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From cotton, to cattle, to elderberries:  One Oklahoma farmer's business is now berries and flowers

KFOR, Oklahoma City

WEBBERS FALLS, OKLAHOMA - As a little kid roaming these
pastures south of town, Brent Madding must have skipped past
hundreds of Elderberry plants growing wild.

"Normally you'll find them along tree lines, old fence lines, or old
​road beds," he says.

As a grown man, he's still learning just how valuable they can be as a cash crop.

"This is a variety discovered right here in Muskogee County," he says holding a big cluster of blooming, white flowers.  "It's just grown phenomenally."

It's been 8 years since he moved back close to home looking for something healthy to grow.

Madding continues, "We were interested in growing some type of super food here."

He almost chose blueberries but switched course when he found out that a whole bunch of the commercial elderberry varieties came from eastern Oklahoma in the first place.

"The genetics of the Oklahoma varieties were at the top of the list," he says, "So it just kind of snowballed from there."

He's got 14 different varieties growing now, no pesticides or herbicides needed.

See the entire article and video here.

Current Job Openings with ONLA Members

Turf Horticulturist

Philbrook Museum of Art is seeking a full-time Turf Horticulturist that is responsible for the development, planning, coordination, and implementation of a turf management program for Philbrook’s 25 acre main campus. This position is expected to work full-time at 35 hours a week, Monday – Friday, and an excellent benefits package is offered to include medical, dental, vision, FSA, 401(k), and PTO.​



The Oklahoma State University Facilities Management Landscape Services Department is recruiting for a Horticulturist on the Stillwater campus.  Applicants should have a horticulture or landscape maintenance education, a passion for plants and campus beautification, attention to detail, and creative skills. 
The Horticulturist maintains some of the most prominent seasonal and landscaped gardens on campus. The position will report to the Assistant Manager of Landscape Installation Services. 


ONLA Scholarship Recipients

ONLA is thrilled to support Oklahoma's up-and-coming Horticulture and Landscape Architecture stars!
ONLA awards three scholarships annually to students in the horticulture and landscape architecture departments at OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Oklahoma City

OSU-Stillwater students are nominated by faculty members and chosen during the April board of directors meeting.
OSU-OKC students may apply directly to ONLA for the scholarship.  The deadline for application is June 30th, as the recipient is chosen during the July board of directors meeting.  Please complete the application packet, which can be found here .

Congratulations to the The 2017 ONLA Scholarship recipients from OSU-Stillwater, Stephanie Stoner and Brandt Emerson.
Stephahie, a graduate of Stillwater High School, is a landscape architecture major.  Brandt, a Tahlequah High School graduate, is pursuing a degree in Horticulture, with an emphasis in business.

The 2017 ONLA Scholarship recipient from OSU-OKC is Olivia Tegeler.  Olivia is studying horticultural technology.

2016 recipients:  Katy Layman (OSU-Stillwater):  Horticulture
​                                      Cole Landers (OSU-Stillwater):  Landscape Management
​                                      Victoria Kemble (OSU-Oklahoma City):  Horticulture, Landscape Management

2015 recipients:  Allison Phillips (OSU-Stillwater):  Landscape Architecture
                                      Cody Landis (OSU-Stillwater):  Landscape Architecture
                                      Lisa Hair (OSU-Oklahoma City):  Horticulture (Landscape Design)

2014 recipients:  Cole Landers (OSU-Stillwater): Landscape Management
                                      Matthew Murray (OSU-Stillwater):  Landscape Architecture

2013 recipients:  Garrett Noble (OSU-Stillwater):  Landscape Architecture
                                      Matthew Bowlan (OSU-Stillwater):  Landscape Contracting

2012 recipients:  Courtney DeKalb (OSU-Stillwater):  Horticulture Business
                                      Robert Shane McMurry (OSU-Stillwater):  Horticulture Science
                                      Tracy Sharp (OSU-Oklahoma City):  Horticulture Technologies

left:  Stephanie Stoner, Brandt Emerson and ONLA President, Crystal Sizemore

​right: Olivia Tegeler, ONLA President,
Crystal Sizemore and ONLA 2nd Vice
President, Haldor Howard



Congratulations to Larry Brandt Emerson, the recipient of the Jim Sanders Memorial Horticulture Scholarship for 2017.

​Brandt stated in his application essay, "I did not realize how important horticulture is to the world until taking my classes here at OSU.  My classes have even taught me how to better maintain plants in the greenhouses and in the landscape.  This will lead me to have better experiences with my job after graduating from Oklahoma State.  After graduating I want to educate the nation on how inportant horticulture is in the world."
Colby Davis, inaugural recipient in 2016
​shown with Mary Ellen Sanders, widow of Jim
Seed money for the scholarship was raised by a spur-of-the-moment bid on our auctioneer’s hat in Jim’s name during the annual live auction.  The ONLA Board of Directors shortly thereafter voted to set aside this seed money to start a scholarship in Jim’s name.  The Sanders Family chooses the recipent of the Jim Sanders Memorial Horticulture Scholarship.  This honor will be awarded to one (1) undergraduate student enrolled for the Fall Semester of 2016 at Oklahoma State University.  The student must be working toward an undergraduate degree in the area of Horticulture and be currently maintaining a minimum grade point average of 2.75.  The student may be classified as a part-time or full-time student.

Applications must be received by October 27th and will be chosen by November 3rd and announced at the Oklahoma Grows Conference + Trade Show.  Download the application for the Jim Sanders Memorial Horticulture Scholarship here .

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