Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

T. Leland Walker
Rancher and Retired Educator

Category
Location
Red Oak, Oklahoma
Farm Credit Affiliation
Farm Credit Services of East Central Oklahoma
Leland's Perspective

As a former high school agriculture instructor, college agriculture professor and college division chair of agriculture, Leland Walker's expertise and dedication to agriculture has fuelled the desire for hundreds of Oklahomans to pursue a career in the industry. More than 70 current agriculture instructors in Oklahoma were taught under Leland’s leadership. Numerous former students are involved in conservation, extension, farming, ranching, forestry, landscaping and other agriculture and related positions.

Believing that everyone has a place in agriculture, during his career he worked to involve all students in agriculture education, no matter their economic level or their academic ability. His dedication to these students is unmatched, from opening his home to students without a place to live, to hiring students to work on his ranch, to setting up after-hour study sessions, to establishing an ag scholarship.

“What a great honor to teach young people about such a noble and inclusive occupation,” Leland says. “Seeing a young person passionate about agriculture inspires me. It makes me want to be a better teacher, a more impactful mentor, so their passion can fuel the desire of others.”

Leland consistently encouraged his students, mentoring them and pushing them to succeed. He coached nine collegiate national champion judging teams and had a national high school agricultural education FFA Three Star chapter. He was named Teacher of the Year at Eastern Oklahoma State College 13 times, and in 2015 received Oklahoma Governor Fallin's inaugural Outstanding Public Service in Agriculture Award.

“As a high school teacher it was my desire to provide students an introduction to agriculture and develop leadership skills,” says Leland. “Moving into higher education, my desire was to remove the road blocks students faced when entering college and to prepare them with a strong foundation. I believe in the benefit of a well-rounded person.”

Leland retired from public education in 2014, but retirement has not slowed his passion: he runs hundreds of cattle and volunteers to help young people. The respect he’s earned from his former students is evident in the number who contact him still, seeking his advice on challenges they now face.

“In the classroom, and now as a retired educator, my ultimate goal has always been to assist young people in developing a love and appreciation for agriculture,” Leland says. “Thankfully, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with young people most of my life and many of them are eager to make a difference. With their determination and enthusiasm, the future of our profession is bright.”

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