By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
A mixture of 50 local officials, farmers, ranchers and residents attended the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari’s annual Field Day.
Mesalands Community College President Thomas Newsom and Arch Hurley Conservancy District’s Manager Franklin McCasland were among the officials attending the event.
Lowell Catlett, dean emeritus of NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, kicked things off with a short speech about the importance of the work being done at science centers such as the one in Tucumcari.
“Now before I begin, I want to let you all know that I actually grew up on what you all would call the wrong end of the state line, on a ranch near Dalhart, Texas,” Catlett said.
Catlett said last year, NMSU President Garrey Carruthers brought the rain with him to the Field Day. “If you’re wondering what I brought. I brought the heat,” Catlett added.
The temperatures had reached 101 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.
Catlett said he was glad the heat had not deterred people from attending the event. He said that the work done at the science center benefits more than just the local community.
“The work that is done here today will make a difference in our future,” Catlett said.
Catlett said the research conducted by science center staffs in the state will have impacts across the nation and around the world. He said work done at the science centers leads to the development of new practices and techniques that can be used by others in regions experiencing hardships with growth and sustained production of crops.
“This center is a true treasure to the community and I thank you for your support for the work done here,” Catlett said.
The Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari is NMSU’s oldest continuously operating off-campus research facility and has a diverse on-site research program, said Superintendent Leonard Lauriault, who added that programs at the center help to serve stakeholders locally and throughout the state involved in irrigated and non-irrigated cropping systems, forages and livestock.
Attendees enjoyed a free brisket dinner catered by Logan’s Tumbleweed 4-H Club that was followed by a hay wagon tour of some of the center’s research projects.
The field tour included presentations from John Heckendorn, a member of Tucumcari Feed Efficiency Testing, LLC, on upgrading the bull-testing facility.
NMSU State Extension agronomist John Idowu spoke about tillage and nitrogen effects on silage corn. Tucumcari’s semi-arid cropping systems specialist Murali Darapuneni discussed manure applications in strip tillage systems.