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Kirksey ready to take on new career

Date: 08/01/2012

When Rex Kirksey first applied for a position as a NMSU agricultural economist program coordinator in Tucumcari, he never imagined how far it would take him.

Rex Kirksey retired from from his position as the superintendent of the Agricultural Science Center at Clovis and the Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari in June.

"I applied for the job thinking I would take it until something better came along," he said. "It only lasted 32 years then I finally decided it was time to do something different."

That "something different" came in the form of an offer to take over First Title Services, Inc. in Tucumcari. Kirksey saw this as an opportunity to return to an original career passion and in June, retired as the superintendent of the Agricultural Science Center at Clovis and the Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari.

Running First Title Services brings Kirksey back to an interest he gained while working for the Federal Land Bank after he earned his bachelor's degree at NMSU, where he worked with mortgages and land titles.

Kirksey said he was more than ready to take a step back to allow fresh blood and fresh ideas into the two centers.

That is not to say he won't miss working with his colleagues and conducting research, in particular helping local producers. The involvement in international development in Afghanistan and Botswana was rewarding and Kirksey wishes he could continue more of those efforts.

"Working with these two projects helped me realize how fortunate we are and how much we as Americans still have to offer other countries in terms of farming knowledge and agricultural research," he said.

Kirksey is excited to see projects move forward at the centers, in particular a collaboration with the City of Tucumcari that will bring treated wastewater to the science center, opening up many new avenues of research opportunities.

"I'm opportunistic, encouraged about the future of both stations and I hope I created an opportunity for them to springboard to bigger and better things," he said.

Looking back at his 32 years at NMSU, Kirksey said what he most loved to do was work with students and young people to help them broaden their knowledge of agriculture, and then watch them go on to further their education and find jobs in agriculture or other areas that contribute to society.

"Seeing them out in the industry now and influencing national, international agricultural production, is of significance to me," he said.

He added he will also miss helping area producers stay in business through guidance and education - especially during these trying agricultural times.

Along with taking on First Title Services, Kirksey's personal life is keeping him busy as well. His youngest daughter is getting married in October and his son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child this month. Kirksey also has another daughter who just graduated from NMSU and is pursuing a career in nursing.

"In many regards, NMSU takes lots of knocks for not being a perfect place to work," Kirksey said. "We all wish salaries were higher; and at times, we wish administration was more responsive. Looking back over the 32 years, there is nothing I would change about it. I'm happy and proud to have been an NMSU alumni and NMSU employee. I would do it all again. It was the best times of my life so far."

Written by Audry Olmsted

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