College of Agriculture Presents Outstanding Agriculturists Awards

The college recently honored three South Plains residents at its annual Pig Roast.

Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) honor three South Plains residents with the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturist Awards Nov. 10 at its annual Pig Roast at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall.

The recipients, Donnell Brown of Throckmorton, Jim Conkwright of Lubbock, and Mike Engler of Amarillo, are recognized for contributions in various areas of Texas agriculture. The Pig Roast also hosts scholarships donors and intercollegiate judging teams.

Brown, awarded for his work in agricultural production, owns and manages R.A. Brown Ranch, a family business in operation since 1895. The ranch raises registered Angus, Red Angus, SimAngus and Hotlander cattle. Graduating with a degree in animal business from Texas Tech, Brown has served as the Texas FFA organization president and later the National FFA organization president.

Donnell Brown

Jim Conkwright

Mike Engler

Conkwright, awarded for public service in agriculture, is general manager of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1. He also is the vice-chairman of the Llano Estacado Regional Water Planning Group and director of the Texas Water Conservation Association. Conkwright, an animal science graduate of Texas Tech, is a member of the Lubbock Water Advisory Commission and has served on the CASNR Dean’s Advisory Council.

Engler, awarded for his work in agribusiness, is CEO, president and chairman of the board for Amarillo’s Cactus Feeders. He serves on the Texas Tech International Center for Food Industry Excellence’s Advisory Board and the executives committee for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. Engler received both his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He also 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 Texas Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences from 1958 to 1970.


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The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is made up of six departments:

  • Agriculture and Applied Economics
  • Agricultural Education and Communications
  • Animal and Food Science
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Plant and Soil Science
  • Natural Resources Management

The college also consists of eleven research centers and institutes, including the Cotton Economics Research Institute, the International Cotton Research Center and the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute.