people who cared about third-world hunger.  To date, working at CIMMYT has always been an important defining factor of my professional career.  The staff at CIMMYT is unique considering that everyone is there to help and truly committed to increasing cereal production in the world.   CIMMYT headquarters (near Texcoco) and parts of the Ciudad Obregon experiment station are pictured below.

CIMMYT-Central America, Regional Agronomist, 1987 - 1991.

I always considered it to be a privilege to work as a Regional Agronomist for CIMMYT in Central America.  The needs were so great and the resources so limited, yet these people knew how to get things done.  All of the National Program staff members that we serviced were committed to solving problems and they were truly interested in making a contribution.  Countries included in my region were Guatemala (where I lived), Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba

Soil Erosion is the number one problem restricting maize production in Central America.  Our work focused on developing systems that would minimize erosion.  Whether in rotation (above) or relay (below), we were constantly evaluating different species that would grow with maize (interseeded or delayed planting).   With time we found that Canavalia ensiformis  and Vigna spp. did very well within corn, provided good soil coverage (thus decreasing erosion), and to some extent assisted with weed control.  All crops reduced maize grain yields as they competed for moisture.

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Agronomia Mesoamericana

Working with Juan Manuel Herrera, Hector Barreto, Gustavo Sain, Silvio Hugo Orozco, Rodolfo Araya, Franklin Osorio and Hugo Cordova, we were able to get the the first edition of 'AGRONOMIA MESOAMERICANA' started in 1990 (cover left).  This Agronomic Journal continues to be published as part of the PCCMCA (Programa Cooperativo Centroamericano de Mejoramiento de Cultivos y Animales) which is the equivalent of the American Society of Agronomy in the USA. Abstracts are written in both Spanish and English (ISSN 1021-7444, 1990- v.1-present)
Our comprehension of soil erosion in the USA is at best limited when considering the planting methods employed above.  Entire hillsides covered with corn below are not considered to be sustainable landscapes. wpe5.jpg (13405 bytes)



In 1988, Dr. Robert Westerman initiated comprehensive soil sampling of our long-term winter wheat N-P-K fertility experiments.   Via his work and what has ensued, we have found that nitrate accumulation (risk of leaching) does not become significant until N is applied in excess of that required for maximum yield.  Soil-plant inorganic nitrogen buffering (graph below) documents why NO3-N leaching is unlikely in dryland production systems when N fertilization is not excessive.

Dr. Nick Basta is the Soil Chemist at OSU.   Nick has been a dear friend over the years, always willing to understand my point of view, even when it made no sense.  Nick keeps my political pulse in balance with his daily Democratic view of the world.  He has been most gracious and kind when in comes to educating me and others.  Nick has politely answered each and every question that I have had without making me feel uncomfortable.  Every night at 5:30 p.m. when my daughters have arrived at the office, Nick has always had 'smarties' or a 'tootsie-pop' in hand to make them smile.

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Nick Basta, OSU Soil Chemist, now located at the less distinguished OSU somewhere in Ohio

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2002 VRT Commercial Applicator

TEAM-VRT at OSU, 1992-present

  Over the years I have been extremely fortunate to work with some of the best scientists in the world. Below, Marvin Stone stands in front of the sensor based variable rate applicator that our TEAM-VRT developed in 1995.  In March, 1996, we held a field day where this technology was displayed to farmers and fertilizer dealers.

Some of our first work took place on bermudagrass in August of 1993 near Ardmore, OK. Pictured below is Marvin Stone and John Solie.  John adds a unique dimension to our team, since he is not only a first class engineer, but also a former lawyer and farmer.  We continue to work with the Noble Foundation (in Ardmore, OK) on the development of sensor-based detection of nutrient deficiencies in wheat and bermudagrass.

A picture of our first variable rate applicator is seen on the left (1996), and the commercial applicator we released in 2002 (below) with NTech Industries .   All of us remain very proud of what we were able to do together as a team.  At no time in my life have I ever worked with a group of scientists so dedicated to solving problems and who are truly committed to what the TEAM can accomplish.  Team members, John Solie, and Marv Stone, are nothing short of outstanding.



