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NMCIA Names Three Honorary members

LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico Crop Improvement Association (NMCIA) recently presented three New Mexicans, one posthumously, with honorary memberships for their lifelong devotion to agriculture during its annual meeting in Roswell.


Glen Staten, a retired New Mexico State University professor, was honored for his outstanding contributions as an agronomist. During his career as an NMSU agronomist, Staten was recognized as one of the top authorities on cotton breeding in the nation. He assumed responsibility for the university's breeding program in the mid-1950s, and several Acala 1517 varieties were released under his leadership. Staten also was involved in other plant breeding projects. He initiated NMSU's alfalfa breeding program, producing the first variety in the United States that had Fusarium wilt resistance.

C.W. "Wilbur" Gaines, a longtime Luna County farmer and banker, also received honorary membership. Gaines' dedication to providing the highest quality seed of the best-adapted varieties was well known, said Charles Glover, NMCIA administrative officer. Gaines was elected to the NMCIA Board of Directors in 1951, and held that position until 1986. He was actively involved with association activities and was often called upon by College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences administrators for advice. Gaines was a founding father of the 1517 Cotton Association in 1947, and served as president of that association from 1962 to 1985.

The final recipient, J.V. "Rip" Curtis, was honored posthumously by the association during its Feb. 9 meeting. Curtis, a lifelong Clovis area resident, founded Curtis & Curtis Seed in 1956, and held membership in several other seed-trade organizations. He was active with the New Mexico Seedsmen's Association. Curtis served as an NMCIA board member from 1971 to 1988, and was association president from 1980 to 1981. Most recently, Curtis served as vice chairperson for the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Commission until his death on Aug. 21, 1994. Curtis' wife, Thelma, accepted the award on his behalf.

New Mexico State University's Board of Regents designated the NMCIA as the official seed certifying agency for the state. The association also serves as the foundation seed agency for releases of crop varieties from NMSU's Agricultural Experiment Station.