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Fabian Garcia would have been so proud.
Garcia was a member of the first graduating class of the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, now New Mexico State University, graduating in 1894 and beginning a 50-year career with NMSU that contributed to the development of agriculture in the region, nation and around the world.
The great tradition he helped start at NMSU took another giant leap forward Nov. 3, as Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, NMSU interim President Jay Gogue, NMSU Board of Regents President Ammu Devasthali, New Mexico Dept. of Agriculture Sec. Jeff Witte and others cut the ribbon and officially opened NMSU’s new Food Science, Security and Safety Center and Animal Nutrition and Feed Manufacturing Facility on NMSU’s Las Cruces campus.
They are the first agriculture buildings on campus since the Skeen Building was completed more than two decades ago.
Construction on the buildings began in 2021 with funds from general obligation bonds approved by local voters in 2008 and 2020. Monetary contributions to the construction were also made by the New Mexico Beef Council, Caviness Beef Packers and other donors.
The new buildings “will benefit student education, support food and value-added research of agricultural products and facilitate labor training for the meat and food industry – thus directly impacting the food safety of our agricultural products and the economic impact of the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) in New Mexico,” ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores Galarza said in an NMSU news release.
“The new facility will allow the College of ACES and NMSU to become a regional provider of high-quality teaching, research and outreach in value-added agriculture and a hub for local, regional and international training in food science and bioprocessing,” said Efren Delgado, head of the family and Consumer Sciences and Extension Family and Consumer Sciences departments and co-director of the Center of Excellent in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems at NMSU.
The new facility will also support a newly proposed NMSU Ph.D. program in food science, Delgado said.
The facility’s state-of-the-art laboratories will support emerging research in functional foods, nutraceuticals, minimization of water usage in food production and dairy technology, Delgado said in the news release, and will consolidate NMSU’s livestock education and research into a single feed mill.