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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New Dairy Specialist Joins NMSU Extension

LAS CRUCES - A booming dairy industry and potential for new environmental regulations prompted New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service to choose a new state dairy specialist with a strong background in nutrient management.

"My training is in dairy nutrition and microbiology, so my plans are to help dairy farmers with nutrient management on the farm, both in feed nutrition and in terms of waste management," said Hilary Sullivan, who joined NMSU from The University of Georgia's dairy research program in Athens. She began her new duties earlier this month.

Prior to joining NMSU, Sullivan worked for six years as a research assistant in the animal science department at The University of Georgia.

"Hilary has already hit the ground running, and we're extremely pleased to have a person with her enthusiasm and knowledge here at the university," said Ron Parker, head of NMSU's Extension animal resources department in Las Cruces.

Sullivan is becoming involved in a number of dairy-related projects and is devoting a portion of her time to getting acquainted with the New Mexico dairy industry and its producers, he said.

"New Mexico is an up-and-coming dairy state," Sullivan said. "There have been rapid increases in cow numbers and therefore nutrient management is going to become more and more important, especially with new Environmental Protection Agency regulations in terms of confined dairy operations."

Over the past 20 years, the state's supply of dairy cows has grown exponentially. In 1981, there were about 49,000 dairy cows in the state. Today, the tally is 309,000, according to the New Mexico Agricultural Statistics Service.

In the last year alone, the number of milk cows in New Mexico leaped more than 21,000. The state's dairy growth is concentrated in six counties: Chaves, DoZa Ana, Roosevelt, Lea, Curry and Eddy.

A native of Lexington, Mass., Sullivan grew up raising and riding horses. She earned her bachelor's degree in animal science and biotechnology from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and her master's and doctoral degrees in dairy science and ruminant microbiology from The University of Georgia. Sullivan, who will also serve as an assistant professor in NMSU's animal science department, lives in Las Cruces with her husband, Richard.