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Range Improvement Task Force Members

This team of specialists was assembled to serve as unbiased, professional, fact-finding advisors and educators on the subject of rangeland use. At the direction of New Mexico's 33rd Legislature, the team was organized to expand the research and education program in range management at New Mexico State University.

Team members work with ranchers and public land agencies toward effective range resource conservation and economic improvement for range livestock industry.

Sam Smallidge, Interim Coordinator RITF, Extension Wildlife Management Specialist

Assistant Professor / Wildlife Specialist

Department Affiliation: Animal Sciences & Natural Resources, Animal & Range Sciences

  • PhD New Mexico State University 2005
  • Range ecology and management and monitoring
  • Wildlife and livestock interactions

Wildlife/Rangeland Management Education Programs

Wildlife/Range Programs

  • Monitoring New Mexico Rangelands

  • Monitoring Riparian Areas

  • Drought Management

  • Livestock Management Practices and Wolves

  • Elk-Livestock Interactions: Implications to Rangelands

  • Carbon sequestration on New Mexico Rangelands

4-H and Youth Education

  • State Range Contest

  • Shooting Sports State Contest: Hunting

General Range Programs

  • General consultation

  • Regional and National Activities

  • Research Cooperation with WRRI and NMSU personnel

  • Graduate Committee Service

  • FFA State Pasture and Range Contest

Research Efforts

Research interests include agriculture-wildlife interactions and animal-plant interactions.

  • Elk-livestock interactions

  • Riparian Restoration

  • Oak brush manipulation and management

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John M. Fowler RITF Agricultural Economist NMSU Tom Linebery Policy Center: Chair

Department Affiliation: Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources, Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business

  • PhD Iowa State University 1979
  • Federal land policy, management and impact assessments *Forest management

Current Program Areas Federal Land Policy

Ranch Profitability

Economics of Restoration

Private Property Rights

Rights versus Privileges on Federal Land

Santa Fe Ranch Manager

Educational Projects

Wilderness impacts to range livestock industry

Otero Mesa oil and gas interactions with range livestock

Lea County oil and gas legacy well analysis

Pinyon Juniper response to management

Santa Fe Ranch demonstration project 28-year thinning analysis in four locations throughout of New Mexico

James Fowler

Christopher D. Allison

Professor Department Head

Department Affiliation: Animal Sciences and Natural Resources, Animal & Range Sciences

  • PhD Texas A&M University 1978
  • Range ecology management and monitoring
  • Range livestock, drought and poisonous plant management

  • Administratively responsible for all Extension Natural Resources and Animal Science Programs and the Clayton Livestock Research Programs

  • Areas of expertise: Grazing Management and Systems, Plant Toxicology; Range Nutrition; Rangeland Monitoring

Chris Allison

Alexander "Sam" Fernald, Asst. Professor Rangeland Resources,

Associate Professor Watershed Management

Department Affiliation: Animal and Range Sciences

  • PhD Colorado State University 1999
  • Surface water/groundwater interactions
  • Vegetation treatments on water quantity and quality


  • Rangeland Hydrology, Vegetation Management, and Water Resources

  • Forested watershed management, Mora, NM and vicinity

  • Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center Las Cruces, NM

  • Pinon-Juniper watershed management, Corona Livestock Research Center, Corona, NM

  • Forested watershed management, Cloudcroft, NM

  • Pinon-Juniper watershed management, Santa Fe Ranch, Santa Fe, NM

  • Surface Water / Ground Water Interactions and Acequia Hydrology

  • Alcalde Science Center, Alcalde, NM

  • Taos


  • Watershed Management

  • Forestry and Society

  • Watershed Measurements and Methods


  • Water Quality

  • Runoff and Erosion Management

  • Forest Watershed Health


Alexander Ferdinand

Jerry M. Hawkes, Range Livestock Economist

Assistant Professor / Range Livestock Economist

Department Affiliation: Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources, Agricultural Economics & Agricultural Business

  • PhD New Mexico State University 2004
  • Range livestock cost and return estimates
  • Rangeland economic policy and impacts

My responsibilities revolve around education opportunities as an Extension Specialist as well as an instructor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business. My current appointment is 51% Cooperative Extension and 49% Teaching responsibilities.

Educational Programs

  • Livestock Cost and Return Estimates (Projected and Actual, published annually)

  • Crop Cost and Return Estimates (Projected and Actual, published annually

  • Beef Marketing, a Value Added Approach for New Mexico Producers

  • Financial Record Keeping for New Mexico Producers

  • Economic considerations as they occur for New Mexico producers

Instructional Activities

  • Undergraduate Chair

  • Instruct five traditional classes

  • Coordinate the Distance Education component for Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business

  • Advise approximately 180 undergraduate students

  • Advise 6 graduate students (1 Ph D. and 5 Masters Students)

Service Activities

  • I am currently serving on 5 departmental committees

  • I am currently serving on 3 college committees

  • I am currently serving on 2 university committees

  • Co-Faculty advisor for the Rodeo Team

  • Faculty advisor for the Collegiate Farm and Livestock Bureau

  • Faculty advisor for Sigma Alpha

I would like to increase the efforts along the lines of more Value Added products for the beef producers. I am working with the NM Beef Council to begin the process of developing a state-wide marketing plan for beef. This may include a packing facility (although I think the preliminary numbers won't support this) and quite likely a branded product to engage the consumer and bring more recognition to New Mexico produced beef.

In addition for the teaching side I would like to develop a couple of classes that deal with the macro-side of agricultural business. We currently do not have any offered and this in my opinion is a big hole in the program.


Nicholas Ashcroft,Rangeland Management Specialist

Department Affiliation: Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources

Major Programs

  • Rangeland ecology monitoring/management and profitability

  • Agency/Industry conflict resolution and NEPA compliance

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Rangeland Brush Management Specialist, VACANT

Department Affiliation: Animal and Range Sciences Department, Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources

Major Programs

  • Ecology and control of shrubs and weeds

  • Rangeland vegetation management

Livestock Specialist, VACANT

Department Affiliation: Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources

Major Programs:

  • Beef and sheep production/management
  • Rangeland nutrition, ranch products evaluation, performance and quality analyses

Research Emphasis:

  • Evaluation of on-ranch calf preconditioning approaches

Riparian Specialist, VACANT

Department Affiliation: Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources

Major Programs

  • Riparian ecology and management

  • Forest and fire ecology and management