Writer: Norman Martin
CLOVIS - In response to surging growth in the nation's fastest-growing dairy state, Robert Hagevoort has been named to a new Extension dairy specialist post with New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.
New Mexico ranks seventh nationally in dairy product sales, with dairies adding more than $730 million to the state's economy. Two factors have driven this growth: excellent environmental conditions, especially on New Mexico's eastern side near Clovis and Portales, and a restrictive regulatory atmosphere in California that is pushing new operations to the state.
"The main reason for having a dairy specialist out here on the east side is to act as a liaison between local dairy operators and state and federal agencies, particularly in dealing with environmental and water quality issues," Hagevoort said. "There are a number of governmental mandates coming down the pike that this region's producers are going to be held to."
One of Hagevoort's roles will be to interpret what agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency require and help local dairy operators understand and follow those guidelines.
A portion of Hagevoort's time will be spent in dairy research. "Right now, we want to identify what the needs are for dairy producers in this area and then make plans to address those research issues," he said.
Sharon Lombardi, executive director of Dairy Producers of New Mexico, said "We're excited about having a dairy extension specialist with Dr. Hagevoort's experience and knowledge. I look forward to working with him on issues that affect our New Mexico producers, I know he will be an excellent resource for us."
Prior to joining NMSU, Hagevoort served for 10 years as an independent dairy consultant, primarily in California's southern and central valley. Before that he worked for two years as an in-house nutritionist for Goshen, California-based O.H. Kruse Grain and Milling.
"Many of the dairymen I worked with in California have found new homes in eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle," he said.
Hagevoort, a native of Holland, earned his bachelor's degree in tropical animal production from the Deventer (The Netherlands) College for Tropical Agriculture. He received a master's degree in range nutrition and doctorate in animal nutrition from Texas A&M University.
He will work at the 164-acre Clovis science center, located 15 miles north of Clovis on State Road 288.
© 2013 New Mexico State University Board of Regents
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