Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Jornada Experimental Range celebrates 100 years of rangeland research
When New Mexico achieved statehood in January of 1912, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was already 50 years old. In May of that year, an executive order signed by President Taft designated a large tract of what had previously been public-domain lands in the Jornada Basin as the Jornada Range Reserve. Now known as the Jornada Experimental Range, or simply "the Jornada," it was established within USDA's Bureau of Plant Industry. The motivation for this action was widening recognition of, and concern about, rangeland degradation in the region. The reserve was established to demonstrate science-based solutions to address this degradation. At the time, the parcel of nearly 200,000 acres northeast of Las Cruces was controlled by rancher Charles Turney, who held the water rights and ran livestock on it. According to Kris Havstad, currently the supervisory scientist at the Jornada, Turney was interested in rangeland research and agreed to cooperate in the establishment of the experimental range if he were allowed to continue his grazing. The other key player in this arrangement was E.O. Wooton, a long-time professor at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now New Mexico State University. He had recently moved to Washington, D.C., to work as an agricultural economist for the USDA. He had been documenting the deteriorating state of rangeland in the area for a number of years, and some of that work had involved Turney and the lands he grazed. In his new position, Wooton was largely responsible for arranging the creation of the Jornada. He also returned to the area to become the first USDA superintendent of that rangeland research enterprise...more