Science center celebrates centennial

More than 100 residents attended the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center Centennial celebration on Thursday.

Dave Thompson, associate dean and director Agricultural Experiment Station, NMSU, Las Cruces, explains the importance of agricultural research during the Centennial Ag Science day at the science center at Tucumcari.

The great advantages of having this research center in Tucumcari can never fully be measured, said Rex Kirksey, retired superintendent.

The center's first Ag Science Day was held Aug. 4 1912 and 96-year-old Horace Woods spoke about how agriculture has changed over the years.

Woods said we all know there is a drought, though for those who remember this isn't the first drought we have been through. He said during the Depression the drought became so severe it resulted in the Dust Bowl.

Woods said his father told him they just had to hold on, and that is what they did. He said if he can offer any advice it would be to hold on.

Also as part of the celebration the center's staff was honoring Kirksey for his 31 years as the center's superintendent.

Kirksey said the best part of his job was working with the youth. He said some were high school students, though many were college students working on their masters degree or higher.

Kirksey said being able to see them gain or increase their interest in agricultural science has been truly rewarding.

"We are losing a vast source of knowledge, though rest assured we are going to keep him involved as much as possible," said Leonard Lauriault, interim superintendent.

Lauriault said there are a lot of projects they are working on out at the science center. He said people should look forward to more exciting things to come.

One of those projects Lauriault was talking about is a wastewater irrigation study, a joint venture with the city of Tucumcari.

Kirksey said access to this consistent source of irrigation water will open many avenues of research for the center. He said it will yield information with the emphasis on treated water irrigation, a study which very few centers around the country can conduct.

Collaboration like this one will help to further the advancements of agricultural research, yielding benefits for everyone, said Dave Thompson, associate dean and director Agricultural Experiment Station, NMSU, Las Cruces.

Thompson said a project like this, which incorporates city, state and federal agencies, is what is needed to raise awareness for the need for additional funding to continue moving forward.

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