Prof. Wilber A. Cochel. There is no doubt but that educational education means more to the United States today than any other kind of education and great institutions like the Kansas State Agricultural College are standard bearers in disseminating agricultural knowledge. This college management, with remarkable judgment, has gathered together a group of thoroughly trained instructors covering every phase of agriculture, the agriculture of modern progress. At the head of the animal husbandry division is found Prof. Wilber A. Coehel, a scholar and scientist whose name carries weight in many states of the Union on account of his discoveries and solid achievements.
Wilber A. Cochel was born at Tipton, Missouri, August 7, 1877, and is a son of William H. and Charlotte (Calvin) Cochel. He was reared at Tipton where his father was a hardware merchant and also a farmer. On his father’s farm he gained his first practical lessons in agriculture, not unwillingly, for he has always loved the soil and been interested in its development and possibilities. He was afforded educational advantages and after being graduated from the Tipton High School, he entered the academic department of the University of Missouri, from which he was graduated in 1897.
During the succeeding five years Mr. Cochel was mainly engaged in general farming, stockraising and feeding and dealing in cattle. Desiring further scientific knowledge he entered the agricultural department of the University of Missouri and was graduated in 1905. During the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 he was superintendent of the Holstein-Fresian exhibit.
From 1905 to 1909 Professor Cochel was connected with the experiment station at Purdue University, LaFayette, Indiana, in the organization of experiment work. He was the introducer of the silo, which has revolutionized the system of feeding cattle. He developed a system for the management of feeding beef cattle at a profit, and many other of his ideas have been embodied in modern work along this line. On leaving Purdue University, Professor Cochel went to the Pennsylvania State College, where he continued in charge of the animal husbandry department until July, 1912, when he accepted an invitation to the Kansas State College of Agriculture and has continued a resident of Manhattan ever since.
The outstanding feature of Professor Cochel’s work as head of the animal husbandry division and animal husbandry experiment station, includes the determining of a method whereby by-products may be best utilized toward beef production; the use of grain sorghums for feeding livestock, and also of solving the problem of wintering beef cattle. At a glance even the layman can recognize the vast importance attaching to such duties and can recognize that only one thoroughly familiar with the subject, trained along this line, with definite knowledge gained by experience, could ever hope to bring about practical solutions. He has acted as an expert judge of cattle at many expositions and fairs. He has served as president of the American Society of Animal Production; is a member of the American Breeders’ Association; of the National Geographical Society; of the National Society for the Promotion of Science, and of the American Genetic Society. He still maintains membership in his old Greek letter college fraternities, the Alpha Zeta and the Phi Kappa Phi.
In 1907 Professor Cochel was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Fahnestock. They are members of the Presbyterian Church. For a number of years he has been identified with the Masonic fraternity but politically has never been active.