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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Onion Breeder Retires after 36 Years

LAS CRUCES -- Joe Corgan, professor of agronomy and horticulture at New Mexico State University, retired Oct. 31 after 36 years of service.

Corgan came to NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences in 1960. His crop research during the early years ranged from potatoes to peaches. More recently, his focus has been on onions.

Since his onion breeding program began releasing new varieties, New Mexico's onion production has increased steadily -- from 3,600 acres in 1981 to 9,900 in 1993. Cash value for the pungent crop more than tripled during that time.

NuMex Centric, NuMex Crispy, NuMex Luna, NuMex Mesa and NuMex Vado are just a few of the high-quality, high-yielding varieties bred by Corgan that gave area growers an economic boost.

Corgan was inducted this year as a Fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Science based on his sustained and significant contributions to research, teaching and industry.

In 1992, he was selected as the first professor to occupy the college's Jose Fernandez endowed chair in field crop production. His research efforts also were recognized in 1987 when he received the Distinguished Research Award from the college.

During retirement, Corgan will continue his work with the onion breeding program part-time. He plans to supervise data collection on experimental plots and provide continuity to the program until his replacement is hired.