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Department of Ag cuts ribbon on new labs, breaks ground on renovations


New laboratories officially opened this morning (Thursday, July 13) are “a key component of services” offered by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture going forward, New Mexico Lt. Gov. Howie Morales said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the labs at 975 Agriculture Way, a short street on the NMSU Las Cruces campus between Knox and Espina streets. Agriculture has a $40 billion impact in New Mexico and generates nearly 260,000 jobs in the state, said Morales, who is acting governor, as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is out of state.

NMDA is one of only three state ag departments in the country (the other two are in South Carolina and Illinois) that not only regulates the ag industry but helps improve it, said interim NMSU Chancellor Jay Gogue.

“This facility is taking us into a whole new era and we’re very excited,” said  Leland Gould of the New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association.

“I’m impressed by what NMDA does for the state of New Mexico,” said NMSU Regent Deborah Romero.

The relationship between NMDA and the NMSU Board of Regents is “as old as our state,” said Regents President Ammu Devasthali. The state constitution, written in 1912 when New Mexico became a state, created NMDA, she said, and put it under the control of the regents at New Mexico’s land grant university, which is now NMSU.

NMDA led the regents, Morales, NMSU ag students and NMDA officials in breaking ground on the renovations to the NMDA building next door to the labs, at the corner of Espina Street and Agriculture Way. Witte said the building will be closed as of today (July 13) as renovations begin. USDA’s offices will move across the street to PSL during the renovations, he said. Witte said the NMSU building opened in 1975 and was the first solar heated and cooled building in the United States.