Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Ranchland Gift Secures Location for New WT Research Feedlot


CANYON, Texas — Nearly 43 acres of ranchland recently given to West Texas A&M University will facilitate the construction of a new feedlot for the University.

Brothers Mike and Gary Kuhlman made a land legacy gift of 42.84 acres of property adjacent to the Nance Ranch’s east property line. The gifted land, valued at $425,000, will serve as the location for a new WT Research Feedlot and Education Center.

“Working with the WTAMU Foundation, we have created a way for donors to make gifts of property for educational use and asset-generating income,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler. “Many Panhandle residents want to help WT, and their greatest asset is the vast amounts of land which have been in some families for generations. We can accept such gifts to help the donors help WT and further fulfill the vision of serving and being responsive to the Panhandle region.”

Fundraising is ongoing for the research feedlot, an estimated $8 to $10 million project. Generous support has been provided by the Texas Cattle Feeders Association and many industry partners, said Dr. Kevin Pond, dean of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

“This land legacy give comes at the perfect time,” Pond said. “It is ideal for the location of the new research feedlot due to its slope and proximity to the Nance Ranch and the WT campus. This gift, along with other generous gifts, will help us build a state-of-the-art research feedlot and education center, providing our students with rich educational and research opportunities and making a positive impact on the feedlot industry.”

WT is located in the heart of food animal production. The annual economic impact of beef and dairy cattle in the Texas Panhandle exceeds $20 billion.

The Kuhlman brothers are descended from a line of Randall County pioneers who settled here in the early 1900s. Their father, Herbert F. Kuhlman, worked the land, and both brothers raise cattle on the family property; they’ll maintain a portion of their land to continue to do so.

The Kuhlmans, including Mike’s wife Donna and Gary’s wife Debbie, are active supporters and have donated to the Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences for more than 20 years, largely through establishing endowed scholarships for beef cattle, rodeo and leadership.

The existing WT feedlot, located on Nance Road east of Canyon, has 72 soil-surfaced pens that house 10 to 12 animals each with 150 to 180 square feet of pen space and 10 to 12 inches of bunk space per animal. This provides a scale model of pen and bunk space representative of the larger commercial feedlot pens in the region.

A new research feedlot, which will be constructed south of the existing one, include an educational center with a classroom and small auditorium; 90 10-head pens; 40 70-head pens; state-of-the-art technology for monitoring and feed manufacture and delivery; and a top-of-the-line animal-processing facility.

Approximately $1.5 million has been raised thus far.

“Mike and Gary are steadfast supporters who understand the importance of this gift and the new research feedlot,” said David Schaeffer, president of the WTAMU Foundation. “We are so grateful for their foresight and generosity.”

The Kuhlman gift further expands WT’s footprint on the ranchlands east of Canyon.

The Nance Ranch, located about seven miles east of Canyon, consists of 2,393 acres including the headquarters. Given to WT in 1971, it is used as a working laboratory for WT’s animal science program as well as the Semi-Arid Agricultural Systems Institute and the plant and soil science program, providing numerous research and teaching opportunities for faculty and students.

The Gerdsen family made a land legacy gift of the Gerdsen Family Centennial Ranch in 2021. The 1,772-acre ranch sits on land near the Nance Ranch and offers more opportunities for hands-on learning experiences.

The planned feedlot is part of a concerted effort to enhance educational opportunities in agriculture at WT through the Center for Advancing Food Animal Production in the Panhandle and through the Feedlot Research Group, which offers opportunities for applied research in animal health and epidemiology; environmental science; meat science; and ruminant nutrition and management.

CAFAP enables students to specialize in animal health, animal care, animal nutrition and pre- and post-harvest food science/food safety. A $6 million state allocation announced in June 2023provided significant resources for CAFAP, enabling expansions in research for the food animal industry, in the use of water in animal production and other high-impact areas, through a combination of personnel from WT; Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach, or VERO; Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension; and the Charles W. Graham DVM Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. VERO is the unique 2+2 veterinarian training program housed at both WT and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center of Amarillo announced in May 2022 that it would move to the northeast corner of WT’s campus, thanks to $30 million in funding from the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Construction is slated to begin in 2024.

Since 2016, more than $120 million has gone into expanding WT’s agricultural programs, including the construction of WT’s Agricultural Sciences Complex, which contains the Happy State Bank Academic and Research building; the Caviness Meat Science and Innovation Center; the Piehl-Schaeffer Pavilion and the Bain Event Center; and The Charles W. “Doc” Graham ’53 DVM, The Texas A&M University System Center, which encompasses VERO and TVMDL.

The Land Legacy Advisory Council and the WTAMU Foundation provide oversight of gifts of land and other real property; facilitate its proper management; maintain good stewardship of gifts; are spokespersons for the program; and help WT fulfill its mission. Accepting and managing gifts of real property is in keeping with the values of the WTAMU Foundation for the benefit of the University.

Addressing regional challenges, including in agriculture, is the key mission of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised nearly $160 million.


Photo: Brothers Mike and Gary Kuhlman, from left, have made a land legacy gift of 42.84 acres of property adjacent to the Nance Ranch’s east property line which will allow West Texas A&M University to build a new research feedlot facility.

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