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Three New Mexicans Honored at NMSU Awards Day

LAS CRUCES - Three New Mexicans were honored for their contributions to the agricultural industry April 24 by New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences . State Sen. Tim Jennings received the New Mexico Outstanding Leadership Award, Bob Jones received the Leyendecker Agriculturalist of Distinction Award and Harold Cousland, editor of the Las Cruces Sun-News received the TDA Cockrell Award.

Jerry Schickedanz, the college's interim dean and chief administrative officer announced the award winners as NMSU's Interim Vice President John Owens presented them.

Jennings, of Roswell, was elected to the New Mexico State Senate in 1979, and serves as Senate majority leader. He runs sheep and cattle on the Pehasco valley ranch near Roswell, where he was raised.

Jennings has supported New Mexico agriculture in the Senate, including funding for a Cooperative Extension Service sheep specialist and the Agricultural Science Center at Artesia. During the last legislative session, he fought to restore $250,000 in funding to Extension and NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station.

Jennings has been active in community organizations, serving as chairman of Chaves County Red Cross, and as a board member of Pioneer Savings and Loan, the Southeastern New Mexico Grazing Association and the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District.

Jones, who ranches near Alamogordo, is an advocate for New Mexico agriculture and the rural lifestyle. "I don't think anybody can stay at home and not get involved, because so many decisions that affect our livelihood are made in other places," Jones said.

In addition to his ranch work, Jones is involved in the Paragon Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to protect constitutional principles. He is working to prohibit low-level training flights by German Air Force planes in Otero and Lincoln counties that disturb cattle and residents.

Jones was the first president of both the Southern New Mexico Grazing Association and the New Mexico Public Lands Council. He then served on the executive board of the National Public Lands Council. Jones also has been active in the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association and the National Cattlemen's Association.

Cousland of Las Cruces received the TDA Cockrell Award, which is given in memory of Theodore Dru Alison Cockrell, a professor who came to NMSU in 1893.

Cousland, editor of the Las Cruces Sun-News, grew up on a ranch in Luna County. He has supported agriculture throughout his 34-year newspaper career, which has included positions with the Arizona Republic, Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican and the Deming Headlight.

Under his leadership, the Sun-News has increased both daily and Sunday circulation for the past three years. Cousland has emphasized local news and added "Ag Corner," which features agriculture briefs. His local news emphasis is credited with raising Sun-News readership in Dona Ana County to 88 percent.