With nearly 95,000 acres devoted to the study of farming, ranching and forestry, New Mexico State University and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences have been honored as one of the 40 best college farms in America, according to College Ranker.
College Ranker is an online service based in Columbus, Ohio, geared toward prospective university students that develops rankings of various attributes of universities across the country. The rankings were determined using criteria such as hands-on experiences; student involvement; community outreach programs; workshops, classes and lectures; volunteering opportunities; and degree plan options, which includes agricultural economics and business, agronomy and animal science at NMSU.
Since the first 23 acres of land was purchased for the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1906, the AES system has grown in response to the agricultural needs of New Mexico, said David Thompson, associate dean of the college and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station System. The AES system now accounts for 94,884 acres of land specifically designated to studying farming, ranching and forestry. Each Agricultural Science Center addresses the unique needs and voices of the diverse regions of New Mexico they are rooted in.
The 1906 purchase is today the Fabian Garcia Research Center located on University Avenue in Las Cruces, and some of legendary researcher Fabian Garcias pecan trees still exist there.
Farming has always been part of the campus and the mission of the institution, said Steve Loring, associate director of the Agricultural Experiment Station System. Most people do not realize how much land NMSU has for agricultural research, since most of the land is scattered around the state.
NMSU is one of the few remaining universities in the country to have an animal science program with livestock on its main campus. Additionally, NMSU has a pair of certified organic acreages, and student-run organic gardens in Las Cruces and at the Sustainable Agricultural Science Center at Alcalde.
The state is our campus and our diverse farms provide unique training opportunities for NMSU students, Thompson said. Each Agricultural Science Center/campus farm has an advisory board made up of influential community and agricultural leaders who help to ensure that we are answering the questions and concerns of the region served by each ASC.
To view the entire ranking, visit http://www.collegeranker.com/ranking/best-college-farms/
Author: Tiffany Acosta – NMSU