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Date: 12/14/2018

New Mexico Agricultural Leadership, an 18-month professional development program at New Mexico State University with a mission to develop dynamic leaders for the state’s agricultural, food and natural resource industries, will start funding scholarships for participants through a new endowment after receiving a final contribution from Farm Credit of New Mexico.


Members of the New Mexico Agricultural Leadership program’s Class 12 tour the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry farm in Farmington. The leadership program will start funding scholarships for participants through a new endowment. (Courtesy photo).

NMAL established an endowed fund in February 2017 and was able to raise the $25,000 investing principal through a combination of donations from alumni, supporters and Farm Credit of New Mexico. The fund will now begin to reinvest in NMAL participants through class scholarships, said Amanda Ball, NMAL program coordinator.

“This endowment will begin to provide financial security for the program, and help us recruit more independent producers, specialists and agribusiness men and women,” Ball said.

Established in 2001, NMAL is part of the Agricultural and Extension Education Department, which is housed in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at NMSU. Its mission is to develop knowledgeable, multicultural leaders for New Mexico’s agriculture, food and natural resource industries.

The program combines industry awareness with leadership development through six in-state seminars, a visit to Washington, D.C., and an international experience. More than 90 industry professionals have graduated from the program since its inception.

Generally, participant tuition is sponsored through organizations and companies supporting their employees — but the cost can be cumbersome for some smaller operations.

“New Mexico has always presented a challenge for her citizens. We are a large state, with small pockets of industry separated by vast distances,” NMAL Board President Bob Mayberry said. “As we strive to encompass participants from all areas of the state, it is imperative to offer assistance to deserving and qualified individuals to fulfill our goal of building leaders for agriculture in every community.”

While the program’s seminar topics change as new issues emerge, the core of leadership development and industry awareness remain unchanged. Mayberry believes it has only improved over time. “As the program has matured, the quality of the experience and training we offer has allowed us to become one of the top programs in the nation,” he said.

Cary Crist, vice president association business development officer at Farm Credit of New Mexico, said his company recognizes this value. “Seeing this program evolve has been extraordinary. We are proud to send our Farm Credit employees through the program, and support it financially through this endowment,” said Crist, who is a graduate of the first NMAL cohort.

Meanwhile, Ball said she is excited for the future of the fund. “It is a great start, and we are anxious to see it grow,” she said, adding that she hopes to continue building the account to offer more scholarships to Class 14, which begins in 2020.

The New Mexico Agricultural Leadership Endowed Fund is managed by the NMSU Foundation.

“NMAL is a perfect example of how New Mexico State University is also focused on outreach and educating our communities along with our students,” said Tina Byford, interim president of the NMSU Foundation. “New Mexico is dependent on the success of our agricultural leaders, and we’re pleased that NMSU will now offer scholarships to ensure our state stays at the helm of innovation in these top-producing industries.”

For more information, visit https://aces.nmsu.edu/nmal/.

Story written by Carlos Andres Lopez, carlopez@nmsu.edu.



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