Advisory Team For The Future of Agricultural Research
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News Article - NMSU College of ACES Evaluates Agricultural Science Center SystemWith the help of a team of advisors, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is conducting an evaluation of the 12 centers around the state.
July 26, 2018
Review of the Committee Assignment (Steve and Natalie)
a. Charge to the committee – conduct an objective and comprehensive review of the Agricultural Experiment Station and the off-campus ASCs. Are we doing the type of research that is needed to meet the needs of our stakeholders? What additional research is necessary to meet the needs of our stakeholders in the future? How do we ensure that we can continue to meet stakeholder needs with limited resources? What are the options for increased funding?
b. The final report from this committee is due to Dr. Flores by Dec. 1, 2018. The report needs to be concise (up to 5 pages). It was decided that the report should address the AES as a whole (all ASCs together) without discussing each ASC in detail, however examples from ASCs can be used to illustrate specific points. It was also decided that supplemental material for each center would be provided that will provide more details.
Review of the ASC Questionnaires (group discussion)
a. We need to look at how and why each station was established and determine if they are fulfilling their mission. Are they meeting the needs of their stakeholders? Are they able to adjust research efforts to fit the changing needs of their stakeholders?
b. What is gained from closing each center and what is the cost?
c. Shad recommended that we use the ASC profiles as part of the supplemental material.
d. Bruce Davis mentioned that every business needs to assess their business and cut out the deadwood pretty regularly or the deadwood just builds up. He thought this committee was a good and needed exercise. He believes none of the centers needs to be closed – but we need to cut out the deadwood.
i. He recommended another committee after this one should meet with each center and the advisory boards to see where we go from here.  ii. He also noted that the Extension network is a powerful mechanism for disseminating information. He also suggested that the ASCs should seek help from the stakeholders in disseminating information (producers talk to and respect the opinions of other producers – they can let each other know what works and doesn’t work for their industries).
e. There was a discussion on the importance of stakeholder input and the need for some ASCs to more effectively use their advisory boards. There was also a discussion on the desire to have advisory boards communicating with each other and, potentially, the development of a state-wide advisory board (make-up could include members from each centers advisory board).
f. Did we get the information we needed on what the future research efforts could be? The answers to this question were varied. Some centers did a good job of identifying potential areas for growth while other focused more on continuing the type of work they are already doing.
g. A weakness in the questionnaire was identified in that we did not ask about current collaborative efforts among the ASCs, with campus faculty, with CES and with external partners (agencies, university, NGOs, etc.). We also didn’t ask about what opportunities there might be to increase these types of collaborative efforts. Natalie will send an email to the ASC Superintendents to get answers to these questions (deadline August 2).
h. In the questionnaire, we also did not ask about the ASCs contribution to the teaching mission of the college. Many grad students conduct part or all of their research at off-campus ASCs, but this was still identified as an area for improvement by the LFC. The distance from NMSU main campus and the need for housing at the ASCs were noted as challenges. In addition to distance education classes and housing, good course scheduling is necessary to avoid adding too much time to a degree program.
i. The ASCs are inadequately funded in both personnel and operations. Yet, they continue to function and conduct impactful research. What opportunities exist to increase funding?
i. Endowed Chairs?
ii. Producers/Industry – donations, contracts, cooperative/commodity assessments?
iii. IDC for grants conducted at the ASCs should be returned to the ASCs. These unrestricted funds can be to used to help purchase equipment and supplies, pay for personnel, and help with maintenance of improvements to facilities.
v. Land-use fees
vii. The university needs to allow the ASCs to use their local advisory boards and legislators to seek state support for Capital Outlay at the centers. The view of the legislators is that if we don’t ask for money, then we don’t need it. Stakeholder support has been the key to increased funding at the better funded stations. It should not be overlooked, however that this effort for state funding is still taking a piece of the state legislature’s pie, which is limited. viii. The question was asked about GO Bonds and whether or not there is an opportunity for a future GO Bond to support infrastructure and deferred maintenance for off-campus facilities.
What should be included in the report?
a. An introductory paragraph on the mission of the AES and the history of the Experiment Station and the ASCs in New Mexico. This paragraph should include a discussion of the two types of facilities that we have: facilities without faculty that serve as ‘research support labs’ for campus-based faculty (Fabian Garcia, Leyendecker, CDRRC and Corona) and off-campus centers with faculty stationed at the center. Steve Loring will write this paragraph.
b. A paragraph on how well the ASCs are helping to meet the AES mission. What is the overall impact of the stations - economic impacts, community impacts, other impacts (change in behavior, increased knowledge, etc.). Key station impacts could be used as examples here with more impacts being included in the supplemental material. Jerry Sims, Jane Pierce and Dave Lowry will write this section.
c. A paragraph on the future research possibilities and the potential to increase collaborations: Among ASCs, with main campus (including increasing collaboration with graduate students), with CES, and with external entities (industry, NGO’s, other universities, etc.). Steve Guldan, Stephanie Walker and Aaron Scott will write this section.
d. Paragraph on the potential for ASC faculty to support the teaching mission of the college: teaching distance education classes, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, hosting student tours (this could help with recruiting graduate students who would be interested in working with station faculty). Jerry Sims and Clint Loest will write this section.
e. A paragraph on the need for effective use of Advisory Boards, the potential need for a state-wide advisory broad, and better communication between existing broads. Shad Cox and Clint Loest will write this section.
f. A paragraph on the need for effective and increased communication/dissemination of the impact of the work conducted at the stations – marketing and PR. Effective use of the Extension network of agents and specialists, and effective use of stakeholders in delivering our message. Stephanie Walker and Shengrui Yao will write this section.
g. A paragraph on resource needs and funding options. Steve Loring, Shad Cox and Dave Lowry will write this section.
h. Uniqueness of centers (research questions, soils, geographic and climatic variability, etc. Natalie will write this section.
i. The Consequences of closing centers. Cost to the community, stakeholders, employees, etc.? (Perhaps include a sentence on the need for this type of decision to be made above the level of this committee). Jane Pierce and Steve Guldan will write this section.
