Claude is a native of Eufaula, Oklahoma where he graduated from Eufaula High School. He continued his education earning a B.S. Degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University and a M.S. Degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Arkansas.
He started his career in Extension in Jackson County, Arkansas where he served as Assistant County Agent. Jackson County was a heavy row crop area. He then served as County Extension Agricultural Agent in Pope County and Washington County, Arkansas before becoming Agriculture Instructor at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma. From NEO, Claude took a position as Farm Manager for Latta Farms in Lincoln, AR. Latta Farms is a diversified farming operation in northwestern Arkansas.
Claude returned to Oklahoma and joined the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in 1988 as County Extension Agriculture Agent and CED in Pontotoc County. He served in this capacity before being named as District Director for the southeast district in 1996, the position he holds today.