Cara ’97 and Casey ’95 Bradshaw believe in their community. They strongly support their Texas 4-H Youth Development Program and the work of J. D. Ragland, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent for Randall County.

a man in a cowboy hat and jeans and a woman in a green sweater stand in a fall outdoor setting - Casey and Cara Bradshaw
Casey ’95 and Cara ’97 Bradshaw of Canyon made the initial donation and kicked off fund-raising for the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon in honor of J. D. Ragland, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent in Randall County. (Courtesy photo)

The Bradshaws saw a perfect opportunity to continue their support when Texas A&M AgriLife announced it would move the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Amarillo onto the West Texas A&M University, WTAMU, campus in Canyon.

A graduate of the Texas A&M Department of Animal Science, Casey serves as the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Agriculture Development Council vice president, and he was already familiar with the Texas A&M Foundation.

They are making the initial donation and kicking off the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon Construction Fund in honor of Ragland. The nonendowed account will accept donations from multiple donors for the building and construction of the large meeting area.

“When we heard the Amarillo office was moving, we wanted to help make sure it included an auditorium or something the community could use that would be a home for 4-H and community meetings,” Casey said. “Also, we wanted to honor J. D. because his work is a cause people can get behind. We are fortunate to have had him as our county agent for so long. He has helped so many people.”

Ragland, a Regents Fellow, has served AgriLife Extension for more than 35 years in Randall, Floyd and Castro counties, building a distinguished record of accomplishments and outstanding leadership in cotton, wheat, beef cattle and horticulture education and programming. He has made significant contributions for youth through 4-H volunteer management and learning projects in livestock, livestock judging, horse, shooting sports, range management, leadership and citizenship.

“We have two goals. We want to make sure the money will come here and be used for the construction of this facility,” Casey said. “And we want everyone – all of his 4-H families over the years — to have the opportunity to contribute in appreciation of J. D.”

A passion for 4-H and Texas A&M grown over time

Casey, a native of Lazbuddie, showed livestock in 4-H throughout high school and was a member of the livestock judging team. He credits his familiarity with the program with helping him recognize the importance of a capable county agent.

Cara, a native of Winters, calls herself a 4-H dropout. She began and left the program as a youth. However, when their three children, Lucas, Barrett and Sophie, were old enough to get involved in 4-H, she reacquainted herself with the program, thanks in part to the mentoring of Angela Burkham, Ph.D., an AgriLife Extension associate director who served the Bradshaw kids as North Region program leader for family and community health, Amarillo.

With their children involved in a variety of projects, Cara immersed herself as a volunteer. She became a Canyon 4-H Club leader and took on the leadership of the 4-H Livestock Ambassadors program in Randall County. She is also a member of the Randall County 4-H Dream Team Advisory Committee and is the Livestock Quiz Bowl coach, taking multiple teams to state and national titles.

“What we love about 4-H is no matter what you want to do, you are met with support,” she said. “When our oldest wanted to get in, they were there to help us go as far as we wanted.”

There are so many skills a kid can learn and perfect, Casey said. He credited his time on his 4-H livestock judging team and participation in the Texas 4-H Roundup in College Station with his introduction to Texas A&M. He also said his continued experience on Texas A&M’s livestock judging team was the start for him down the path of his life’s work.

Casey is president and general manager of Consolidated Beef Producers, CBP. After graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s in animal science, he worked in cattle procurement as a cattle buyer for Cargill Meat Solutions in Kansas and Nebraska. As soon as CBP was created in 2001, he joined the staff to focus on marketing, evaluating customer cattle, and developing partnership and business opportunities.

“God opened doors, and we have been blessed beyond measure,” Casey said.

In addition to the 4-H experience, two of the Bradshaw children are Aggies – Lucas ’24 is an agriculture economics major, and Barrett ’26 is an animal science major. Sophie is a junior in high school, and “Texas A&M is the only place she is considering.”

Ragland is devoted to 4-H’ers

a smiling man in glasses and a suit - J.D. Ragland
J. D. Ragland, Ph.D., has served Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for more than 35 years, the past 15 years in Randall County. (Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Cara said Randall County 4-H is bursting at the seams with participants today, and much of that is because of Ragland.

