Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT Students to Celebrate Ag Industry at First Fall Gather Sept. 30

Dr. Chelsea Arnold, second from right, leads a meeting with student organizers of the Fall Gather, including Jayci Mekelburg, from left, Macy Downs and McKinley Begert.

CANYON, Texas — The namesake of West Texas A&M University’s Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences will be honored at a student-led celebration of the agricultural industry.

Engler will be the guest of honor at the first Fall Gather, set for 3 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 east of Buffalo Courts Alumni Center on the WT campus in Canyon.

Tickets are $30 each or $10 for WT or high school students; group ticket packages are available. Sponsorship packages are available through Sept. 15.

“We’re trying to emphasize the ‘culture’ in ‘agriculture,’ so we want the ag community to come out and celebrate this amazing industry and its close ties to the Panhandle, where we provide food, fuel and fiber to the world,” said Kyli Kraft, chairperson of the Fall Gather and a junior agribusiness major from Fort Collins, Colorado.

Engler is a natural person to honor at the first Fall Gather, said committee member Brandon Melnikoff, a senior agriculture major from Collbran, Colorado

“Dr. Engler has been a pillar in the agriculture industry for decades,” Melnikoff said. “His innovative leadership as the co-founder of Cactus Feeders helped transform the cattle feeding landscape and the Panhandle into what it is today. And his devoted support of WT is equally transformative, particularly for students studying business, natural sciences and agriculture.”

The Fall Gather will take place during the Countdown to Kickoff Tailgate Party before the Buffalos football game against Western Oregon University.

The party will include live music from Colt Edrington, a junior agricultural business and economics major from Grandview; interactive educational activities; T-shirt giveaways; and a hearty barbecue meal featuring four unique cuts of beef, as well as side dishes made from Panhandle-raised ingredients. Fall Gather ticket purchases also include admission to the football game.

Sponsorship levels run from $500 to $10,000, offering varying levels of benefits, including ticket packages, recognition in advertisements and more.

Sponsors as of Aug. 16 include Cargill, Caviness Beef Packers, JBS, Tyson and Compass Ag Solutions.

Engler, the legendary Panhandle-area cattle feeder and philanthropist, rose from a small Nebraska farm to the industry-redefining establishment of Cactus Feeders, which became the largest cattle-feeding operation in the world under his leadership.

In 2017, Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation agreed to donate $1 million a year for at least 80 years to the University for both the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. It currently stands as the largest gift in WT history.

Both colleges honored Engler with honorary doctorates in agriculture and business administration, respectively, in 2022.

The Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences is a key component of WT’s mission to address regional challenges, as laid out in the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.


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