Brandon Boughen has been hired by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as a disaster assessment and recovery, or DAR, agent serving the Texas Panhandle effective Sept. 15. He will be headquartered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo.
Boughen, a native of McLoud, Oklahoma, is not new to AgriLife Extension or the emergency services arena. He was first hired as an AgriLife Extension agent for Potter County in 2010 and then moved to Denton County in 2013, a position he held for a year before moving into private industry. He later returned to Oklahoma to be an Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension educator in Logan County.
“This DAR position seems like it was uniquely developed for me,” Boughen said when discussing his return to Amarillo. “I’m a wildland firefighter and also serve as a fire-line medic and a certified EMT, so disaster relief and assessment fits well in my wheelhouse and is something I enjoy doing.”
Brandon Dukes, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension district administrator in Amarillo, said Boughen’s background in military service and his experience with Extension in Texas and Oklahoma make him uniquely suited to serve in this role.
“This is an important position to our agency and our area, and Brandon is a great fit,” Dukes said. “Unfortunately, disasters come in all shapes and sizes in the state of Texas and the Panhandle region. Brandon’s work will help communities be as prepared for these disasters as they can be, and to recover from them when they do occur.”
New DAR duties
In his position as a DAR agent, Boughen said he will be initially tasked with COVID-19 personal protection equipment, PPE, delivery and serving in a liaison position between AgriLife Extension and the Texas Department of Emergency Management, Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
Wildfires, tornadoes, droughts and blizzards will be the top disasters with economic impact that could occur in the Panhandle region, but Boughen said he is not limited to serving this region, and he could be called up along with other DAR agents to meet state and even national responsibilities as a member of the state disaster task force.
“Our job is to help with the assessment portion of disasters and work with various external and government agencies to assist with accessing disaster funding sources, whether that is landowners or county judges seeking FEMA or state government assistance,” Boughen said.
Every AgriLife Extension agent has some of these responsibilities in the area of disaster assistance, and Boughen said he will also help with disaster preparedness education and programs. Also, he was certified recently as an ATV instructor, so he hopes to be able to offer that training for the counties in the district as well.
Boughen joined the U.S. Marine Corps prior to going to college. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and master’s degree in agriculture with an international agriculture option from Oklahoma State University.
Between his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he taught agriculture science and agriculture communications at Weatherford High School in Weatherford, Oklahoma.
While working on his master’s degree, he served as a teaching assistant for the department of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Oklahoma State University, where he supervised labs, taught lectures and assisted professors where needed.
He took a six-month leave of absence during his master’s program to work as a project specialist in Al Anbar, Iraq with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, part of Texas A&M University.