COLLEGE STATION – Dr. J. D. Ragland, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent in Randall County, has been named a Regents Fellow by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
The award was presented Feb. 10 at the 2014-2015 Regents Awards Reception and Dinner on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.
The board established the Regents Fellow Service Awards in 1998 to recognize employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas.
Ragland also served in Floyd and Castro counties over the past 28 years, building a distinguished record of accomplishments, said Brandon Dukes, AgriLife Extension district administrator, in his letter of recommendation. During his career, Ragland demonstrated outstanding leadership in the areas of cotton, wheat, beef cattle and horticulture education and programming.
“He is a master at getting strong support from his producer clientele, program volunteers and community leaders,” Dukes said. “As an example, just in the past five years, he has helped his Randall County team raise more than $14.5 million in grants and financial support.
“Dr. Ragland is held up as an example of how a county Extension agent should operate. He couples his work ethic with a marvelous ability to meet people and make people feel like they have known him forever. This allows him to be successful in all aspects of AgriLife Extension programming, both adult and youth.”
For youth, he has made significant contributions through 4-H volunteer management and learning projects in livestock, livestock judging, horse, shooting sports, range management, leadership and citizenship, the nomination stated.
Ragland has developed educational resources that include more than 40 publications or reports, 80 presentations, 30 result demonstrations and more than 1,000 news articles, radio programs and television appearances, and quarterly farm and ranch and 4-H newsletters.
“The most prominent characteristic that Dr. Ragland possesses is an unwavering work ethic. When reviewing his accomplishments for any given time frame, one marvels at the amount of work he is able to get done and the outstanding quality of that work,” Dukes said.
Also according to the nomination, Ragland is known and respected for his work with the county’s producers through annual programs such as the Wheat Producers Meeting, Beef Producers Meeting and the County Ag Show and Crops Tour, as well as at specialized meetings such as the three-part Urban Rancher/Small-Acreage Short Course series or the Sheep and Goat Workshop.
“He is not only able to wear many hats, but wear them effectively,” the nomination continued. “The programs he conducts are having an impact in a variety of areas. Randall County ag producers know they can count on J. D. for information, especially when they need it fast.”
One letter of support read: “Simply put, J. D. cares about the people he serves within his job while serving the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Dr. Ragland is willing to help anybody in the county that he serves, and I know he is willing to help less experienced agents all over the state when they need assistance. I have never heard anyone he serves speak a bad word about the man and almost always they brag about how much he cares.”
Ragland earned his associate’s degree from Howard County Junior College, bachelor’s from Tarleton State University, master’s from West Texas A&M University and his doctorate from Texas A&M and Texas Tech University through the doc@distance program.
Ragland has been recognized within Texas A&M AgriLife, AgriLife Extension and the Texas County Agricultural Agents Association, earning the highest award each of these has to offer.
He has been the recipient of the following: Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence, Superior Service Award-individual, Superior Service Award-team, Texas County Agricultural Agents Association Distinguished Service-state and national award, State 4-H Youth Development Outstanding Youth Programming Award, State Meritorious Service Award-Volunteer Leaders Association of Texas and National Association of County Agricultural Agents Achievement Award.