Moving from Ithaca, New York, to College Station, Texas, Drs. Patrick J. and Denise Stover have begun touring Texas A&M Research and Extension centers throughout Texas, "to get a good sense of what research is going and how we engage with our key stakeholders, including farmers and ranchers."
Patrick is the new vice chancellor and dean of Life Sciences. Recently empty-nesters, sending the last of their four children off to college, the couple decided this was the perfect time to try something new.
"We're pinching ourselves," says Denise, who is still working part-time for Cornell University. "It's been been a whirlwind."
Southwest Farm Press caught up with the Stovers at the Texas A&M Research Station at Halfway, Texas, where Denise says of Texans, "I just love the people. I felt at home right away. Everybody has their heart on their sleeve, and you know where you stand and they tell you what they think.
"We’ve seen vegetable producers down in Weslaco, and we’ve seen cattle, dairy, corn and cotton here, and from both places, with different climates and with the different challenges they are facing, their goal is always to produce the best product. Hard work is not an issue. It’s, 'Let’s work together.' Let’s make it great.'"
Patrick, who's primary objective is to be sure that Texas be the recognized leader, not only to the United States but for the world, on how agriculture can meet all of the demands that society places on it, says he and his wife agree on a lot of things, but one thing they "absolutely agree on," about the producers they've met, is the entrepreneurial spirit of Texas. "It's like no where I have ever been.
"And the optimism, despite a lot of the challenges, and the welcoming expressions that we’ve had from all Texans, has been very rewarding for us."