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New Mexico State University

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NMSU to host series of classes through AG Days Degree Program

New Mexico State University is offering individuals a chance to learn about wildlife, animal breeding and other related topics through various courses hosted by its Department of Extension Animal Sciences & Natural Resources during the inaugural AG Days Degree Program at the Las Cruces campus Friday, Sept. 6, and Saturday, Sept. 7.

Associate Dean and Director of Extension Jon Boren will be the keynote speaker at the opening session of the AG Day Degree Program Friday, Sept. 6. (photo by Darren Phillips)

"The courses are designed to offer anyone who's interested the opportunity to come to campus and learn more about the topics," said Marcy Ward, livestock Extension specialist and program coordinator. "They follow a similar platform to the classes at NMSU, and include hands-on demonstration opportunities."

The abridged classes will be hosted by a group of Extension specialists and NMSU faculty. The goal of the program is to provide a progressive series of courses related to animal sciences, natural resources and ag economics, and allow attendees to interact and learn from one another.

Participants can select from two primary curriculum paths - animal science or natural resource/economics - on Friday. Saturday will feature demonstrations related to reproductive management strategies and techniques in coaching a livestock judging team, and current issue discussions. Graduate students will be on-site to answer questions and discuss what they're learning.

The animal science courses will offer classes related to ruminant nutrition and reproduction, as well as breeding and disease management strategies.

The natural resources/economics option will cover range, forestry and wildlife sciences related to natural resources management. Classes in agricultural economics of the livestock industry will also be offered.

Associate Dean and Director of Extension Jon Boren will be the keynote speaker at Friday's opening session.

"We hope to make this an annual event," Ward said. "It was brought to the table as something that other states do and that New Mexico could benefit from, and it grew from there. Hopefully, in the future, participants can earn continuing education credit for completing the courses."

So far, she added, she's been getting positive feedback about the upcoming sessions.

"For some, it's a return to the college platform," she said. "It's important for NMSU to get people on campus and let them know what we're doing here. We hope they'll leave with a desire to come back and learn more."

The courses will cover the "anatomy, physiology and science behind production."

Registration is open until Aug. 30. Cost for the two-day event is $50, and includes course materials, access to Friday evening's barbecue and two tickets to the NMSU football game against the University of Minnesota Gophers. Single day tickets are $30 and include a ticket to the barbecue or two game tickets. Walk-in registration is $60, or $40 per day.

There are no prerequisites to attend, but Ward advises beginning with 100-level courses to get acquainted with the material.

Opening session begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Livestock Pavilion and wraps up with a 5:30 p.m. barbecue. On Saturday, special topics classes begin at 9 a.m. and conclude with a graduation party before the first home football game.

Agriculture Day is Saturday, Sept. 7, and will feature a street fair environment with activities for all ages. Farmers and ranchers will be there to answer questions. The event begins at 2 p.m. in the area just north of Aggie Memorial Stadium.

For more information, visit http://nmbeef.nmsu.edu/, or contact Marcy Ward at 575-646-3326.