When Dr. Tom Coon starts talking about the future of agriculture, you can hear the energy and excitement in his voice.

“One of the things about agriculture that’s so exciting is that it’s all about growing,” says Coon, the vice president, dean and director of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater. “Part of that is based on our natural heritage, soil, water – the resources that we have.”

A lot also has to do with human resources, he says – the people who make the industry work, and their dedication and extreme commitment to hard work.

“Then you add the technological innovations coming along, and Oklahoma’s agriculture industry is positioned to be even more efficient in how we produce food, in producing it more safely and in producing even more nutritious food,” Coon adds.

Arriving at OSU in 2014, Coon is responsible for the academic ag program, research and extension services. He hit the ground running, touring the state, meeting with farmers and ranchers, and helping students navigate toward careers in agriculture.

“He has become the eyes and the ears of the Division of Agriculture at OSU and helps keep us building in the right direction,” says Jim Trapp, associate director, OSU Cooperative Extension Service.

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis says, “(Coon’s) vast experience and steady hand are helping Oklahoma State effectively advance agriculture in our state.”

“I think technology – certainly research – is a foundation of the innovation that we see coming in food and agriculture and natural resource management,” he says.