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The happiest person ever to work in the Soil Fertility Project was Hasil Sembiring.  The picture below describes him well.  Hasil received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at OSU and was always a joy to work with.  All our students absolutely loved Hasil.  Hasil is now back in Indonesia where he works for the National Program

Steve Phillips, Ph.D student was always processing information.  Steve provided significant leadership needed in our project and he is now an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech.  His dedication to people in need, our students, and to our science was personally inspiring.

People like Jing Chen (left) have always made my life easy.  Jing and so many others have worked tirelessly in the field and lab to bring so many of our projects to fruition

Attending the annual American Society of Agronomy meetings is the highlight of our year.  Since 1992, our students have made over 250 presentations at the ASA-SSSA-CSSA meetings. Past students are now faculty members at Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Louisiana State, and Florida.  A major component of all our M.S. and Ph.D. student programs has been continued work with CIMMYT.  Since 1992, we have sent 82 students on short and long-term study to Mexico working on the development of precision agriculture methods for developed and developing nations.

(left to right), Kyle Freeman, Paul Hodgen, Jagadeesh Mosali, Roger Teal, Shambel Moges, and Steve Phillips.

Kate, Chris, Anne, and Dana stand with the firemen!

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Galapagos Islands, 1974

Pictures of the FAMILY    
Kyle Freeman and Wade Thomason 
Dr. Kyle Freeman and Dr. Wade Thomason
Steve Phillips and Gordon Johnson 
Dr. Steve Phillips, Dr. Gordon Johnson, Dr. Doug Cossey, Tanya Raun, Dr. Kyle Freeman, Dr. Robert Mullen, and Dr. Paul Hodgen
CIMMYT Pictures

CIMMYT Headquarters, El Batan, MX
CIMMYT, 1986
Bill Raun, Hector Barreto, Heriberto
1990, Taken in El Salvador while working as a Regional Agronomist for CIMMYT.  Also includes Hector Barreto, Agronomist, CIMMYT, and Heriberto Sosa, CENTA

CNN visits Oklahoma State University
OSU Nutrient Management Students and their advisor
Bill Raun
1990, Regional Agronomist for CIMMYT, Guatemala City, Guatemala
CIMMYT, El Batan, Mexico1985. Post Doctoral Fellow, Mexico City, MX, CIMMYT
Eddie, Sister, Brother, Streets of GuatemalaWhen I lived in Guatemala City, Eddie (Eduardo), his older sister and younger brother worked on the streets washing cars (near Avenida Reforma and 8th street).  Picture of the three in front of my old Subaru is included, taken in 1987.  Eddie is wearing the cap.    I could have paid for his education, and that of his sister and brother without any problem.  Single, I really had no expenses.  Also, I was on the road 200+ days a year, so everything was paid for on those days.  I should have done more and should have paid for their education.  Just should have done more, a lot more. CIMMYT, 1986, Ciudad Obregon Post Doctoral Fellow, Ciudad Obregon, MX, 1986 (Friends Saul, Marco Antonio, Miguel, Jaime, Xenen, Big Dan)
Raun Hargis
May 2012, Medallion Ceremony, Botanic Garden, OSU
Bill Raun Bill Raun

VRT GreenSeeker Raun Bill Raun, Discovery Channel
2009, Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University, brain and spinal cancer survivor (my battle with Ependymoma), Bike Wreck, April 19, 2016
CIMMYT Agronomy Program 1985
William Raun 2015
2015, Regents Professor, Nutrient Management, Oklahoma State University
Sulochana Dhital, 2016 PHD graduate
Students/Family 2017 Family 2016   Chris 2017    Kate PA School Chris and Kevin Chris and Sarah Raun, Minden, Nebraska  Minden Nebraska 1965
Chris and Sarah Raun, Minden, NE


 Wall of Fame CIMMYT, 1986, Ciudad Obregon Eddie, Sister, Brother, Streets of Guatemala   Ependymoma brain surgery radiation mask  Radiation, OU medicine Radiation scarring, 8 years later     Uganda, corn planting