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2012 Mentors

Constance L. Fauk

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M. Eugene Sundt Honors Professor Department of Agricultural Economics & Agricultural Business

My undergraduate degree is a BA in English, from Oklahoma State University. My initial plan was to be a journalist, and I worked for four years on the student newspaper at OSU, writing, editing, and taking pictures. I also worked every summer while an undergraduate at some news organization, including United Press International, The Oklahoma City Times, and in Arkansas at a small regional weekly. Before completing my BA I decided to join the Peace Corps, and applied right before graduation. I received an offer to work in Nepal teaching English in a remote mountain village. I could not envision myself doing that, even though I'd taught as a senior in college, a class in English composition to freshman. So I thought I would go back to school to get a master's degree to obtain a different skill set for Peace Corps. In 1985, I obtained an MBA from OSU, and two weeks after turning in my thesis project, which examined consumer characteristics of geothermal heat pump owners, I was in Honduras for Peace Corps training as a small business advisor. I was particularly happy that Honduras was the country of my service since I wanted to learn Spanish. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I helped many small business owners, such as tailors, seamstresses, potters, weavers, shoemakers, furniture makers, small retailers and others improve their marketing, accounting, financial and organizational systems. I was working in the micro-credit sector, even though in the early 1980s, that term was not used. I also helped coordinate a training program for Honduran small business owners in Vermont, the partner state with Honduras in Partners of the Americas. For the last half of my 3-year service, I was the volunteer coordinator for the business sector, and I travelled throughout Honduras providing technical assistance to other volunteers and local communities involved in various income-generation activities.

Two weeks after returning from Honduras, I was enrolled in the OSU PhD program in agricultural economics, where I worked on the economics of multi-crop vegetable packing facilities in southern Oklahoma. Two weeks after defending my dissertation in August 1988, I began my job as assistant professor at NMSU. Today, 24 years later, I am on the cusp of retirement, and look back fondly at all of the interesting projects I have been involved in across the state of NM and beyond. I have done research and consulting work in the economics and marketing of goat cheese, apples, potatoes, onions, Longhorn beef, natural dye plants, broccoli, season extension (high and low tunnels) in leafy greens, chile, medicinal herbs, pulp tree cooperative development, and turkey processing. This summer I have been working on a project with the owner of a lamb slaughter plant and lamb marketing company, building a linked financial model that will enable the plant owner to closely monitor the financial impacts of investment and marketing plan changes.

I have taught many classes over the years including microcomputers, agricultural marketing, agribusiness management, financial feasibility analysis, international trade, economic development, sustainable economic development, and in the honors college classes in world food problems, urban agriculture, and organic field production using the Community Supported Agriculture model. I've taken students on spring break study tour trips to Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. In 2011, I applied for and was competitively awarded the M. Eugene Sundt endowed chair in the Honors College. I am currently preparing to teach a class next spring in the Honors College on the topic of climate change science, policy, and politics.

For hobbies, I enjoy painting with oils and pastels, my garden and cats, reading, hiking, music, exercise, and word games.

Willis M. Fedio

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Director, Food Safety Laboratory, New Mexico State University: Center for Animal Health, Food Safety and Biosecurity

Dr. Willis Fedio is the Director of New Mexico State University's Food Safety Laboratory. The Food Safety Laboratory was established in 2001 to evaluate rapid methods for the detection of microorganisms in foods for the US Food and Drug Administration. In 2007, the FSL became a unit in the Center for Animal Health, Food Safety and Biosecurity in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The Food Safety Laboratory employs student assistants and contributes to teaching and research efforts of other NMSU Departments. In 2007 we became a Food Emergency Response Network laboratory, and in 2009 a FERN Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program laboratory. We are on standby to provide assistance to FDA and USDA laboratories if a foodborne disease outbreak occurs and they require laboratory support. The FERN program has enabled us to acquire additional equipment and increase our capabilities.

Dr. Fedio comes from Edmonton, Canada, got his BSc in Genetics at the University of Alberta and worked in a genetic toxicology laboratory testing the mutagenic activity of chemicals in the environment before continuing onto graduate school. He joined the Department of Food Science and worked on Salmonella growth at suboptimal temperatures for his MSc project. He continued his PhD in Food Microbiology at the University of Alberta and studied the incidence and origins of Listeria monocytogenes in raw milk and factors affecting its thermal resistance. Willis worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with the Alberta Dairy Association Research Unit for 5 years on industry driven projects.

Dr. Fedio was an Assistant Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK where he taught food microbiology, fluid products processing, quality assurance for the food industry, introductory food science and graduate level food microbiology courses. Dr. Fedio joined NMSU as a Food Technology Specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service where he worked with small food processors to start up food businesses and conducted HACCP trainings for very small meat processors. During that time, he got involved with NMSU's Physical Science Laboratory and started up the Food Safety Laboratory.