“He has spent his whole life making sure all the 4-H kids were in the spotlight, so now it’s his turn to be in the spotlight,” she said. “He exemplifies what AgriLife Extension should be – selfless and devoted with the heart of a servant.”

Ragland helped create the Dream Team program, which allows at-risk youth to obtain and maintain a 4-H swine project, attend training meetings teaching the six pillars of character, feed and care for the animal for a four-to-five-month period, and exhibit in the Randall County Junior Livestock Show.

“With any of the activities he’s involved in, J. D. does not have an ‘it’s not my job’ mentality — he wants to ensure everyone gets the best chance possible. And when it comes to the Dream Team, he takes those kids in and leaves them wanting for nothing regarding their projects,” Cara said.

Casey said Ragland gives the kids an opportunity most would never have, and that is why they are “taking this opportunity to honor J. D. This will help his legacy live on in the county.”

New Canyon home for Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon, with an initial construction budget of just over $30 million, will be a new state-of-the-art facility that combines research and education outreach to the greater Texas High Plains region. Construction has started on Russell Long Boulevard next to the WTAMU ag complex and is expected to wrap up in late 2025.

The multi-use facility will provide office space to support about 60 faculty and staff for AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension agencies. Additionally, it will house training space to support educational outreach to the greater community and modern laboratories to support ongoing research by AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension faculty. The center also serves as the district hub for AgriLife Extension and its programming in the 22 surrounding counties.

Brent Auvermann, Ph.D., center director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research at Amarillo, said this new center will be an embassy for the surrounding communities.

“Putting our AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension faculty into the agriculture compound at WTAMU is going to create superb opportunities for the A&M System to train the next generation of agricultural scientists in the advanced technologies we’ll need to solve tomorrow’s problems in the High Plains,” he said. “Everything from agronomy to wheat breeding to cattle nutrition to veterinary medicine to agricultural engineering – and more besides – will be right within arm’s reach for our region’s top students.”

Auvermann thanked the Bradshaws for getting this fundraising started.

“Their support for 4-H and their enthusiasm for Texas A&M AgriLife’s growth in the Panhandle are a wonderful vote of confidence, and we are tremendously grateful for their generosity,” he said.

A rendering of the new Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon. The brown building has grass and walking paths in front of it and one the side.
The new Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon will be located next to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory on the northeast corner of the West Texas A&M University campus. (Parkhill rendering/The Texas A&M University System)

Constructing the new center on the WTAMU campus combines it with the relocated Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, TVMDL, and the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine to create a Texas A&M “service center” at one physical location.

“This critical mass of state agencies in one location will support our commitment to leading-edge discoveries and innovations that support healthy lives, livelihoods and environments, with solutions reaching across the Texas High Plains and beyond,” said G. Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Research.

Some financing for the building is coming from the Permanent University Fund, Lamb said, adding that the state is providing some of the relocation costs as well. Then, about $10-$13 million of the cost will come from fundraising. Lamb said the Bradshaws are the project’s first donors.

“Having modern facilities for the community to use and 4-H to have their competitions in and tying that into all the things happening with WTAMU in that corner of campus, I’m excited with what it can do for WTAMU and Texas A&M AgriLife and 4-H,” Cara said.

Donating to the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon Construction Fund

“We encourage everyone to join us in honoring J. D. with this project, no matter the size of your contribution,” Cara said. “We are just the first of what I’m confident will be many others investing in the cause and celebrating our friend, Dr. Ragland.”

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that exists for the benefit of Texas A&M University. The Foundation works with former students, corporations and other Texas A&M supporters to match their charitable interests with the university’s priorities. Gifts create scholarships, advance faculty endeavors, enhance student programs and fund new buildings, ultimately creating a brighter future for Texas A&M, one relationship at a time.

To donate to the new Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Canyon Construction Fund, contact Jansen Merrill, director of development, at 979-431-4148 or Brandy Kines, director of development, at 979-431-4133.

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