- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico State University is not closing any of its 12 agricultural science centers in the state — at least not yet.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences conducted a self-evaluation of the centers earlier this month as it grapples with less funding in the face of a statewide budget crisis.

College of ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores says closing any of the centers would be a last resort.

“But it is on the table,” he said. “In a time of low budgets, we need to rationalize and properly manage our resources.”

Flores explained the self-evaluation process the college has begun during recent visits to the advisory boards at each agricultural center, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported (https://bit.ly/2rvfB0Q ).

“We have formed a committee to determine ways we can operate the research centers more efficiently as a whole, while reaching our goal of providing applied science that the agricultural producers may use in their operations to position themselves for success,” Flores said.

The committee includes private industry professionals, as well as some agricultural science center superintendents, college department heads and faculty members.

Flores also stated that the agricultural centers need to be self-sufficient.

An option for the College of ACES is to rely on the private sector for partnerships.

“”We need to start looking at different approaches as to how we fund research,” he said. “We need more involvement with private industry participating in research, sponsoring research.”

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