His research interests include rapid methods for the detection of pathogenic bacteria in foods, incidence of pathogens in the food supply, food fermentations and methods to control microorganisms in foods. Dr. Fedio and the FSL research group have provided the FDA and FERN with method assessment, development and validation data for commodities identified in national food safety and food defense programs. The NMSU FSL is working with FDA scientists on the development and evaluation of food microbiology procedures. Methods include Real Time PCR for detection of E. coli O157:H7, Listeria spp., Salmonella, and Vibrio spp. in a wide range of foods; immunoassays for detection of Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli O157:H7; use of PCR for detection of Shigella and Vibrio spp.; and Real Time PCR with IMS for detection of E. coli O157:H7 in produce and meat.

Dr. Fedio is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, International Association for Food Protection, American Society for Microbiology and the Society for Applied Microbiology.

Brian H. Hurd

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Brian Hurd is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business at New Mexico State University. He earned his MS and PhD from the University of California, Davis, and graduated magna cum laude, with a BA in both Economics and Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder. With more than 20 years of experience in both private consulting and in academic research, he teaches and conducts research on the economics of natural resources, watersheds, food security and the agro-environment. Through his research he aims to improve the economy and performance of water and agricultural systems, policies and institutions across New Mexico, the region, and globally by better managing weather and climate risk. His research includes cost-benefit assessment and non-market valuation of natural and environmental resources, economics of production agriculture, and the assessment of impacts and adaption of water and agricultural systems to climate change.

He is an expert in the economic analysis of land and water resources and, in particular, climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessment. He is internationally recognized for his path-breaking research on the impacts of climatic variability and change on water and agricultural resources. His contributions on climate change assessment methods include developing materials to guide non-annex I countries in developing baseline scenarios for the UNDP. He has lectured and provided expert assistance in various countries including, Tunisia, Spain, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Australia, and Italy (see table 1). He has provided in-country technical assistance on climate change methods and approaches for several developing countries. For example, on assignment for USAID and the U.S. Country Studies Program he developed guidance materials and provided technical training to representatives of West and Central African nations regarding climate change assessment methods and baseline scenario development in Dakar, Senegal July (2000). In 1999, he provided technical assistance on methods and procedures for conducting a national climate change assessment for the Tunisian Ministry of Environment and Land Use Planning, including presentations on methods and approaches on (1) baseline scenarios for agricultural impacts; (2) socioeconomic baseline assessment methods; and (3) methods for assessing ecosystem impacts. And also in 1999, he organized and chaired a session on climate change impacts at the International Workshop on the Development of Climate Change Action Plans for the U.S. Country Studies Program and Asian Development Bank in Manila, Philippines. His research contributions can be found in numerous book chapters and reports and journals including the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Risk Analysis, and Climate Research. Dr. Hurd is presently teaching courses in water resource management and policy and in global food and agriculture. In his spare time Dr. Hurd enjoys music, playing guitar and songwriting, travel, landscapes, cooking and juggling. He is married 23 years to his life's love, Lynn, he has two teenage daughters, Sarah and Molly, and two delightful dogs, Zoe and Elmo.

Carol A. Sutherland

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Extension Entomologist, New Mexico State University (0.5FTE) - And-State Entomologist, New Mexico Department of Agriculture (0.5FTE)

My interest in insects really started when I was an undergraduate at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. I had an especially good professor teaching the first-ever entomology class at BSU. Lectures were interesting, but field trips and learning about insect identification, biology and ecology through collecting inspired me to pursue it as a career. With additional support and recommendations from other professors in the BSU Biology Department, I successfully applied to the Entomology Department at Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon) for a Ph.D. Additional honors and monetary support (for 3 years of study) also came from a National Defense Education Act Fellowships.

While I worked in the BSU Biology Department as an undergraduate and in the OSU Entomology Collection as a graduate student, my first job as a professional was with the University of Florida in Gainesville, where I worked with Integrated (Insect) Pest Management programs involving high value crops such as celery, tomatoes and chrysanthemums.

In 1980, I moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I began my career at New Mexico State University, working on the Range Caterpillar Project in the Entomology and Plant Pathology Department. As that project ended, I became the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program Coordinator for New Mexico, surveying selected insect populations in four

(plant) crops, generating weekly and quarterly reports, and starting a program newsletter mailed to readers throughout the region.

In 1987, I transferred to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture where I served as Chief for the Bureau of Entomology and Nursery Industries. In 1998, I assumed my current split appointment. My current duties include:

  • performing annually 800-1100 arthropod identifications for county Extension agents, cooperating government agencies, colleagues and the general public, making control recommendations for at least half of them.
  • teaching basic entomology for Pesticide Applicator Trainees; advising current licensees of significant insect discoveries and population trends.
  • preparing programs and supplementary information for attendees at commodity group workshops and conferences as well as the state's Master Gardener programs*preparing entomology programs and supplementary information for youth, including state 4H and Future Farmers of America.