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Catlett honored for service to agriculture

Lowell B. Catlett, dean of the New Mexico State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics, was awarded the Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) at their annual meeting in February.



New Mexico State University's Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics Lowell B. Catlett was awarded the Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers at their annual meeting in February. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The award, named for a previous distinguished ASFMRA member, is presented each year to an individual in appreciation for service to agriculture other than directly in the farm management and rural appraisal professions.

"Lowell Catlett has been a very effective and vigorous ambassador for agriculture as well as for New Mexico State University," said James Libbin, an NMSU professor of agricultural economics and business who nominated Catlett for the award. "Lowell is widely respected as a futurist. Because of his leadership, it is truly an exciting time to be a faculty member in the college."

Catlett said he was especially honored to receive this award because it comes from practitioners.

"I was honored to receive this award from people out on the ground," Catlett said. "This organization is made up of people making their living in the industry, which is where I come from."

Catlett grew up on a farm and ranch in Dalhart, Texas. He earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural business and economics from West Texas State University, his master's in agricultural economics at NMSU and his doctorate in economics at Iowa State University. Catlett started his NMSU career as an assistant professor in 1978 and was selected to serve as dean in April 2006.

He holds an NMSU Regents Professorship in agricultural economics and agricultural business and is a 1990 winner of the Westhafer Award for Teaching, NMSU's top faculty honor. Catlett also was a visiting economist for the U.S. Department of the Interior and has traveled internationally to consult and speak to top executives of many of the world's most progressive companies.

"He is constantly sought for counsel by firms outside of NMSU, peers and students," Libbin said. "He willingly accepted the role of interim dean, acting associate dean and acting department head for extended periods during his career when it became clear that a true leader and mediator was needed. His accomplishments as a teacher, researcher, public speaker, consultant and dean truly move agriculture forward."

Gene Meurer, with the Heartland Ag Group Ltd. in Illinois and the ASFMRA awards committee chair, said the organization sees this award as a way to reach out to others in the agricultural community and let them know that the organization is committed to the continuation of all agricultural endeavors. He said Catlett was "most deserving of the award."

The ASFMRA is the premier organization for professionals who provide management, valuation and consulting services on agricultural and rural assets. It has 2,500 members throughout the U.S. and Canada.