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OSU 40-year veteran has deep roots in agriculture

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Jay Prater not only has deep roots in agriculture; he also has deep roots in Oklahoma State University agriculture.


Prater, senior agriculturalist in the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, was raised in a small town where his family farmed wheat and cotton and raised cattle. His father graduated from what was then known as Oklahoma A&M College in the early 40’s and went on to become a professor of agronomy from 1946 to 1949 before returning home to farm and operate small grain elevators.


“His inspiration has always been a part of my life and what led me to pursue a future in agriculture, and I, for the most part, have enjoyed any form of agriculture,” Prater said.


Prater has worked at OSU for more than 40 years, taking care of the planting, harvesting and management of OSU research plots, as well as collecting data from the plots, assisting graduate students and overseeing greenhouse experiments.


“I have a deep appreciation for the university allowing me to work a job with an outdoor component and the power and uncertainty that mother nature has over us, as well as allowing me to work with students,” Prater said. “The best part of my job is the opportunity to meet and work with graduate students from all over the world.”


Prater said one of his favorite projects was working with the Alfalfa Breeding and Variety Testing program for 20 years 


“It was what I learned the most from and excelled at,” he said.


Prater still likes to be outdoors in his free time, gardening, hunting and experimenting with growing a variety of trees and plants.

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