July 19, 2017
The first meeting of the Advisory Committee to assess the future of Agricultural Research met on Wednesday, July 19 at the Bernalillo County Extension Office. The Committee received a welcome from Dean Rolando Flores and he briefed the team on the overall goals and objectives for this critically important committee. He emphasized the need to do a comprehensive review of the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and the Agricultural Science Centers (ASCs), including funding, staffing, facilities, research activities, and community/industry partnerships.
Following the Dean's briefing, Steve Loring provided some background information for the committee on the mission of AES and the ASCs. He discussed the reasons why the ASCs are located where they are, how they are funded, and noted that each center has local support from clientele groups and from their legislative representatives.
The team then engaged in an open discussion on these topics. From the discussion, additional information was requested prior to the next committee meeting. The background information requested includes more information on current research efforts, real estate appraisals for each of the centers, and a one-page white paper from each of the ASC's on their sustainability over the next 5 - 10 years (what do they need to ensure they are able to continue to meet the needs of their clientele). Additionally, the team is interested in learning about what other states are doing regarding this same topic. The information requested will be provided to the committee by September 15 and the next Committee Meeting will be held October 12 at the Corona Ranch.
Please see the minutes for more detailed information.
October 12, 2017
The AES Advisory Team met at the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center on October 26, 2017. During this meeting, the team discussed how to move forward in assessing the ASCs. Many options were discussed, and it was decided that subcommittees would be developed around sub-groups of the ASCs. The team was divided into three subcommittees as follows:
- Northern Subcommittee (Sustainable Agricultural Science Center at Alcalde, John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center at Mora, Agricultural Science Center at Farmington, and Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas)
- Southern - Eastern Subcommittee (Fabian Garcia Research Center, Leyendecker Plant Science Center, Agricultural Science Center at Artesia, Agricultural Science Center at Clovis and Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari)
- Animal Facility Subcommittee (Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center, Corona Range and Livestock Research Center and Clayton Livestock Research Center) The teams were tasked with reviewing their group of ASCs with respect to the following:
- Metrics - how do we compare one ASC to another? Are there common metrics that make sense to use so that we can make a judgment that is based on data and not just on subjective options? Who is the audience for these decisions?
- Assessment for the success of the ASCs - Are the research goals and objectives of each center meeting needs of clientele? How are the ASCs connected to the overall mission of NMSU and ACES? How are the ASCs integrated with CES and the academic programs?
- Resources - What are the resources needs for research, operations, and infrastructure improvements across the centers? How can we increase resources for the centers?
- Advice/input from stakeholders - How do we ensure that we are meeting the needs of our stakeholders?
- Communication - how do we communicate our impacts? Within NMSU? To Legislators? To stakeholders and the public? To funding agencies and potential research partners?
The ASC Advisory Team will meet in April to review the reports of the subcommittees.
See the minutes for more details and for subcommittee assignments.
April 2, 2018
The AES Advisory Team met at the Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas on April 2, 2018. Each of the ASC Subcommittee's presented a report on their approach to assessing their subgroup of ASCs. Each team had a unique approach to the task. The Team also discussed the Legislative Finance Report that had recently been released. The Team determined the follow information needs to be gathered for each ASC:
- A description of how each ASC Advisory Board functions
- The primary stakeholders for each ASC
- The economic value of the primary agricultural commodities produced near each of the ASCs
- The stakeholders general perception of each ASC
- The strength and weakness of each ASC
- The new agricultural enterprises might develop near each ASC and the ASC needs in order to be prepared to address stakeholder needs in this area
- How each ASC communicates their efforts/impacts to NMSU administrators, legislators, stakeholders, the public, funding agencies, and research partners
- What makes each ASC unique
- The resources needed to sustain and grow each ASC
- The current sources of funding for each ASC
- The opportunities for increased or new sources of funding at each ASC
- The greatest impacts (including economic impacts) of each ASC over the past 5 years
- The effect of closing each ASC on the stakeholders and the community
Much of this information is already known and a report document will be developed for each ASC. The document will be sent to the ASC superintendents to fill in the information that is still needed. The ASC Advisory Team will meet in July to discuss these ASC reports and establish a method for developing the final report of this committee.
Please see the minutes for more detailed information.
- Natalie Goldberg, Interim Associate Dean and AES Director | Co-Chair
- Steve Loring, AES Associate Director | Co-Chair/Facilitator
- Bruce Davis, Rancher, member of the Advisory Board at Clayton
- Roland Sanchez, MD from Belen
- Dino Cervantes, Chile Processor, Las Cruces
- Blake Curtis, Seed Producer, Clovis
- Dina Chacón-Reitzel, NM Beef Council
- Craig Ogden, NM Farm & Livestock Bureau
- Shad Cox, Superintendent Corona
- Steve Guldan, Superintendent Alcalde
- Jane Pierce, Assoc. Professor Artesia ASC
- Shengrui Yao, Assoc. Professor Alcalde ASC
- Dave Lowry, Farm Manager Leyendecker
- Aaron Scott, Farm Manager Clovis
- Stephanie Walker, Assoc. Professor EPS
- Clint Loest, Professor ANRS
- Jerry Sims, Department Head EPPWS